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Life (and death in Morocco) of King Sebastião I of Portugal (1554-1578)

MESA, Sebastian de.
Jornada de Africa por el Rey Don Sebastian y union del reyno de Portugal a la corona de Castilla.
Barcelona, Pedro Lacavalleria, 1630. 4to. Each page framed with thin printed rules. Contemporary gold-tooled leather (blackened and flaking), each board with the helmed and mantled arms of the Mazarin family in the centre.
€ 12,000
First and only edition of an account of the life, death and succession of King Sebastião I of Portugal (1554-1578), written in Spanish by Sebastian de Mesa. Sebastião became king of Portugal at the age of three, after the death of his grandfather João III. He was under the regency of his grandmother and uncle Henrique, cardinal and later king, until he was declared of age in 1568. Sebastião, educated by the Jesuits, combined religious fanaticism with an unlimited admiration for the military. He thought of himself as a Christian knight, who was going to fight and rescue the "misguided" muslims in Africa from their faith. He was killed in the bloody and disastrous Battle of the Three Kings at Alcazarquivir in the north of Morocco. Many supporters refused to believe had died, and many awaited his return for decades. This resulted in Sebastianism, a messianic religious belief that lasted well into the 19th century.
In good condition, the first few leaves with foxing or very slight browning and small, mostly marginal worm holes. The leather on both boards is badly damaged, perhaps by chemicals used to prepare it combined with abrasion. The arms, lying somewhat lower, have survived, that on the front board in fairly good condition.
Diaz 5661; Palau 166152; not in Gay.
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