Paris Avant l’Histoire


Images from Paris avant l’Historire, (Paris before history) by Élie Berthet, illustrated by F.Bourdin, with engravings by C. Bellinger, E. Chevallier, E. Dargent, Farlet, A. Léveillé and Puyplat, 1885.

I bought this book in Paris in September 2013 in a small bookshop not far from the Bastille monument, down past the Opera.

The book was first published in 1884 as Romans préhistoriques: le monde inconnu.

[picture: Front Cover]

Front Cover

My copy of Paris avant l’Historire is bound in quarter-leather with marbled boards. [$]

[picture: Frontispiece: A Dream: Tertiary Man.]

Frontispiece: A Dream: Tertiary Man.

A naked man sits in a tree hugging his knees, his bare feet dangling. Behind him is a lake or river with elephants grazing. A bird wades through a marsh in the foreground. The man has short hair and appears beardless, perhaps a boy, although one has to wonder about priorities in a world with barbers but no clothing. The youth is sitting in a nest, perhaps [...] [more...] [$]

[picture: A Dream: Tertiary man (Ultra HD TV version)]

A Dream: Tertiary man (Ultra HD TV version)

A detail cropped to a widescreen format from the Frontispiece showing the naked youth sitting in a nest in a tree, with the river and elephants behind him. [more...] [$]

[picture: Foliated chapterhead with dragons]

Foliated chapterhead with dragons

This fleuron or chapterhead is at the start of part III of the novel. It has four dragon’s heads with barbed tongues in a symmetrical pattern, surrounded by leaves perhaps like clover. [more...] [$]

[picture: Pied Léger]

Pied Léger

An illustration of prehistoric Paris; a man sits on the edge of a roughly-made wooden pier, presumably over the River Seine, dangling his bare legs over the edge. He wears only an animal skin formed into breeches with a belt and looped over one shuolder, and [...] [more...] [$]

[picture: The Archdruid]

The Archdruid

The Archdruid, or chief druid, is depicted in this engraving standing near a stone monolith and holding herbs and a curved knife for harvesting plants. He is bearded and has perhaps a wreath of oak leaves on [...] [more...] [$]

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