London: W. Bower for Bernard Lintott, 1715, 1716, 1717, 1718, and 1720. First Edition. Six folio volumes (pages 346 x 220 mm). Contemporary speckled calf stamped in gilt, later black morocco spine labels. All volumes gently bumped and scuffed with cracking at the outer joints (many with early repairs), but generally holding. Volume 4 with worst cracks and tears in the leather spine. Waterstain to lower outside corner of initial blank in Volume 1. Small inkstain to fore-edge of first 12 leaves in Volume 3. Waterstaining affecting several leaves in Volume 4. Lacks blank leaf Ii2 in Volume 4 and one of the maps (from volume 1). With the portrait of Homer, the map in volume two and the engraving of the shield of Achilles by Samuel Gribelin facing 144 in Volume 5. Housed in two full morocco slip off cases by Sangorski and Sutcliffe.
"In 1713, when he was only 25 years old, Alexander Pope assumed a momentous risk. Barred by his Roman Catholic religion from the normal apparatus of Government and private patronage, he took subscriptions for a large-scale project that filled his life for the next seven years and established his absolute preeminence among the poets of his time. The result was a version of Homer's Iliad that Samuel Johnson pronounced the greatest translation ever achieved in English or in any other language" (Wills). This work has stood the test of time, providing English speakers with an accurately ritualistic version of Homer that captures the scenes of sacrifice, prayer, combat, and oratory so critical in the Greek world view. An incredible translation of one of the world's greatest adventure stories. (Item #2385)