London: W. Bower for Bernard Lintott, 1720. Six 12mo. volumes (pages 175 x 108 mm). Contemporary vellum with marbled paper boards. Volume one with a split at the spine professionally closed, the other volumes untouched. A few short splits in the vellum, but generally holding well. Collating , 70, , 250, ; , 6-19, , 242; 225, ; , 267, ; , 249, ; , 190, : complete with dedications and adverts to front and rear of volumes and including the frontis portrait of Homer, as well as the four folding plates. Plate measure as follows: Frieze 187x153mm; Greek Map 281 x 200mm; Illustration of Troy 248x177mm; Shield of Achilles 320x244mm (with 3.25 inch closed tear at center). Previous owner's name on title pages, Robert Kingston, dated 1754; occasional inoffensive early marginalia throughout. On the whole, an authentic early set, the first issue in this smaller format.
"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 #5039)