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HISTORY OF THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN - Gibbon Edward - 1870. 
London: Virtue and Co., Limited, [nd, circa 1870âs]. 2 volumes. A finely presented 19th century illustrated edition with beautiful engravings. With a great profusion of full page finely engraved plates, including 3 maps (2 folding) and 1 folding view of Rome. Tall 8vo, publisherâs original pebbled forest green cloth, upper covers and spines gilt lettered and pictorially decorated with Roman motifs. xii, 640; x, 666 pp. A very bright set, fresh and clean . A VERY HANDSOMELY ENGRAVED ILLUSTRATED SET OF THE GREATEST HISTORICAL WORK EVER UNDERTAKEN. It was in Italy while "musing amid the ruins of the Capital" that Gibbon formed the plan of his history. Originally published in six volumes from 1776 to 1788, Gibbon's fine scholarship has remained for the most part unchallenged. The work's numerous reprintings throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are evidence of its popularity and historical accuracy. "For twenty-two years Gibbon was a prodigy of steady and arduous application. His investigations extended over almost the whole range of intellectual activity for nearly fifteen-hundred years. And so thorough were his methods that the laborious investigations of German scholarship, the keen criticisms of theological zeal, and the steady researches of (two) centuries have brought to light very few important errors in the results of his labors. But it is not merely the learning of his work, learned as it is, that gives it character as a history. It is also that ingenious skill by which the vast erudition, the boundless range, the infinite variety, and the gorgeous magnificence of the details are all wrought together in a symmetrical whole. It is still entitled to be esteemed as the greatest historical work ever written" (Adams, Manual of Historical Literature, pp. 146-147). The success of the work was immediate. "I am at a loss," Gibbon wrote, "how to describe the success of the work without betraying the vanity of the writer. The first impression was exhausted in a few days; a second and third edition were scarcely adequate to the demand, and the bookseller's property was twice invaded by the pyrates of Dublin. My book was on every table, and almost on every toilette...." Publication of this grand work placed Gibbon at the "very head of the literary tribe" in Europe, according to Adam Smith. This set is marvelous in the original cloth, with the gilt still brilliant.
[Bookseller: Buddenbrooks, Inc.]
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