London: Printed for Cadell & Davies, etc., 1807. Item #04759
“We improve ourselves by victory over our self.
There must be contests, and you must win.” (Edward Gibbon)
GIBBON, Edward. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. In twelve volumes. With some account of the life of the author. A new edition. London: Printed for Cadell & Davies, etc., 1807.
Twelve octavo volumes (8 3/16 x 5 inches; 208 x 127 mm.). Aquatint frontispiece portrait of Gibbon and three folding maps. Some light foxing and staining throughout. Some volumes with a neat early ink name "Smith" on front blank.
Full contemporary tree calf, smooth spines attractively decorated in gilt, black and red morocco labels lettered in gilt.
A few spine caps slightly chipped or rubbed. A very attractive set in contemporary tree calf.
“This masterpiece of historical penetration and literary style has remained one of the ageless historical works which, like the writings of Macaulay and Mommsen, maintain their hold upon the layman and continue to stimulate the scholar although they have been superseded in many, if not most, details by subsequent advance of research and changes in the climate of opinion. Whereas other eighteenth-century writers in this field, such as Voltaire, are still quoted with respect, the Decline and Fall is the only historical narrative prior to Macaulay which continues to be reprinted and actually read” (Printing and the Mind of Man 222).
Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) was an English historian, writer and Member of Parliament. The first edition of his most important work, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, was published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788 and is known for the quality and irony of its prose, its use of primary sources, and its polemical criticism of organised religion. This monumental work traces Western civilization (as well as the Islamic and Mongolian conquests) from the height of the Roman Empire to the fall of Byzantium.