The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.London: printed for W. Strahan; & T. Cadell, 1776-88 Stock Code: 136933
First editions (volume 1 in the first state) of Gibbon's magisterial history, with the cancel leaves and uncorrected errata as called for by Norton. The first variant state of volume 1 numbered 500 copies, printed before Strahan's optimistic and ultimately prophetic decision to double the printing order to 1,000; the first edition sold out within a fortnight. "This masterpiece of historical penetration and literary style has remained one of the ageless historical works which... maintain their hold upon the layman and continue to stimulate the scholar although they have been superseded in many, if not most, details by subsequent advances of research and changes in the climate of opinion... Gibbon brought a width of vision and a critical mastery of the available sources which have not been equalled to this day; and the result was clothed in an inimitable prose" (PMM).
6 volumes, quarto (277 x 218). Contemporary speckled tan calf, rebacked to style with red and black morocco labels and richly gilt compartments, single gilt rule to covers.
Frontispiece of the author after Joshua Reynolds (bound in vol. II along with table of contents for vol. I, both as issued). Two folding maps to vol. II, the second of which, "Parts of Asia and Europe adjacent to Constantinople" is bound untrimmed and fol
Ownership inscription to half titles, occasional light foxing, but a generally fresh, well margined copy.
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