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The Iliad Of Homer, Translated by Mr. Pope.


RA Collection: Book

Record number



Uniform Title

[Iliad., English., Pope., 1715-1720.]

Variant Title

Pope's Homer
Half-title: Homer's Iliad


London:: Printed by W. Bowyer, for Bernard Lintott between the Temple-Gates., 1715 (1716, 1717, 1718, 1720, 1720).

Physical Description

6 vols.; 290 mm. (Quarto).

General Note

Vol.1: [56], 317 p., frontis. (port.)., map (fold.) - Vol. II: [1], [318-]657, [1] p., map. - Vol. III: [4], [659-]948 p. - Vol.IV: [4], [955-]1295, [1] p. - Vol.V: [4], [1301-]1630 p., [1] pl. - Vol. VI: [4], [1631-]1882, [34]p.


Vol. I: [Half-t., frontis., t.p., privilege] - The Names Of The Subscribers - Preface - An Essay On The Life, Writings, and Learning Of Homer; Errata in the Essay - [Text, books 1-2] - [Fold. map of Greece and Phrygia] - A Geographical Table of the Towns, &c. in Homer's catalogue of Greece ... - [Text, bks. 3-4]. - Vol. II: [Privil., map of Troy, t.p.] - An Essay On Homer's Battels - [Text, bks. 5-8]; Errata. - Vol. III: [Privil., t.p.] - [Text, bks. 9-12] - Vol. IV: [Privil., t.p.] - [Text, bks. 13-16] - Vol. V: [Privil., t.p.] - [Text, bks. 17, 18] - Observations On The Shield of Achilles [with plate] - [Text, bks.19-21] - Vol. VI: [Privil., t.p.] - [Text, bks. 22-24] - An Index Of Persons and Things - A Poetical Index To Homer's Iliad - Index Of Arts and Sciences - Errata.

Responsibility Note

The Essay on the life of Homer is by T. Parnell; the Observations are partly by W. Broome.

The frontispiece portrait in Volume I is signed as engraved by G. Vertue; the fold. map, as engraved by Iohn Senex. The map in Volume II is signed as made by I. Harris. The plate of 'The Shield of Achilles' in Volume V is signed as designed by N. Vleughels and engraved by Saml. Gribelin Junr.

Headpieces, tailpieces and decorated initials are unsigned.


ESTC, T14925
R.H. Griffith, Alexander Pope, a bibliography (2 v., 1922-1927; repr. 1968).
D.F. Foxon, Pope and the early eighteenth-century book trade (1991).
M.M. Rubel, Savage and barbarian: historical attitudes in the criticism of Homer and Ossian in Britain , 1760-1800 (1978).
For studies of Homer in art see the bibliographic note on F. Inghirami's Galleria Omerica (1831).
Pope's 'Observations On The Shield Of Achilles' in volume V (1720) are discussed in M.R. Brownell, Alexander Pope & the Arts of Georgian England (1978), p.40-50.

Summary Note

The only plates are the frontispiece portrait and the folding map of Volume I, the map in Volume II and the plate showing 'The Shield of Achilles' in Volume V. Each book of the poem and each essay has a headpiece and decorated initial; many have a tailpiece. The text of each book of the translation is accompanied by an Argument and Observations.

Here the fountain-head of European literature is presented in a translation which, as Johnson said, 'tuned the English tongue'. But Homer's poem was also highly valued as a source of subject-matter for history-painting. In his Preface Pope praises the creative fire of Homer's imagination, narrative and language ('like the colouring of some great masters, laid on boldly and executed with rapidity'). He concedes that in Homeric times 'a spirit of revenge and cruelty reigned through the world', but finds in him 'a clear and surprising vision of things nowhere else to be found', a 'simplicity in oppposition to the luxury of succeeding ages'. This nobly primitive Homer appealed to many writers and artists in the later eighteenth century, such as Gavin Hamilton (widely familiarised in the engravings of Cunego) and John Flaxman, whose figures are drawn in 'primitive' outline against a plain background.

The Royal Academy sometimes set Homeric subjects to competitors for the biennial prizes or 'premia' in history-painting or sculpture. Lists are not complete; but the following have been recorded: (for sculpture) 1772 Odysseus addressing Nausicaa (Odyssey 6); 1788 Achilles consoled by Thetis (Iliad 18); 1841 and 1879 Venus rescuing Aeneas from Diomed (Iliad 5); 1859 Lycaon imploring Achilles (Iliad 21); 1871 Ulysses drawing the arrow from Tydides' foot (Iliad 11); (for painting) 1869 Ulysses and the nurse (Odyssey 19).


An electronic reproduction was published in 2003 (Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale). A microfilm version was published in 1986 (Woodbridge CT: Research Publications).


Acquired by 1802. Recorded in Catalogue Of The Library In The Royal Academy, London (1802).

Copy Note

Pencil drawings appear in the margins of Bk.2 p.369 (a cat), 469 (group of figures), 479 and 517 (Hector, Andromache and infant Astyanax), 521 (a cat), 566 (cat); Bk. 3 p.751 (two figures), 905 (battlements?).

Binding Note

18th-century calf; rebacked, spines lettered, 'Pope's Homer Vol. I(-VI)'.

Name as Subject


Heroes - Mythology, Greek - Trojan War - Troy (Extinct city)
Greek poetry - Epics - Epic poetry - Narrative poetry - Greece - ca. 8th century B.C.
Translations into English - English poetry - Translations from Greek - Great Britain - 18th century


Alexander Pope, translator
William Bowyer the elder, printer
Barnaby Bernard Lintot, publisher
George Vertue, engraver
William Broome, commentator
Thomas Parnell
John Harris the elder, engraver
John Senex, engraver
Nicolas Vleughels, draughtsman
Simon Gribelin, engraver