The Historie [History] of the World, in Five Bookes. 1. Intreating of the Beginning and first Ages of the same, from the Creation unto Abraham. 2. Of the Times from the Birth of Abraham to the destruction of the Temple of Salomon. 3. From the destruction

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Author: Raleigh, Walter (1554–-1618)

Year: 1678

Publisher: Printed for Tho Basset, Ric Chiswell, Benj Tooke, Tho Passenger, Geo Dawes, Tho Sawbridge, M Wotton and G Conyers

Place: London


[Preface xxxii]+[Contents 24 unpaginated]+[Life 41]+[blank]+[History 813]+[8 table] pages with and allegorical frontispiece and accompanying poem by Ben Johnson and another frontispiece and doubled 8 page maps. Folio (15 1/2" x 9 3/4") bound in original brown leather with seven spine compartment in decorative gilt with raised bands and red label in gilt and decoratively tooled cover. The Life has its own title page: The Life of the Valiant and Learned Sir Walter Raleigh, Knight. With His Trial at Wincester. The Third Edition (Armitage: 47) Tenth edition.

From 1614 to 1687 appeared a succession of folio editions of this work, possessing many features in common. The title-pages of all (excepting that of 1614, which is a destitute of one) are headed The History of the World. In Five Bookes., there being a slight variation in some of the edition in the mode of spelling the words, e.g., "Historie," "Fiue"; and contain a brief list of the contents of each book.

In the years before writing this great tome, Raleigh was in and out of the tower of London a number of times. Raleigh was born to a Protestant family in Devon, the son of Walter Raleigh and Catherine Champernowne. Little is known of his early life, though he spent some time in Ireland, in Killua Castle, Clonmellon, County Westmeath, taking part in the suppression of rebellions and participating in the Siege of Smerwick. Later, he became a landlord of property confiscated from the native Irish. He rose rapidly in the favour of Queen Elizabeth I and was knighted in 1585. Raleigh was instrumental in the English colonisation of North America and was granted a royal patent to explore Virginia, which paved the way for future English settlements. In 1591, he secretly married Elizabeth Throckmorton, one of the Queen's ladies-in-waiting, without the Queen's permission, for which he and his wife were sent to the Tower of London. After his release, they retired to his estate at Sherborne, Dorset. The Queen died on 23 March 1603. Raleigh was arrested on 19 July 1603, charged with treason for his involvement in the Main Plot against Elizabeth's successor, James I, and imprisoned in the Tower of London.He remained imprisoned in the Tower until 1616. While there, he wrote many treatises and the first volume of The Historie of the World (first edition published 1614) about the ancient history of Greece and Rome. His son, Carew, was conceived and born (1604) while Raleigh was imprisoned in the Tower. In 1617, Raleigh was pardoned by the King and granted permission to conduct a second expedition to Venezuela in search of El Dorado. During the expedition, a detachment of Raleigh's men under the command of his long-time friend Lawrence Keymis attacked the Spanish outpost of Santo Tomé de Guayana on the Orinoco River, in violation of peace treaties with Spain, and against Raleigh's orders. A condition of Raleigh's pardon was avoidance of any hostility against Spanish colonies or shipping. In the initial attack on the settlement, Raleigh's son, Walter, was fatally shot. Keymis informed Raleigh of his son's death and begged for forgiveness, but did not receive it, and at once committed suicide. On Raleigh's return to England, an outraged Count Gondomar, the Spanish ambassador, demanded that Raleigh's death sentence be reinstated by King James, who had little choice but to do so. Raleigh was brought to London from Plymouth by Sir Lewis Stukeley, where he passed up numerous opportunities to make an effective escape. Raleigh was beheaded in the Old Palace Yard at the Palace of Westminster on 29 October 1618.


Spine ends professionally repaired, facsimile "Raleigh" signature affixed to second frontispiece, old signature to front past down else a very good copy.

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