Ancient Mysteries Mythology Antient Mythology (Two Volume Set)

Antient Mythology (Two Volume Set)

Antient Mythology (Two Volume Set)
Catalog # SKU3371
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Jacob Bryant
ISBN 10: 1610337158
ISBN 13: 9781610337151


Antient Mythology

To Divest Tradition Of Fable;
And To Reduce The Truth
To Its Original Purity

Two Volume Set - Large Print

Jacob Bryant

The New System, or, an Analysis of Antient Mythology," here presented to the public, is a literary phenomenon, which will remain the admiration of scholars, as long as a curiosity after antiquity shall continue to be a prevailing passion among mankind

Large Print, 15 point font



Its author was master of the profoundest erudition, and did not come behind the most distinguished names of the last century, for their attention to the minutest circumstance that might cast a ray of light upon the remotest ages. Nothing in the antient Greek and Roman literature, however recondite, or wherever dispersed, could escape his sagacity and patient investigation. But we are not to confine our admiration of the work before us to the deep erudition discoverable in it; this elaborate production is equally distinguished for its ingenuity and novelty. Departing with a boldness of genius from the systems of his predecessors in the same walks of literature, he delights by his ingenuity, while he astonishes by his courage, and surprises by his novelty. In the last point of view, this work is indeed singularly striking; it departs from the commonly-received systems, to a degree that has not only never been attempted, but not even thought of by any men of learning.

The subject, here undertaken by Mr. Bryant was one of uncommon difficulty; one of the most abstruse and difficult which antiquity presents to us; the information to be obtained concerning it must be collected from a vast number of incidental passages, observations and assertions scattered through antient authors, who being themselves but imperfectly acquainted with their subject, it is next to impossible to reconcile. This, however, our author has attempted; and though, in doing this, the exuberances of fancy and imagination are conspicuous, and some may entertain doubts, concerning the solidity of some of his conjectures, yet, even such are forced to allow that many parts of the author's scheme are probable, and deserving the highest attention.

His method of proceeding by etymology was not a little hazardous; men of the greatest abilities have often failed in the use of it, while those of weak judgment have, by their application of it, rendered it the source of the greatest absurdities, and almost led the unthinking to connect an idea of ridicule with the term itself. But the judicious use which Mr. Bryant could make of this science is apparent in every part of his work: he derives from it the greatest and only light which can be cast upon some of his inquiries, and that in a way that will draw the admiration of those who have a proper acquaintance with the subject; that is, such as have a knowledge of the Oriental languages sufficient to enable them to trace them through the Greek, Latin, and other tongues, as they relate to the names of things, which in almost every country carry evidence of their being derived from the East; from whence it is certain mankind themselves are derived. The sagacity and diligence with which our author has applied his helps obtained from the scattered passages of antient authors and etymology, have enabled him to clear up the history of the remotest ages, and to elucidate objects hitherto surrounded with darkness and error. Upon the whole, it will be allowed by all who are capable judges of the subject, that the plausibility of his hypothesis is frequently apparent, his scheme great, and his discoveries extraordinary.


It is my purpose, in the ensuing work, to give an account of the first ages, and of the great events which happened in the infancy of the world. In consequence of this I shall lay before the reader what the Gentile writers have said upon this subject, collaterally with the accounts given by Moses, as long as I find him engaged in the general history of mankind. By these means I shall be able to bring surprising proofs of those great occurrences, which the sacred penman has recorded. And when his history becomes more limited, and is confined to a peculiar people, and a private dispensation, I shall proceed to shew what was subsequent to his account after the migration of families, and the dispersion from the plains of Shinar. When mankind were multiplied upon the earth, each great family had, by 3divine appointment, a particular place of destination, to which they retired. In this manner the first nations were constituted, and kingdoms founded. But great changes were soon effected, and colonies went abroad without any regard to their original place of allotment. New establishments were soon made, from whence ensued a mixture of people and languages. These are events of the highest consequence; of which we can receive no intelligence, but through the hands of the Gentile writers.

It has been observed, by many of the learned, that some particular family betook themselves very early to different parts of the world, in all which they introduced their rites and religion, together with the customs of their country. They represent them as very knowing and enterprising; and with good reason. They were the first who ventured upon the seas, and undertook long voyages. They shewed their superiority and address in the numberless expeditions which they made, and the difficulties which they surmounted. Many have thought that they were colonies from Egypt, or from Phenicia, having a regard only to the settlements which they made in the west. But I shall shew hereafter, that colonies of the same people are to be found in the most extreme parts of the east; where we may observe the same rites and ceremonies, and the same traditional histories, as are to be met with in their other settlements. The country called Phenicia could not have sufficed for the effecting all that is attributed to these mighty adventurers. It is necessary for me to acquaint the Reader, that the wonderful people to whom I allude were the descendants of Chus, and called Cuthites and Cuseans.

They stood their ground at the general migration of families; but were at last scattered over the face of the earth. They were the first apostates from the truth, yet great in worldly wisdom. They introduced, wherever they came, many useful arts, and were looked up to as a superior order of beings: hence they were styled Heroes, Dæmons, Heliadæ, Macarians. They were joined in their expeditions by other nations, especially by the collateral branches of their family, the Mizraim, Caphtorim, and the sons of Canaan. These were all of the line of Ham, who was held by his posterity in the highest veneration. They called him Amon: and having in process of time raised him to a divinity, they worshipped him as the Sun; and from this worship they were styled Amonians. This is an appellation which will continually occur in the course of this work; and I am authorised in the use of it from Plutarch, from whom we may infer, that it was not uncommon among the sons of Ham. He specifies particularly, in respect to the Egyptians, that when any two of that nation met, they used it as a term of honour in their4 salutations, and called one another Amonians. This therefore will be the title by which I shall choose to distinguish the people of whom I treat, when I speak of them collectively; for under this denomination are included all of this family, whether they were Egyptians or Syrians, of Phenicia or of Canaan.

They were a people who carefully preserved memorials of their ancestors, and of those great events which had preceded their dispersion. These were described in hieroglyphics upon pillars and obelisks: and when they arrived at the knowledge of letters, the same accounts were religiously maintained, both in their sacred archives, and popular records. It is mentioned of Sanchoniathon, the most antient of Gentile writers, that he obtained all his knowledge from some writings of the Amonians. It was the good fortune of Sanchoniathon, says 5Philo Biblius, to light upon some antient Amonian records, which had been preserved in the innermost part of a temple, and known to very few. Upon this discovery he applied himself with great diligence to make himself master of the contents: and having, by divesting them of the fable and allegory with which they were obscured, obtained his purpose, he brought the whole to a conclusion.

I should be glad to give the Reader a still farther insight into the system which I am about to pursue. But such is the scope of my inquiries, and the purport of my determinations, as may possibly create in him some prejudice to my design; all which would be obviated were he to be carried, step by step, to the general view, and be made partially acquainted, according as the scene opened. What I have to exhibit is in great measure new; and I shall be obliged to run counter to many received opinions, which length of time, and general assent, have in a manner rendered sacred. What is truly alarming, I shall be found to differ, not only from some few historians, as is the case in common controversy, but in some degree from all; and this in respect to many of the most essential points, upon which historical precision has been thought to depend. My meaning is, that I must set aside many supposed facts which have never been controverted; and dispute many events which have not only been admitted as true, but have been looked up to as certain æras from whence other events were to be determined. All our knowledge of Gentile history must either come through the hands of the Grecians, or of the Romans, who copied from them. I shall therefore give a full account of the Helladian Greeks, as well as of the Iönim, or Ionians, in Asia: also of the Dorians, Leleges, and Pelasgi. What may appear very presumptuous, I shall deduce from their own histories many truths, with which they were totally unacquainted, and give to them an original, which they certainly did not know. They have bequeathed to us noble materials, of which it is time to make a serious use. It was their misfortune not to know the value of the data which they transmitted, nor the purport of their own intelligence.

It will be one part of my labour to treat of the Phenicians, whose history has been much mistaken: also of the Scythians, whose original has been hitherto a secret. From such an elucidation many good consequences will, I hope, ensue; as the Phenicians and Scythians have hitherto afforded the usual place of retreat for ignorance to shelter itself. It will therefore be my endeavour to specify and distinguish the various people under these denominations, of whom writers have so generally, and indiscriminately, spoken. I shall say a great deal about the Ethiopians, as their history has never been completely given: also of the Indi, and Indo-Scythæ, who seem to have been little regarded. There will be an account exhibited of the Cimmerian, Hyperborean, and Amazonian nations, as well as of the people of Colchis; in which the religion, rites, and original of those nations will be pointed out. I know of no writer who has written at large of the Cyclopians. Yet their history is of great antiquity, and abounds with matter of consequence. I shall, therefore, treat of them very fully, and at the same time of the great works which they performed; and subjoin an account of the Lestrygons, Lamii, Sirens, as there is a close correspondence between them.

As it will be my business to abridge history of every thing superfluous and foreign, I shall be obliged to set aside many antient law-givers, and princes, who were supposed to have formed republics, and to have founded kingdoms. I cannot acquiesce in the stale legends of Deucalion of Thessaly, of Inachus of Argos, and, Ægialeus of Sicyon; nor in the long line of princes who are derived from them. The supposed heroes of the first ages, in every country are equally fabulous. No such conquests were ever achieved as are ascribed to Osiris, Dionusus, and Sesostris. The histories of Hercules and Perseus are equally void of truth. I am convinced, and hope I shall satisfactorily prove, that Cadmus never brought letters to Greece; and that no such person existed as the Grecians have described. What I have said about Sesostris and Osiris, will be repeated about Ninus, and Semiramis, two personages, as ideal as the former. There never were such expeditions undertaken, nor conquests made, as are attributed to these princes: nor were any such empires constituted, as are supposed to have been established by them. I make as little account of the histories of Saturn, Janus, Pelops, Atlas, Dardanus, Minos of Crete, and Zoroaster of Bactria. Yet something mysterious, and of moment, is concealed under these various characters: and the investigation of this latent truth will be the principal part of my inquiry. In respect to Greece, I can afford credence to very few events, which were antecedent to the Olympiads. I cannot give the least assent to the story of Phryxus, and the golden fleece. It seems to me plain beyond doubt, that there were no such persons as the Grecian Argonauts: and that the expedition of Jason to Colchis was a fable.

1010 pages - 7 x 8½ in 2 volumes; softcover
ISBN-10: 1610337158
ISBN-13: 9781610337151

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