A New System, or, An Analysis of Ancient Mythology: Wherein an Attempt is Made to Divest Tradition of Fable and to Reduce the Truth to its Original Purity : in this work is given an history of the Babylonians, Chaldeans, Egyptians, Canaanites, Helladians, Ionians, Leleges, Dorians, Pelasgi : also of the Scythae, Indo-Scythae, Ethiopians, Phenicians
by Jacob Bryant
|A New System, or, An Analysis of Ancient Mythology|
Title page from A New System, or, An Analysis of Ancient Mythology, volume two, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.
|Published||London: Printed for T. Payne, P. Elmsly, B. White, and J. Walter|
|Volumes||3 volume set|
|Desc.||4to (30 cm.)|
A New System, according to its subtitle, was "an attempt … to divest tradition of fable, and to reduce the truth to its original purity;" the actual result was simply a fantastic hodgepodge of spurious etymology (in the manner of Bochart) and riotous imagination. The work opened conversation between world scholars, as several writers publicly opposed Bryant’s ideas and encouraged him to respond through further writing.
Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library
George Wythe definitely owned this title. A copy of the 1775-1776 edition at the Library of Congress has "a number of manuscript notes and corrections" made by Wythe. Thomas Jefferson listed the title in his inventory of Wythe's Library as Bryant’s Mythology. 3.v. 4to. He sold it to the Library of Congress in 1815. All four of the Wythe Collection sources (Goodwin's pamphlet Dean's Bibliography, Brown's Bibliography and George Wythe's Library on LibraryThing) list the 1775-1776 edition of Bryant's Mythology. The Wolf Law Library purchased a copy of the same edition.
Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy
Bound in contemporary calf with gilt panelled backstrips and red and green labels.
View the record for this book in William & Mary's online catalog.
- S. Foster Damon, A Blake Dictionary: The Ideas and Symbols of William Blake (Providence: Brown University Press, 1965), 61.
- John Charles Whale and Stephen Copley, Beyond Romanticism: New Approaches to Texts and Contexts, 1780-1832 (Routledge, 1992), 92.
- Jacob Bryant, A New System, or An Analysis of Ancient Mythology (London: Printed for T. Payne, P. Elmsly, B. White, and J. Walter, 1775), 1:v.
- Dennis R. Dean, "Bryant, Jacob (bap. 1717, d. 1804)" in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004- ), accessed October 27, 2013.
- E. Millicent Sowerby, Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 2nd ed. (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1983), 1:21-22 [no.43].
- Mary R. M. Goodwin, The George Wythe House: Its Furniture and Furnishings (Williamsburg, Virginia: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Library, 1958), li.
- Memorandum from Barbara C. Dean, Colonial Williamsburg Found., to Mrs. Stiverson, Colonial Williamsburg Found. (June 16, 1975), 3 (on file at Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary).
- Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at: https://digitalarchive.wm.edu/handle/10288/13433.
- LibraryThing, s. v. "Member: George Wythe", accessed on June 28, 2013.
Read volume three of this book from Google Books.