We use cookies to improve your experience online. By using our website, you agree to the use of cookies as described in our cookies policy.

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 Scythæ, Indoscythæ, Ethiopians, Phenicians. The Whole contains an Account of the principal Events in the first Ages, from the Deluge to the Dispersion: Also of the various Migrations, which ensued, and the Settlements made afterwards in different Parts: Circumstances of great Consequence, which were subsequent to the Gentile History of Moses. Vol. I. (II.) By Jacob Bryant, Formerly of King's College, Cambridge; and Secretary to his Grace the late Duke of Marlborough, during his Command abroad; and Secretary to him as Master eneral of his Majesty's Ordnance.

Jacob Bryant

RA Collection: Book

Record number




London:: Printed for T. Payne, Mews-Gate; P. Elmsly, in the Strand; B. White, in Fleet-Street; and J. Walter, Charing-Cross., M.DCC.LXXIV. (-M.DCC.LXXVI.)

Physical Description

3 vols.; 290 mm. (Quarto).

General Note

Vol. I: [iii-]xx, [2], 516 p., pl. 2-9: [2] illus. The list of Plates on pp. xix-xx lists ten pl.; but nos. 1 and 10 of these are in-text illustrations. - Vol. II: vii, [3], 537, [1] p., 18 pl.: [1] illus. The list of Plates lists 19 pl., but no. 19 is an in-text illus. -


Vol. I: [T.p.] - Preface - Plates. Vol. First - Errata - [Text, with pl.]. - Vol. II: [T.p.] - Plates in Volume the Second - Errata - [Text, with pl.]. -

Responsibility Note

In Volume I the two in-text illustrations are unsigned; plates 2-9 are all signed as engraved by James Basire (pl. 7 as both drawn and engraved by him). In Volume II the in-text illustration is unsigned; the plates are all signed by James Basire, apart from plates 7 and 9, which are signed as engraved by T. Chambars, and plate [11], which is signed as drawn by G.B. Cipriani and engraved by F. Bartolozzi.


On classical mythology in art see J.D. Reid, The Oxford Guide to Classical Mythology in the Arts, 1300-1990s (2 v., 1993); Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (1981-); E.H. Gombrich, Symbolic images (1972); D.C. Allen, Mysteriously meant: the redicovery of pagan symbolism (1970).

Summary Note

Volumes I and II were published in 1774; Volume III, in 1776.

The sources of the illustrations are generally stated. They include Le Bruyn, Thevenot, Pocock, Goltzius, Vaillant, Peruta, the British Museum, the Duke of Marlborough, Chardin, Hyde, Kaempfer, Price, Falconerius, Seguinus, Spanheim, Gorlaeus, Kircher, Gruter and Stoch.


A microfilm of this work was made for the British Library (Neg. PB.Mic.14707. Pos. PB.Mic.C.3026).


Bought by the Academy 25 June 1774 (RA cash book 1774). Only Volumes I, II are listed in RAA Library, Catalogue, of 1802 and 1821.

Copy Note

Imperfect; lacks Volume III.

Binding Note

18th-century mottled calf, upper covers gilt-stamped with royal arms of Britain and 'R.A.'; rebacked in 20th century, retaining earlier red and green morocco spine-labels lettered 'Bryant's Ancient Mythology Vol I (II)'.


Mythology - History
Treatises - Great Britain - 18th century
Pictorial works - Armorial bindings - Great Britain - 18th century


Peter Elmsley, publisher
Thomas Payne, publisher
John Walter, publisher
Benjamin White, publisher
James Basire the elder, draughtsman, engraver
Thomas Chambers ARA, engraver
Giovanni Battista Cipriani RA, draughtsman
Francesco Bartolozzi RA, engraver