The Student's Mythology A Compendium of Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Assyrian, Persian, Hindoo, Chinese, Thibetian, Scandinavian, Celtic, Aztec, and Peruvian Mythologies
The Student’s Mythology has been in use in manuscript for nearly three years in one of our largest academies, where it has been received with much favor by both teachers and pupils. Even in that form, which subjected them to the inconvenience of long dictations, it was preferred to any of the ordinary text-books on the subject. Copies were sought for the use of other institutions, and the principals of the academy referred to, consented that the work should be prepared for the press.
In carrying out the plan, the subject matter was carefully classified, and such additions made as were deemed necessary for completeness. As a farther precaution, the whole was submitted to the revision of an eminent classical scholar.
[Pg 2] Mythology is a subject which needs to be treated with peculiar care; and text-books are often objected to by parents and teachers as still retaining the taint of pagan corruption, and presenting dangerous images to the youthful mind. It was this difficulty which first led to the preparation of the present work. The Student’s Mythology lays no claim to any superiority in point of erudition; the text-books already before the public leave nothing to be desired in this particular. It is a practical work, prepared by an experienced teacher, and already submitted to the decisive test of the schoolroom. It is not designed for young persons who are already advanced in classical studies, but rather for pupils who have not yet entered, or who, like the greater number of those attending our female academies, are not likely ever to enter upon any regular classical course. For the former, it may prove a useful introduction to these studies, while the latter will find in the work the most important and pleasing features of mythology.
With such views, it has been considered most judicious to present the classic fables in their simplest, which is also their most poetic [Pg 3] form, giving the allegorical meaning attached to the ancient myths, only where their application is clear and simple. For the same reason the writer has avoided questions of comparative mythology, except in cases where the analogies are too obvious to be passed unnoticed. The work has been compiled with care from reliable sources, and will, perhaps, be found to contain much that is new and interesting; many articles, such as those on the public games, the theatrical entertainments of the Greeks, the Assyrian, Chinese and American mythologies, will be found a pleasing addition, as these subjects have not been treated in the ordinary text-books. The chapter on the “Poets of Classic Fable,” and the “Supplement” containing a notice of the ancient writers whose names occur in the body of the work, will, it is hoped, be found generally useful.
Among the modern authors to whom the writer has been particularly indebted, we may mention Calmet, Anthon, Tooke, Bulfinch, Huc and Schlegel. In preparing the article on Druidism, Martin’s “Histoire de France,” and the “Monuments Celtiques” of Reynaud, have been consulted, together with the [Pg 4] Irish Chroniclers and other standard authorities. The matter of the Mexican and Peruvian mythologies, has been chiefly taken from Clavigero and Prescott. Reference has been made throughout to the New American Cyclopædia.
The work now completed is offered to the public in the hope that it may render the subject of mythology more generally popular in our schools, and obviate the dangers attending this otherwise attractive study.