British Scholar Jacob Bryant Wrote of Goddess Immortality, Association with Medicine
JACOB BRYANT (1715-1804) was a
British scholar and mythographer, often descripted as the “outstanding figure
among mythagogues who flourished in the late 18th and 19th centuries. His is
known for his works “A New System, or, an Analysis of Ancient Mythology” and “A
Dissertation Concerning the War of Troy.” He saw mythology as derived from the
Hebrew Scriptures with Greek mythology arising from the Egyptians. He argued
that the descendants of Ham, son of Noah, had been the most rebellious people
of the world and had given rise to the great ancient and classical
His writings were controversial and sometimes refuted during his lifetime. His views on the attributions of the goddess Isis were sought out.
Bryant responds to an inquiry about the appropriateness of prefixing her title as the Isis of Sais and offers his views about other characteristics and skills of goddess Isis, principally the deity’s association with medicine, her systematic exploration of beneficial plants and her ability to bestow immortality.
2 pp, 7 ½” x 8 ¾”, Cypenham, [Farnham Royal, England], September 28th, 1786.
“I am greatly obliged to you for your very kind present: which is a very elegant work, and worthy of the person whose history it contains. The Engravings are well done and the Impressions very delicate.
“As to the propriety of prefixing Isis of Sais, the accounts given of the goddess warrants the application. Sais was a city toward the upper part of Dela, in which this Deity was particularly worshiped. She was supposed to be the revealer of the mysteries of Nature; and to have been an universal benefactress; but more especially to have presided over medicine. This science she was to have invented; and to have first discovered the salutary uses of drugs and minerals; and the essence of all beneficial plants. By these she wrought wonders; and they did not…to aver that she could by her skill bestow immortality. The Profession of medicine gave out that they were often admonished in beams by her…and forwarded their process so that many cases were affected by the interposition of those Deities…
“The summer has past and I have not been able to see you; for I am never long resident in town. I hope however an opportunity will happen – I am
“My Dear Friend
“Yours ever affect
. “Jacob Bryant”
Foxing and light browning with folds. Small tears reinforced with archival tape.
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