"the ingenious Abbe Bannier, in his preface to his Mythology"
The abbé Antoine Banier (1673–1741) was a French clergyman, historian and translator. His Mythologie et la fable expliqués par l'histoire
(1711) provides an interpretation of Greek mythology which was widely accepted until the mid-19th
century. He explores the origins of Greek mythology, and explains the myths as stories about real people and events, that were expanded upon and deified over time. A contemporary Advertisement
to his work described his approach as follows:
‘For Mr. Banier hath renounced the common Method of treating Fables as mere Allegories, and hath proved, that they have their FOUNDATION in REAL HISTORY, and contain many important Facts. He hath most judiciously stripped them of their poetical Embelishments and Disguises, and reduced them to the plain Historical Truths which the first Poets found them.’
The book was translated from French into English and German. It also formed the basis for the sections on Greek mythology in Diderot’s Encycolpedie.