This paper seeks to establish German Romanticism preconditions as the foundation of the humanities as a discipline. The research enquires into the ideas that were crucial for the formation of mythology as a discipline. The research explores the role of the Philhellenistic movement, Classicism and Enlightenment of the late 18th century in the formation of science of myth and symbol. The findings of the research illustrate the impact of the different positions in the debates surrounding mythology in the conceptual bases that formed German Romanticism and German Idealism. As Creuzer, one of the most discussed mythologists of the early 19th century, was studying the symbolism and mythology of the ancients, he was acutely influenced by the late 18th century’s ideas. We suggest that this fact is crucial for the interpretation of the history of mythology as a subject and as a discipline.
During the rise of Romanticism in Germany it was possible to work out and comprehend different scientific programs based on ancient symbolic material, one of which was ancient mythology. These programs appeared in different academic and university groups. The borders of these approaches lay not only in the educational and curricular specification but in the logic of knowledge differentiation mostly. The significance of the formation of mythology as a discipline may be found in the academic search for nationhood, through language and history as ancient mythologies. Romantic scientists analysed this process not from a teleological perspective but historically, in terms of its appearance at the first stages of its development, when many potential scripts were possible. Mythology appeared at the crossing of these claims. The research demonstrates that at the beginning of the 19th century mythology was considered as a subject of research and a discipline in its own right. The study observes its origins, and an understanding of scientific work which enabled scholars to consider mythology as a discipline. That means that mythology became the academic study of the body of myths and symbols.