Alfred Hillebrandtês Vedische Mythologie, together with his Ritual-Literatur: Vedische Opfer und Zauber forms a pioneering contribution to Vedic studies. Vedische Mythologie originally appeared in three volumes in 1891, 1899 and 1902. In 1910 Hillebrandt had also brought out a shorter version entitled Vedische Mythologie, Kleine Ausgabe. Subsequently he thoroughly revised the original edition, rewriting some parts quite afresh, and arranged the material in two volumes, the first of which was publishedin 1927 and the second posthumously in 1929. The present English translation is of this second revised edition. Following the method of philological exegesis and shunning unsubstantiated theories, Hillebrandt analyses and interprets here the concepts of Vedic gods.
Volume I contains a long introduction where he lays down his methodology and prin-ciples of interpretation. Then follow four chapters dealing respectively with Usas, Asvins, Agni and Soma. The chapter on Soma occupies more than half of the volume, expounding his major thesis that Soma denoted the moon throughout the Rgveda. There is an extensive appendix on the preparation and offering of the Soma drink according to the Srauta Sutras and another appendix on the tribe of the Panis.
Volume II discusses the various classes of gods. It has six chapters dealing respec-tively with the Adityas; Savitr and the ?Rbhus; Indra and the Maruts; Visnu, Pusan and lesser deities; Manes, Demons and Asuras; and Rudra. The second volume also contains the bibliography, a concordance of all the Vedic passages that are cited or translated in the work, an index and a bibliography of Hillebrandtês works.