The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Dionysius

190

DIONYSIUS.

which a chorus of singers was preceded by two youths iu women s clothing, marched from the temple of Athene to that of Dionysus. The festival was concluded by a sacrifice and a banquet.

(2) The smaller, or rustic Dinnysia. This feast was held in the month Poseideon (December to January) at the first tasting of the new wine. It was celebrated, with much rude merriment, throughout the vari­ous country districts. The members of the different tribes first went in solemn proces­sions to the altar of the god, on which a goat was offered in sacrifice. The sacrifice was followed by feasting and revelry, with abundance of jesting and mockery, and dra­matic improvisations. Out of these were developed the elements of the regular drama. And in the more prosperous villages, pieces —in most cases the same as had been played at the urban Dionysia—were performed by itinerant troupes of actors. The festival lasted some days, one of its chief features being the Askolia, or bag-dance. The point of this was to dance on one leg, without falling, upon oiled bags of inflated leather. The Jfaloa, Harvest-home (or feast of threshing-floors) was celebrated at Athens and in the country in the same month to Demeter and Persephone in common.

(3) The Lencea, or feast of vats. This was held at Athens in the month of Gamelion (January to February), at the Lenseon, the oldest and most venerable sanctuary of Dionysus in the city. After a great banquet, for which the meat was provided at the public expense, the citizens went in procession through the city, with the usual jesting and mockery, to attend the representation of the tragedies and comedies.

(4) The Anthesterla. Celebrated for three days in Anthesterion (February to March). On the first day (Pithceyla, or opening of casks) the casks were first opened, and masters and servants alike tasted the new wine. On the second, or Feast of Beakers, a public banquet was held, at which a beaker of new wine was wet by each guest. This was drunk with enthusi­asm, to the sound of trumpets. The most important ceremony, however, was the marriage of the Bdsllissa, or wife of the Archon Baslleus, with Dionysus, the Basi-lissa being regarded as representing the country. The ceremony took place in the older of the two temples in the Lenaeon, which was never opened except on this occa­sion. The last day was called Chytroi,or the

Feast of Pots, because on this day they made offerings of cooked pulse in pots to Hermes,

, as guide of the dead, and to the souls of the departed, especially those who had perished in the flood of Deucalion.

(5) The great urban Dionysia. This festival was held at Athens for six days in the month of Elaphebfilion (March to April) with great splendour, and attended by multi­tudes from the surrounding country and other parts of Greece. A solemn proces­sion was formed, representing a train of Dionysiac revellers. Choruses of boys sang dithyrambs, and an old wooden statue of Dionysus, worshipped as the liberator of the land from the bondage of winter, was borne from the Lonseon to a small temple in the neighbourhood of the Acropolis and

i back again. The glory of this festival was the performance of the new tragedies, comedies, and satyric dramas, which took place, with lavish expenditure, on three consecutive days. In consequence of the immense number of citizens and strangers assembled, it was found convenient to take one of these six days for conferring public distinctions on meritorious persons, as in the case of the presentation of the golden crown to Demosthenes.

DlSnyalua. (1) A Greek IdgdgrdphSs. (See logographi.)

(2) Dionysius Thrax, or the Thracian. A Greek scholar, so called because his father was a Thracian. He lived at Alex­andria, and was a disciple of Aristarchus. About 100 B.C. he wrote the first scientific Greek grammar in existence, on which a high value was set in antiquity. The work has come down to us, though not in its original form.

(3) Dionysius of Hdlicarnassus. A Greek scholar and historian. He came to Rome about 30 B.C., and lived there for twenty-two years, probably as a professor of rhetoric, enjoying the society of many men of note. In these circumstances he devoted him­self to studying the Roman language and literature, the historical literature in par­ticular. The result of his studies was his Roman Antiquities, finished about 8 b.c., in all probability not long before his death. This was a history of Rome from the mythi­cal age to the Punic Wars, with which the work of Polyblusbegins. There were twenty books, of which we have 1-9 in a complete state, 10 and 11 in great part, but the rest only in fragments. The intention of its author was to give the Greeks a more cor­rect and more favourable idea of the Roman

Pages
About | First | Index

189

190

191
letter/word  
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.