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192

DIONYSUS.

one), as Leto was with Apollo and Artemis. From his mother he is called Thyoneus, a name which, with others of similar mean­ing, such as Bacchus, BrSmlos, Eulos, and lacchSs, points to a worship founded upon a different conception of his nature,

In the myth with which we have been hitherto concerned, the god appears mainly in the character and surroundings of joy and triumph. But. as the god of the earth, Dionysus belongs, like Persephone, to the world below as well as to the world above. The death of vegetation in winter was represented as the flight of the god into hiding from the sentence of his enemies, or even as his extinction, but he returned again from obscurity, or rose from the dead, to new life and activity. In this connexion he was called Zagreus (" Torn in pieces") and represented as a son of Zeus and his daughter Persephone, or some­times of Zeus and Demeter. In his child­hood he was torn to pieces by the Titans, at the command of the jealous Hera. But every third year, after spending the inter­val in the lower world, he is born anew. According to the Orphic story, Athene brought her son's heart to Zeus, who gave it to Semele, or swallowed it himself, whereupon the Theban or younger Diony­sus was born. The grave of Dionysus was shown at Delphi in the inmost shrine of the temple of Apollo. Secret offerings were brought thither, while the women who were celebrating the feast woke up Licmtfs; in other words, invoked the new-born god cradled in a winnowing fan, on the neigh­bouring mountain of Parnassus. Festivals of this kind, in celebration of the extinction and resurrection of the deity, were held by women and girls only, amid the mountains at night, every third year, about the time of the shortest day. The rites, intended to express the excess of grief and joy at the death and reappearance of the god, were wild even to savagery, and the women who performed them were hence known by the expressive names of Bacchse, Maenads, and Thyiades. They wandered through woods and mountains, their flying locks crowned with ivy or snakes, brandishing wands and torches, to the hollow sounds of the drum, and the shrill notes of the flute, with wild dances, and insane cries and jubi­lation. The victims of the sacrifice, oxen, goats, even fawns and roes from the forest, were killed, torn in pieces and eaten raw, in imitation of the treatment of Zagreus by the Titans. Thrace, and Macedonia,

and Asiatic Greece were the scene of the wildest orgies; indeed Thrace seems to be the country of their birth. In Asiatic Greece, it should be added, the worship of Dionysus-Zagreus came to be associated with the equally wild rites of Rhea (Cybele), and Atys, and Sabus or Sabazius. (See sabazius.) In Greece Proper the chief seats of these were Parnassus, with Delphi and its neighbourhood, Bceotia, Argos, and Laconla, and in Bceotia and Laconia especi­ally the mountains Clthseron and Tayggtna. They were also known in Naxos, Crete, and other islands. They seem to have been unknown in Attica, though Dionysus waa

(1) BEARDED DIONYSUS AMD 8ATYH

.

(Prom the relief of the Reception of Dionysus by IcarinB; Vatican, Louvre, and British Museum.)

worshipped at the Eleusinian mysteries with Persephone and Demeter, under the name of lacchos, as brother or bridegroom of Persephone. But the Attic cycle of national festivals in honour of Dionysus represents the idea of the ancient and simple Hellenic worship, with its merry usages. Here Dionysus is the god who gives increase and luxuriance to vineyard and tree. For he is a kindly and gentle power, terrible only to his enemies, and born for joy and blessing to mankind. His gifts bring strength and healing to the body, gladness and forgetfulness of care to the mind, whence he was called Lyceds, or the loosener of care. They are ennobling

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