The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Dionysus (continued)

DIONYSUS.

in their effects, for they require tending, and thus keep men employed in diligent labour; they bring them together in merry meetings, and inspire them to music and poetry. Thus it is to the worship of Dionysus that the dithyramb and the

(2) TOOTHFUL DIONYSUS AND SATYR. (Rome, Vatican.)

drama owe their origin and development. In this way Dionysus is closely related, not only to Demeter, Aphrodite, Eros, the Graces and the Muses, but to Apollo, because he inspires men to prophesy.

The most ancient representation of Dionysus consists of wooden images with the phallus, as the symbol of generative power. In works of art he is sometimes represented as the ancient Indian Diony­sus, the conqueror of the East. In this character he appears, as in the Vatican statue called Sardanapalus, of high stature, with a luxuriant wealth of hair on head and chin (comp. fig. 1). Sometimes again, as in numerous statues which have sur­vived, he is a youth of soft and feminine shape, with a dreamy expression, his long, clustering hair confined by a fillet or crown of vine or ivy, generally naked, or with a fawn or panther skin thrown lightly over him. He is either reposing or leaning idly back with the Thyrsos, grapes, or a cup in his hand (fig. 2). Often, too, he is

surrounded by the fauns of his retinue, Maenads, Satyrs, Sileni, Centaurs, etc., or by Nymphs, Muses, Cupids, indeed in the greatest possible number and variety of situations. (See the engravings.) Besides the vine, ivy, and rose, the panther, lion, lynx, ox, goat, and dolphin were sacred to him. His usual sacrifices were the ox and the goat.

In Italy the indigenous god Liber, with a feminine Libfira at his side, corresponded to the Greek god of wine. Just as the Italian Ceres was identified with Demeter, so these two deities were identified with Dionysus, or lakchds, and Persephone, with whom they were worshipped under their native name, but with Greek rites, in a temple on the Aventine. (See ceres.) Liber or Bacchus, like Dionysus, had a country and an urban festival. The coun­try festivities were held, with unrestrained merriment, at the time of grape-gathering and straining off the wine. The urban festival held in Rome on the 17th March, was called Liberal la. Old women, crowned with ivy, sold cheap cakes (llba] of meal, honey, and oil, and burnt them on little pans

(8) * MANAD.

(Vase from Nocera, IV, No. 2419, Naples Museum.)

for the purchasers. The boys took their tdga virllis or toga libera on this day, and offered sacrifice on the Capitol. Side by side with this public celebration, a secret worship, the Bacchanalia, found its way to Rome and into the whole of Italy. The

Pages
About | First | Index

192

193

194
letter/word  
page #  
Search this site
Google


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