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EROS 100.00%
The god of love among the Greeks. His name does not occur in Homer; but in Hesiod he is the fairest of the deities, who subdues the hearts of all gods and men. He is born from Chaos at the same time as the Earth and Tartarus, and is the comrade of Aphrodite from the moment of her birth. Hesiod conceives Eros not merely as the god of sensual love, but as a power which forms the world by inner union of the separated elements; an idea very prevalent in antiquity, especially among the philosophers. But according to the later and commoner notion, Eros was the youngest of the gods, generally the son of Aphrodite by Ares or Hermes, always a child, thoughtless and capricious. He is as irresistible as fair, and has no pity even for his own mother. Zeus, the father of gods and men, arms him with golden wings, and with bow and unerring arrows, or burning torches. Anteros, the god of mutual love, is his brother, and his companions are Pothos and Himeros, the per sonifications of longing and desire, with Peitho (Persuasion), the Muses, and the Graces. In later times he is surrounded by a crowd of similar beings, Erotes or loves. (For the later legend of Eros and Psyche, see PSYCHE.) One of the chief and oldest seats of his worship was Thespiae in Baeotia. Here was his most ancient image, a rough, unhewn stone. His festival, the Erotia or Erotidia, continued till the time of the Roman Empire to be celebrated every fifth year with much ceremony, accompanied by gymnastic and musical contests. Besides this he was paid special honour and worship in the gymnasia, where his statue generally stood near those of Hermes and Heracles. In the gymnasia Eros was the personification of devoted friendship and love between youths and men; the friendship which proved itself active and helpful in battle and bold adventure. This was the reason why the Spartans and Cretans sacrificed to Eros before a battle, and the sacred band of youths at Thebes was dedicated to him; why a festival of freedom (Eleutheria) was held at Samos in his honour, as the god who bound men and youths together in the struggle for bonour and freedom; and why at Athens he was worshipped as the liberator of the city, in memory of Harmodius and Aristogiton. In works of art Eros was usually represented as a beautiful boy, close upon the age of youth. In later times be also appears as a child with the attributes of a bow and arrows, or burning torches, and in a great variety of situations. The most celebrated statues of this god were by Lysippus, Scopas, and Praxiteles, whose Eros at Thespiae was regarded as a master-piece, and unsurpassable. The famous torso in the Vatican, in which the god wears a dreamy, lovelorn air, is popularly, but probably erroneously, traced to an original by Praxiteles (fig. 1). The Eros trying his bow, in the Capitoline Museum at Rome, is supposed to be the copy of a work by Lysippus (fig. 2). The Roman god Amor or Cupido was a mere adaptation of the Greek Eros, and was never held in great honour.
A festival in honour Of Eros, celebrated at Samos. (See EROS.
AMOR 93.79%
The god of love. See EROS.
CUPIDO 72.62%
The Latin personification of Eros, or the god of Love.
HIMEROS 60.88%
The personification of longing and desire, and companion of Eros (q.v.).
POTHOS 52.98%
The Greek personification of amorous longing, an attendant of Eros (q.v.).
LOVE 51.71%
God of, see EROS; Goddess of, see PHRODITE and VENUS.
ANTEROS 38.22%
The god of requited love, brother of Eros (italics>q.v.). <entry>Antesignani.
PEITHO 29.99%
In Greek mythology the personification of persuasion Like Eros and the Graces, with whom Hesiod mentions her [Works and Days, 73], she usually appears in the train of Aphrodite. She was, indeed, considered the daughter of the goddess, and was honoured together with her, as in Athens. She was also connected with Hermes as the god of eloquence.
ARES 20.90%
The Greek name for the god of war, son of Zeus by Hera, whose quarrelsome temper Homer supposes to have passed over to son so effectively that he delighted in nothing but battle and bloodshed. His insatiable thirst for blood makes him hateful to his father and all the gods, especially Athena. His favourite haunt is the land of the wild and warlike Thracians. In form and equipment the ideal of warlike heroes, who are therefore called "Ares-like" and "darlings of Ares," he advances, according to Homer, now on foot, now in a chariot drawn by magnificent steeds, attended by his equally bloodthirsty sister Eris (strife), his sons Deimos and Phobos (fear and fright), and Enyo, the goddess of battle and waster of cities (he himself being called Enyalios), rushing in blind rage through indiscriminate slaughter. Though fighting on the Trojan side, the bloodshed only is dear to his heart. But his unbridled strength and blind valour turn to his disadvantage, and always bring about his defeat in the presence of Athena, the goddess of ordered battalions; he is also beaten by heroes fighting under her leadership, as by Heracles in the contest with Cycnus, and by Diomedes before Troy. And this view of Ares as the bloodthirsty god of battles is in the main that of later times also. As early as Homer he is the friend and lover of Aphrodite, who has borne him Eros and Anteros, Deimos and Phobos, as well as Harmonia, wife of Cadmus the founder of Thebes, where both goddesses were worshipped as ancestral deities. He is not named so often as the gods of peace, but, as Ares or Enyalios, he was doubtless worshipped everywhere, notably in Sparta, in Arcadia and (as father of (Enomaus) in Elis. At Sparta young dogs were sacrified to him under the title of Theritas. At Athens the ancient site of a high court of justice, the Areopagus, was consecrated to him. There, in former days, the Olympian gods had sat in judgment on him and absolved him when he had slain Halirrhothius for offering violence to Alcippe, his daughter, by Agraulus. His symbols were the spear and the burning torch. Before the introduction of trumpets, two priests of Ares, marching in front of the armies, hurled the torch at the foe as the signal of battle. In works of art he was represented as a young and handsome man of strong sinewy frame, his hair in short curls, and a somewhat sombre look in his countenance; in the early style he is bearded and in armour, in the later beardless and with only the helmet on. He is often represented in company with Aphrodite and their boy Eros, who plays with his father's arms. One of the most famous statues extant is that in the Villa Ludovisi, which displays him in an easy resting attitude, with his arms laid aside, and Eros at his feet. (See cut.) On his identification with the Italian Mars, see MARS.
One of the most famous Greek sculptors, born at Athens about 390 (probably the son of Cephisodotus, the sculptor of the statue of Eirene (q.v.) with the Infant Plutus]. He and his somewhat older contemporary, Scopas, were at the head of the later Attic school. He chiefly worked in marble, but at the same time occasionally used bronze. His recorded works exhibit every age and sex in the greatest variety of the divine and human form. Still he paid most attention to youthful figures, which gave him the opportunity of displaying all the charm of sensuous grace in soft and delicate contours. Among his most celebrated works the naked Aphrodite, of Cnidus, stands first, according to the enthusiastic descriptions of the ancients, a masterpiece of the most entrancing beauty [e.g. Pliny, N.H. xxxvii § § 20, 21; cp. APHRODITE, fig. 2]. Not less famous were his representations of Eros, among which the marble statue at Thespiae was esteemed most highly [ib., § 22; cp. EROS]; his Apollo Sauroctonos (lizard-slayer) in bronze [ib., xxxiv § 70]; and a youthful Satyr in Athens [Pausanias, i 20 § 1]. As to the group of Niobe's children, preserved at Rome in Pliny's time, it was disputed even among the ancients whether it was the work of Praxiteles or, as is more probable, of Scopas [N.H.</talics> xxxvi § 28; cp. NIOBE]. Of all these, only later copies have been preserved. An important original work by him [mentioned by Pausanias, v 17 § 3] was unearthed in 1877 by the German excavators at Olympia, Hermes with the Child Dionysus in his Arms, which was set tip in the cella of the temple of Hera. The arms and legs are partly mutilated, but otherwise it is in an excellent state of preservation. (See cut.) His sons, Cephisodotus the younger, and Timarchides, were masters of some importance.
CHAOS 16.55%
According to Hesiod, the yawning, unfathomable abyss which was the first of all existing things. From Chaos arose Gaia (Earth), Tartarus (Hell), and Eros (Love). Chaos bore Erebus and Night; from their union sprang AeEther and Hemera (Sky and Day). The conception of Chaos as the confused mass out of which, in the beginning, the separate forms of things arose, is erroneous, and belongs to a later period.
PSYCHE 11.55%
In Greek mythology, the personification of the human soul as the being beloved by tros (Amor). She is represented as a butterfly, or as a young maiden with butterfly's wings, sometimes as pursued by Eros in various ways, or revenging herself on him, or united with him in the tenderest love. Apuleius (q.v.), in his tale of the Golden Ass [Met. iv 28-vi 24], has availed himself of this representation. He makes them the hero and heroine of an old popular tradition, in which a loving couple, after a sorrowful separation, are restored to one another for ever. The love-god causes the charming Psyche, the youngest of the three daughters of a king, to be carried off by Zephyrus to a secluded spot, where he visits her at night alone, without being seen or recognised by her. Persuaded by her sisters, she transgresses his command, and wishes to see him, when the god immediately vanishes. Amid innumerable troubles and appalling trials she seeks her lover, till at length, purified by the sufferings she has endured, she finds him again, and is united to him for ever. In the myth, as told by Apuleius, her daughter is called Voluptas.
Goddesses of grace, and of everything which lends charm and beauty to nature and human life. According to Hesiod they are the offspring of Zeus and Eurynome, the daughter of Oceanus. Their names are Euphrosyne (joy), Thalia (bloom), and Aglaia (brilliance). Aglaia is the youngest, and the wife of Hephaestus. For the inspiration of the Graces was deemed as necessary to the plastic arts, as to music, poetry, science, eloquence, beauty, and enjoyment of life. Accordingly the Graces are intimate with the Muses, with whom they live together on Olympia. They are associated, too, with Apollo, Athene, Hermes, and Peitho, but especially with Eros, Aphrodite, and Dionysus. Bright and blithe-hearted, they were also called the daughters of the Sun and of Aegle ("Sheen"). They were worshipped in conjunction with Aphrodite and Dionysus at Orchomenus in Baeotia, where their shrine was accounted the oldest in the place, and where their most ancient images were found in the shape of stones said to have fallen from heaven. It was here that the feast of the Charitesia was held in their honour, with musical contests. At Sparta, as at Athens , two Charites only were worshipped, Cleta (Kleta) or Sound, and Phaenna or Light; at Athens their names were Auxo (Increase), and Hegemone (Queen). It was by these goddesses, and by Agraulos, daughter of Cecrops, that the Athenian youths, on receiving their spear and shield, swore faith to their country. The Charites were represented in the form of beautiful maidens, the three being generally linked hand in hand. In the older representations they are clothed; in the later they are loosely clad or entirely undraped.
HYMEN 9.61%
The Greek god of marriage and of the marriage-song (named after him). He is sometimes described as the son of Apollo and amuse (either Terpsichore, Urania, or Calliope), who had vanisbed on his own wedding day, and was consequently always sought for at every wedding. He is also described as a son of the Thessalian Magnes and of the Muse Clio, and as beloved by Apollo and Thamyris; or as the son of Dionysus and Aphrodite, who lost his voice and life while singing the nuptial song at the marriage of Dionysus and Ariadne. According to Attic tradition, he was an Argive youth who, in the disguise of a girl, followed to the feast of Demeter at Eleusis a young Athenian maiden whom he loved without winning the consent of her parents. Hymenaeus and some of the maidens who were celebrating the festival, were carried off by pirates, whom he afterwards killed in their sleep, and henceforth became the champion of all women and damsels. In art he is represented like Eros, as a beautiful, winged youth, only with a more serious expression, and carrying in his hand the marriage torch and nuptial veil. The marriage-song called Hymenaeus, which is mentioned as early as Homer, was sung by young men and maidens, to the sound of flutes, during the festal procession of the bride from the house of her parents to that of the bridegroom. In character it was partly serious and partly humorous. The several parts always ended with an invocation of Hymenaeus. (See EPITHALAMIUM) On the Roman god of weddings, see TALASSIO.
DAEMON 9.38%
Originally a term applied to deity in general, manifested in its active relation to human life, without special reference to any single divine personality. But as early as Hesiod the doemones appear as subordinates or servants of the higher gods. He gives the name specially to the spirits of the past age of gold, who are appointed to watch over men and guard them. In later times, too, the doemones were regarded as beings intermediate between the gods and mankind, forming as it were the retinue of the gods, representing their powers in activity, and entrusted with the fulfilment of their various functions. This was the relation, to take an instance, which the Satyrs and Sileni bore to Dionysus. But the popular belief varied with regard to many of these deities. Eros, e.g., was by many expressly designated a daemon, while by others he was worshipped as a powerful and independent deity. Another kind of doemones are those who were attached to individual men, attending them, like the Roman genius, from their birth onwards through their whole life. In later times two doemones, a good and bad, were sometimes assumed for every one. This belief was, however, not universal, the prevalent idea being that good and bad alike proceeded at different times from the daemon of each individual; and that one person had a powerful and benevolent, another a weak and malevolent daemon. Agatho-daemon (good daemon) was the name of the good spirit of rural prosperity and of vineyards.
HERMAE 9.37%
Pillars, smaller at the base than at the summit, which terminated generally with a head of Hermes. In the earliest times, Hermes (in whose worship the number 4 played a great part) was worshipped [especially in Arcadia, see Pausanias, viii 4 section 4; cp. iv 33 section 4] under the form of a simple quadrangular pillar of marble or wood, with the significant mark of the male sex. As art advanced, the pillar was surmounted, first with a bearded head, and afterwards with a youthful head of the god. Hermes being the god of traffic, such pillars were erected to him in the streets and squares of towns; in Attica, after the time of Hipparchus, the son of Pisistratus, they were also erected along the country roads as mile-stones. Sometimes they were inscribed with apophthegms and riddles, in addition to directions as to the way; [sometimes also with inscriptions in honour of those who had fought bravely for their country. Dem., Lept., 112; Aeschines, Or. 3 section 183.] In Athens there was an especially large num of them; in the market-place to the N.W. of the Acropolis, the Hermae, erected partly by private individuals and partly by corporations, formed a long colonnade extending between the Hall of Paintings (stoa poikile) and the King's Hall (stoa basileios). Accordingly, the latter was sometimes called the Hall of Hermae. When the heads of other divinities (such as Athene, Heracles, Eros) were placed on such pillars, these were then called Hermathene, Hermeracles, Hermeros.
The Greek goddess of love. Her attributes combine, with Hellenic conceptions, a great many features of Eastern, especially Phoenician, origin, which the Greeks must have grafted on to their native notions in very old times. This double nature appears immediately in the contradictory tales of her origin. To the oldest Greeks she was the daughter of Zeus and Dione (and is sometimes called that name herself); yet from a very early time she appears as Aphro-geneia, the "foamborn" (see URANUS), as Anadyomene, "she who rises" out of the sea, and steps ashore on Cyprus, which had been colonized by Phoenicians time out of mind; even as back as Homer she is Kypris, the Cyprian. The same transmarine and Eastern origin of her worship is evidenced by the legend of the isle of Cythera, on which she was supposed to have first landed out of a sea-shell. Again, the common conception of her as goddess of love limits her agency to the sphere of human life. But she is, at the same time, a power of nature, living and working in the three elements of air, earth, and water. As goddess of the shifting gale and changeful sky, she is Aphrodite Urania, the "heavenly," and at many placesin Greece and Asia her temples crowned the heights and headlands; witness the citadels of Thebes and Corinth, and Mount Eryx in Sicily. As goddess of storm and lightning, she was represented armed, as at Sparta and Cythera; and this perhaps explains why she was associated with Are (Mars) both in worship and in legend, and worshipped as a goddess of victory. The moral conception of Aphrodite Urania as goddess of the higher and purer love, especially wedded love and fruitfulness, as opposed to mere sensual lust, was but slowly developed in the course of ages. As goddess of the sea and maritime traffic, especially of calm seas and prosperous voyages, she was widely worshipped by sailors and fishermen at ports and on seacoasts, often as the goddess of calm, while Poseidon was the god of disturbance Next, as regards the life of the earth, she is the goddess of gardens and groves, of Spring and its bounties, especially tender plants and flowers, as the rose and myrtle; hence, as the fruitful and bountiful, she was worshipped most of all at that season of the year in which her birth from the sea was celebrated at Paphos in Cyprus (comp. cut). But to this, her time of joyful action, is opposed a season of sorrow, when her creations wither and die: a sentiment expressed in her inconsolable grief for her beloved ADONIS (q.v.), the symbol of vegetation perishing in its prime. In the life of gods and men, she shows her power as the golden, sweetly smiling godess of beauty and love, which she knows to kindle or to keep away. She outshines all the goddesses in grace and loveliness; in her girdle she wears united all the magic charms that can bewitch the wisest man and subdue the very gods. Her retinue consists of Eros (Cupid), the Hours, the Graces, Peitho (persuasion), Pothos and Himeros (personifications of longing and yearning). By uniting the generations in the bond of love, she becomes a goddess of marriage and family life, and the consequent kinship of the whole community. As such she had formerly been worshipped at Athens under the name of Pandemos (- all the people's), as being a goddess of the whole country. By a regulation of Solon, the name acquired a very different sense, branding her as goddess of prostitution; then it was that the new and higher meaning was imported into the word Urania. In later times, the worship of Aphrodite as the goddess of mere sensual love made rapid strides, and in particular districts assumed forms more and more immoral, in imitation of the services performed to love-goddesses in the East, especially at Corinth, where large bands of girls were consecrated as slaves to the service of the gods and the practice of prostitution. And later still, the worship of Astarte, the Syrian Aphrodite, performed by eunuchs, spread all over Greece. In the Greek myths Aphrodite appears occasionally as the wife of Hephaestus. Her love adventures with Ares are notorious. From these sprang Eros and Anteros, Harmonia, the wife of Cadmus, and Deimos and Phobos (fear and alarm), attendants on their father. By Anchises she was the mother of Eneas. The head-quarters of her worship were Paphos, Amathus, and Idalion (all in Cyprus), Cnidus in Dorian Asia Minor, Corinth, the island of Cythera, and Eryx in Sicily. As mother of Harmonia, she was a guardian deity of Thebes. Among plants, the myrtle, the rose, and the apple were specially sacred to her as goddess of love; amongst animals, the ram, he-goat, bare, dove, sparrow, and other creatures of amorous nature (the ram and dove being widely-current symbols of great antiquity); as sea-goddess, the swan, mussels, and dolphin; as Urania, the tortoise. In ancient art, in which Aphrodite is one of the favourite subjects, she is represented in a higher or lower aspect, according as the artist's aim was to exhibit Urania or the popular goddess of love. In the earlier works of art she usually appears clothed but in later ones more or less undraped; either as rising from the sea or leaving the bath, or (as in later times) merely as an ideal of female beauty. In the course of time the divine element disappeared, and the presentation became more and more ordinary. While the older sculptures show the sturdier forms, the taste of later times leans more and more to softer, weaker outlines. Most renowned in ancient times were the statue at Cnidus by Praxiteles (a copy of which is now at Munich, see fig. 2), and the painting of Aphrodite Anadyomene by Apelles. Of original statues preserved to us, the most famous are the Aphrodite of Melos (Milo, see fig. 3) now at Paris, and that of Capua at Naples, both of which bring out the loftier aspect of the goddess, and the Medicean Venus at Florence, the work of a late Attic sculptor, Cleomenes, in the delicate forms of face and body that pleased a younger age. On the identification of Aphrodite with the Roman goddess of love, see VENUS.
For mirrors the ancients used round or oval, also square, plates of melted and polished metal, generally of copper, mixed with tin, zinc, and other materials, often silvered and gilded. In later times they were also made of massive silver. They were often provided with a decorated handle and ornamented on the back with engravings, mostly of mythological objects (see cuts). The Etruscan mirrors are in this respect remarkably fine [the finest of all is represented in fig. 4]. Besides these hand-mirrors, there were also in the time of the emperors mirrors as high as a man [Seneca, N. Q. i 17; cp. Quintilian xi 3, § 68], which were either permanently fixed in the wall or [as in vitruv.ix 8 § 2] let up and down like a sash. [Greek mirrors were unknown to archaeologists until 1867, when the first specimen was discovered at Corinth. In design they are even more beautiful than those of Etruria. They are of two kinds: (a) Like the Etruscan mirrors, they are generally round, consisting of a single disc with a polished convex front, to reflect the face, and a concave back, ornamented with figures traced with the engraver's burin. This variety had a handle in the form of a statuette resting on a pedestal. (b) Another variety, especially frequent in Greece, consists of two metallic discs, one inclosed within the other, and sometimes held together by a hinge. The cover was externally ornamented with figures in low relief, and was internally polished and silvered to reflect the face. The second disc, forming the body of the case, was decorated internally with figures engraved with a sharp point. See Collignon's Greek Archaeology, fig. 136, Leukas and Corinthos personified, on an engraved mirror; and fig. 137, a fine relief of Ganymede and the eagle. In the British Museum we have a mirror from Corinth, representing Pan playing at the game of "Five Stones" with a Nymph attended by Eros (Bronze Room, table-case D).]
sometimes Dionysus (Greek). The god of luxuriant fertility, especially as displayed by the vine; and therefore the god of wine. His native place, according to the usual tradition, was Thebes, where he was born to Zeus by Semele, the daughter of Cadmus. Semele was destroyed by the lightning of her lover, and the child was born after six months. Zeus accordingly sewed it up in his thigh till ripe for birth and then gave it over to Ino, the daughter of Semele. (See ATHAMAS.) After her death Hermes took the boy to the nymphs of Mount Nysa, or according to another version, to the Hyades of Dodona, who brought him up, and hid him in a cave away from the anger of Hera. It cannot be ascertained where Mount Nysa was originally supposed to be. In later times the name was transferred to many places where the vine was cultivated, not only in Greece, but in Asia, India, and Africa. When grown up, Dionysus is represented as planting the vine, and wandering through the wide world to spread his worship among men, with his wine-flushed train (thiasos), his nurses and other nymphs, Satyrs, Sileni, and similar woodland deities. Whoever welcomes him kindly, like Icarius in Attica, and CEneus in Aetolia, receives the gift of wine; but those who resist him are terribly punished. For with all his appearance of youth and softness, he is a mighty and irresistible god, strong to work wonders. A whole series of fables is apparently based upon the tradition that in many places, where a serious religious ritual existed, the dissolute worship of Dionysus met with a vigorous resistance. (See LYCURGUS, MINYADAe, PENTHEUS, PRCETUS.) This worship soon passed from the continent of Greece to the wine-growing islands, and flourished pre-eminently at Naxos. Here it was, according to the story, that the god wedded Ariadne. In the islands a fable was current that he fell in with some Tyrrhenian pirates who took him to their ship and put him in chains. But his fetters fell off, the sails and the mast were wreathed in vine and ivy, the god was changed into a lion, while the seamen throw themselves madly into the sea and were turned into dolphins. In forms akin to this the worship of Dionysus passed into Egypt and far into Asia. Hence arose a fable founded on the story of Alexander's campaigns, that the god passed victoriously through Egypt, Syria, and India as far as the Ganges, with his army of Sileni, Satyrs, and inspired women, the Maenades or Bacchantes, carrying their wands (thyrsi) crowned with vines and ivy. Having thus constrained all the world to the recognition of his deity, and having, with Heracles, assisted the gods, in the form of a lion, to victory in their war with the Giants, he was taken to Olympus, where, in Homer, he does not appear. From Olympus be descends to the lower world, whence he brings his mother, who is worshipped with him under the name of Thyone (the wild 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, Bromios, Evios, and Iacchos, 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 Persophone, 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 conexion 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 Licnites; 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 Bacchae, 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, Baeotia, Argos, and Laconia, and in Baeotia and Laconia especially the mountains Chitaeron and Taygetus. They were also known in Naxos, Crete, and other islands. They seem to have been unknown in Attica, though Dionysus was worshipped at the Eleusinian mysteries with Persephone and Demeter, under the name of Iacchos, 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 Lyaeos, or the loosener of care, They are ennobling 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 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 Libera 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 Iakchos, 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 Liberalla. Old women, crowned with ivy, sold cheap cakes (liba) of meal, honey, and oil, and burnt them on little pans for the purchasers. The boys took their toga virilis 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 Bacchanatia were celebrated by men and women, in Italy outside the cities, in Rome in the sacred enclosure of Stimula or Semele. They were accompanied with such shameless excesses that in 186 B.C. they were put down, with unsparing severity, by a decree of the senate.
Type: Standard
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