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PENTHEUS 100.00%
Son of Echion and Agave, the daughter of Cadmus, whom he succeeded in the sovereignty of Thebes. When Dionysus came to Thebes, and the women celebrated a Bacchic festival for him on Cihaeron, he hastened thither to prevent it, but was taken by his own mother for a wild beast, and torn to pieces by her and the other women [Eur., Bacchoe]. His grandson was Menoeceus, the father of Creon and locaste. See cut under AGAVE.
 
MENOECEUS 100.00%
Grandson of Pentheus of Thebes, father of Creon and Jocasta.
 
AGAVE 67.54%
Daugther of Cadmus and wife of Echion. She, with other women, in a bacchanalian frenzy tore to pieces her own son Pentheus (q.v.).
 
ECHION 56.22%

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One of the five Sparti who helped Cadmus to build Thebes; husband of Agave, the daughter of Cadmus, and father of Pentheus. (See SPARTI.)
 
CREON 49.27%

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Son of Menceceus, great-grandson of Pentheus, brother of Demo, and father of Hmmon and Menoeceus (see articles under these names). He governed Thebes after Laius' death until the coming of CEdipus; and again after the fall of Eteocles until the latter's son, Laodamas, came of age. (See ANTIGONE.)
 
PYRRHIC DANCE 25.36%
A mimic war-dance among the Greeks, representing attack and defence in battle. It originated with the Dorians in Crete, who traced it back to the Curetes, and in Sparta, where it was traced to the Dioscuri. In Sparta where boys of five years old were trained for it, it formed a chief part of the festival of the Gymnopoedia. The war-dance performed at Athens at the Panathenaic festival celebrated Athene as the victor over the Giants. In the Roman imperial times the Pyrrhic dance was a kind of dramatic ballet, which was performed by dancers, male and female, and represented (like the Roman pantomime) mythological subjects, taken frequently from the legend of Dionysus, such as the march of the god against the Indians, the doom of Pentheus, but also from other sources, such as the judgment of Paris and the fate of Icarus. For these performances the emperors frequently brought to Rome from Asia, the home of this dance, boys and girls of noble birth; but there wore also dancers, male and female, who were brought up to it as a regular trade. At times the Pyrrhic dance was performed in the amphitheatre by criminals especially trained for this purpose.
 
SCOPAS 17.94%
 
EURIPIDES 10.25%
The third of the three great Attic tragedians. He was born in the island of Salamis, in 480 B.C., on the very day of the great battle. His father Mnesarchus is said to have been a tradesman or tavern-keeper, his mother Clito a seller of herbs. His parents, however, must have had some means, judging by the fact that they gave him a careful gymnastic education to fit him for the athletic contests. This was because they had misinterpreted an oracle given them before his birth which promised the child crowns of victory. Euripides is said in his boyhood really to have gained the prize in a public contest of this kind, but in fact lie was destined to win victories in a very different arena. He associated much with the philosophers Anaxagoras and Socrates, with the latter of whom he enjoyed an intimate friendship during the whole of his life. He also had instruction from the sophists Protagoras and Prodicus. Thus he received the best of education in philosophy and rhetoric. It was in his twenty-fifth year (B.C. 455) that he first put a tetralogy on the stage. He did not win a prize till his forty-third year, and seems indeed to have been victorious only four times in all; but he was none the less indefatigable in writing tragedies. He took a lively interest in the important events and the public questions of the time; but personally be kept aloof from public life, avoided society, and lived mostly in the enjoyment of an excellent library, amid his studies and poetical creations. He was twice unfortunate in his marriage, a fact which may have encouraged him in his surly, unsociable ways. His first wife, Chaerile, he had to divorce for infidelity. She bore him three daughters, the youngest of whom, who was named after her mother, put several of her father's tragedies on the stage after his death. His second wife, Melito, parted from him at her own desire. In 409, at the age of 71, he left Athens; it was said to get away from the ceaseless attacks of the comedians, and from his domestic troubles. He went to Magnesia in Thessaly, where he was received as a guest of the city. Thence he went on to Pella to the court of Archelaus, king of Macedonia, who had gathered round him a number of poets and artists, and who treated him with great respect. Here he spent the last two years of his life and died B.C. 405. According to a story for which there is little authority, he was torn to pieces by a pack of hounds when returning from a nocturnal festivity. The number of his tragedies is variously given as seventy-five, seventy-eight, and ninety-two. Eighteen have come down to us: the Alcestis, Andromache, Bacchae (or the arrival of Dionysus at Thebes and the murder of Pentheus), Hecuba, Helena, Electra, the Heraclidae (or Demophoon of Athens protecting the descendants of Heracles against the persecution of Eurystheus); Heracles in Madness, the Suppliants (or the mothers of the Seven Chiefs who had fallen before Thebes, at whose prayers Theseus compelled the Thebans to bury the dead heroes); Hippolytus, Iphigenia at Aulis, Iphigenia among the Tauri, Ion, Medea, Orestes, Rhesus, the Troades (or the royal house of Troy after the conquest of the city); the Phoenissae (so called after the chorus of Phoenician maidens, an incident in the story of Eteocles and POlynices); and a satyric drama, the Cyclops, the only example of this style of composition which has survived. The earliest of these pieces in point of time is the Alcestis, performed in B.C. 438. It is also noticeable because, although not a satyric drama in the proper sense, it has comic features towards the end, and was actually performed at the end of a tetralogy in place of a satyric drama. The Bacchae, on the other hand, was written in Macedonia in the poet's last years, and performed after his death at the same time as the Iphigenia at Aulis. The genuineness of the Rhesus was doubted even in antiquity. A great number of fragments have survived from about sixty pieces, and in particular from the Phaethon. The tragedies of Euripides are of very unequal merit. Some of them, for instance lofty style of Sophocles, others approach it, as the Medeaand Iphigenia in Tauris. But others, as for instance the Andromache and Electra, are very carelessly put together. His strong point is not artistic composition, well contrived disposition, or the coherent design which gives the inner motive of the action. It is sufficient, in support of this statement, to call attention to his habit of prefixing to every piece a prologue, explaining the story to the spectators, and connected loosely (if at all) with the play; to the very slight connexion between the chorus and the action, and to his liking for bringing in a deus ex machina to cut a difficult knot. On the other hand, it must be allowed that Euripides is a master in the art of devising pathetic situations, and shows extraordinary power in representing human passion, especially the resistless might of love in the case of women. In his religious views be differs essentially from Aeschylus and Sophocles. With Euripides the gods are not moral powers, and fate is not so much the result of a higher dispensation as a perverseness of accident. The lack of grandeur is also a point which distinguishes him from his great predecessors. Instead of their sublime ideas he gives us maxims of worldly wisdom, often to all appearance dragged in without occasion. The motives of action are not so pure as in Aeschylus and Sophocles, and the characters of the heroes are not raised above the level of ordinary life, but brought down to it. So fond is he of giving prominence to the faults of women, that he has been called a woman-hater. He pays more attention to the course of politics than his predecessors, and is indeed influenced by political considerations in his sketches of character. In deference to the democratic leanings of his public, he makes his kings cruel tyrants, without dignity or majesty, and the heroes of the Peloponnese, in particular, he treats with unconcealed dislike. His dialogues are often overloaded with rhetoric and sophistical dialectic. But, in spite of all these faults, for which the spirit of the age is mainly responsible, be is a great poetical genius. He was very popular with his contemporaries, and has been still more so with succeeding generations. The tragedians of the next age made him their model and pattern without qualification, and the Roman poets preferred paraphrasing his dramas to those of the other tragedians.
 
DIONYSUS 6.69%

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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.
 
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