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strikes the philosophic enquirer (who wishes not so much
to know what is, as why it is) as being based on a
mystical and symbolic view of certain great realities.
Here, again, we have the kosmic sjrmbulism imitated,
probably unconsciously by the vast majority of the
Dionysiak worshippers of Hellas, who deemed that their
dances and ritual were at most but representations of the
acts of some pre-historic hero of the Earlier Time. It
is Dionysos as ' the choir-leader of the fire-breathing
stars,' the spirit of the universe, who, with wild shouts
and streaming locks, heads and agitates the cyclic starry
groups in their aerial dance around the mighty altar of
the world.* The chorus-leader puts his band in motion,
but how does Dionysos agitate the stars? The word
used, anapalldn^ reminds us of the Queen of the Air, whose
* name, Pallas, possibly refers to the quivering or vibra-
tion of the air ; and to its power, whether as vital force,
or communicated wave, over every kind of matter, in
giving it vibratory movement.' ^ What causes the twink-
ling or ' edHying of the stars ? ' * The waves of light ;



1



Vide note by Dr. Birch in Bun- K. i.



sen's Egypt's Hace^ i. 386, showing
the identity of Khem with * the Har-



* iSup. II. iii. 3 ; rV. ii. 2, iii. 1.

I identity of Khem with * the Har- * Ofaeen of the Air, i. 43. Others,

nekht or powerful Horus,* son of somewhat singularly, connect the

Uasar. name of the stainless virgin with

' As to Pan, vide inf, VII. ii. phallos.

« Vs. 145-9. As to the cir * lak- « HeUene, 1498.

chos,* Vide inf, VIII. ii. takchoSy



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THE DIONYSOS OF THE ATTIK TRAGEDIANS. 141

Dionysos, as he bounds along, comet-like, with flaming
torch, a circling sun, Antauges the Sparkler. It is
difficult to follow the subtle phases of this vast and
wonderful divinity. His solar connection with its
astronomic and igneous aspect has been noticed in part,
but as lie is heat, so, naturally, is he light as connected
with materiahty. In fact, go back to first principles, and
there from the root of existence we shall exhume the
mystic Demiurge, and find the basis of things personified
in him : light, Dionysos the Solar ; Heat, Dionysos the
Fiery ; Force, Dionysos the Vigorous ; Sound, Dionysos
the Shouter; Motion, Dionysos the Dancer; Change,
Dionysos the Many-phased ; Life, Dionysos the Blooming ;
and Death, Dionysos the Grimly, the * many-guest-
receiving Zeus of the dead.' Well does Professor Kuskin
speak of * an instinctive truth in ancient symboUsm,' and
of ' mythic expressions of natural phenomena which it is
an uttermost triumph of recent science to have revealed/

The Chorus having concluded, the scene which follows,
absurd enough in itself, is yet interesting in a Dionysiak
connection. Kadmos and Teiresias, both very old men,
come on the stage, and piously resolve to dance till they
drop in honour of the new god, showing what an essential
feature of his cult was the rhythm or poetry of motion,
the imitation of the vibratory or eddying nature of things.
A passage in the Batrachoi of Aristophanes, describing
the mystic Bakchik dances of Eleusis, is in remarkable
harmony with this description, and perhaps ridicules it,
* the knee of the old men moves swiftly ; and they shake
off griefs and lengthy periods of ancient years at the
sacred worship.'^

Pentheus having, not unnaturally, expostulated with
his grandfather and Tieresias on their apparent foUy, the

» Batr. 346-8. Probably the Bdkh 405. The expression * foot of time '
chai and the Batrachoi were both (Bak, 876) is ridiculed in the latter
brought out in the same year, B.C. play {Batr, 100).



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142 THE GREAT DIONYSIAK MYTH.

latter is made to reply in a strain of the grossest material- *
ism, showing that he was a worthy disciple of the sensu-
ous god : * Two things, youth, are of most importance
among men, the goddess Demeter, who is the Earth ; by
whatever name you wish to call her.^ She with dry
food nourishes mortals ; but the oflFspring of Semele, who
has come as her rival, has discovered the liquid stream of
the grape, and has introduced it among the subjects of
death, which frees the wretched race of man from grief,
when they are filled with the flowing of the vine, and
sleep an oblivion of daily evils it gives, nor is there any
other remedy for woes/ * lam compelled to notice this
unworthy passage, lest it should be said that I omit
extracts which show that Dionysos was merely Theoinos,
the Wine-god. It is difficult to say whether it is most
wanting in truth or in nobihty of feeling, why the poet
introduced it, and why he fastened it upon the unfortu-
nate soothsayer.^ Those who remember the solemn
majesty of ' King Teiresias,' in the weird scenery of the
Homerik Nekyomanteia, will appreciate this gross pro-
fanation of the character of the mighty seer of Thebai. Is
then the Byronic sentiment, that * man being reasonable
must get drunk,' commendable, and is there no other
refuge for the ills of Ufe than the stupefaction and heavy
sleep, evil-dream-haunted, produced by excess of wine ?
These are the bread-and-cheese views of the mythic
Sardanapalos, whose tomb was said to have borne an in-
scription which in Latin verse ran : —

Haec habeo quae edi, quaeque exaturata libido
Hausit : at iUa jacent multa et praeclara re.licta.

* Of. Aia. Prom, Dea, 210. rather of Proclus than of Euripides "]
> Vs. 274-83. is very well carried out.*( 7%c Bacchae^

* Mr. Tyrrell remarks that ' the Introd. zxziii). I should say there is
character of Teiresias, when divested still more need to divest it of its
of its spurious rationaHsm [t.e. as spurious materialism. Of. the Teire-
shown in Vs. 286-306, a passage re- sias of the Oid, Tyr,

jected by some critics as " smacking



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THE DJONYSOS OF THE ATTIK TRAGEDIANS. 143

*Qmd aliud,' inquit Aristoteles, * in bovis, non in regis
sepulchro, inscriberes ? '

But to leave the moral, or rather immoral, sentiments
of the passage, and to turn to the idea of the divinities
which it contains, the sentiments apparently not merely
of Teiresias, but also of Euripides himself, a philosophical
freethinker and materialist. ' When we call com Ceres,
and wine Bacchus,' says Cicero, 'we make use of the
common manner of speaking ; ^ but do you thinfc anyone
so mad as to believe that his food is a deity ? ' ^ Dionysos
then, is not merely Wine personified, for if so, then
Demeter is merely Bread; but Demeter is the Earth:
then, the Earth is merely Bread ; which is absurd. But
he is here said to be the discoverer and introducer of
wine, and of this, as we have seen, there is not a trace in
his Homerik or other early history.* K merely the
Wine-god, why is he solar, homed, and kosmogonic?
Every step of the enquiry proves the vinous theory to be
utterly untenable ; we might as well say that Aphrodite
was only a designation of love, and not a vast and wide-
spread concept whose name might derivatively be appro-
priately so used. But, in truth, it is unnecessary to slay
the slain: Euripides, it would almost seem in wanton
mischief, (he may possibly have been laughing at Arche-
lacs, or perhaps such sentiments were in vogue at the
Makedonian Court),* here holds up eating and drinking,
especially the latter, as the height of happiness, and this
view of Dionysos but ill fits with the rest of the Play,
for if the Bakchai were the only Dionysiak specimen of
ancient hterature which we possessed, we should unhesi-

" E{f, the proverb ' Sine Oerere et * Where the Play would seem to

libero fiigit Venus.' have been very popular. At a sub-

« De Nat, Dear, iii. 16. Transub- sequent period Olympias, the mother

stantiation would have surprised of Alexandros the Great, acted

hinL Agaue. (Plout Alex, ii.) Another

* Vide ««p. n. i. 8, Mr. Gladstone Agaue in later times actuaJly brought

on the Dionysiak use of wine by intheheadof Orassus. (VideMorom-

women. sen, Hist, €f Rome^ iv. 837.)

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144 THE GREAT DIONYSIAK MYTH.

tatingly assert that the Tippler was but one, and that not
one of the most important of the phases of the god. It
is necessary to insist strongly on this point, since it is so
customary to connect the Bakchik cult with wine only.*
Bunsen, commenting on the ^ellenik Mysteries, remarks,
' More especially Orphic, again is the spiritual significance
of Dionysos, who elsewhere is represented rather as a
Demiurge^ and in later ages again under a sensual aspect
as the god of wine.' ^ But this passage of the Bakchai
contains an important fact illustrative of the connected
worship of Demeter and Dionysos. The two divinities
being distinct in character and origin, and yet remarkably
similar in many respects, especially in the kosmogonic
phase, might with equal propriety be represented either
as Associates according to Kndaros, or as Eivals according
to Euripides. Eivals at first, they afterwards agreed to
harmonise and buried all differences in the joint cult of
Eleusis, in which Demeter as the elder, and goddess of
the place, has pre-eminence and priority, while Dionysos
is enthroned as her associate and assistant.

* And this divinity is a Prophet, for Bakchik phrensy
and madness have much of the prophetical spirit ; for
when the god enters strongly into the body he causes the
phrensied to declare the future.' * ' As the god of wine,'
remarks the writer of the article Dionysus in Dr. Smith's
Classical Dictionary, ' Dionysus is also both an inspired
and an inspiring god, that is, a god who has the power of
revealing the future of man by oracles.' The principle
here seems to be ' wine in, wit out.' But what instance
is there of any divinity or individual being inspired by
wine to declare future events ? Is the Delphik ApoUon
a wine-god, and was the ecstasy of his priestess mere
drunken raving? Jolly livers, from Archilochos to

» Vide the observation of Prof. » Vs. 298-301 ; cf. Hek, 1267 ;

Mayor, sup. II. i. 8. Herod, vii. Ill : Ais. Frag, ccccxi.

« God %n Hist. ii. 89. < Bakcheios the Pwphet.*



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THE DIONYSOS OF THE ATTIK TRAGEDIANS. 145

Theodore Hook may have felt most inclined to sing and
dance when somewhat * dizzy with the thunder of wine/
but to suppose that the secrets of futurity .lie at the
bottom of the talboy is to adapt a thoroughly Eabelaisian
creed; and, so believing, we may sing, with Panurge : —

Bottle 1 whose mysterious deep
Does ten thousand secrets keep,
With attentive ear I wait,
Ease my mind and speak my fate.
Soul of joy 1 like Bacchus, we
More than India gain by thee ;
Truths unborn thy juice reveals,
Which futurity conceals.

Of course those who regard Dionysos as simply a
wine-god are of necessity driven to explain all his pliases
by the aid of wine alone. The first link between ApoUon
and Dionysos is their solar connection, which has been
already noticed ; ^ and we now come to the second, the
possession of prophetic* power. It is therefore natural,
when considering why Dionysos is credited with the pos-
session of such power, to ask why this is an attribute of
Apollon ? And the answer is very simple. The wisdom
of Apollon is merely that of Hehos the Sim, who sees and
"knows all things.^ * He is emphatically the wise and the
deep- or far-seeing god,'^ who shares in the secret
counsels of Zeus.* This Aryan idea is perfectly simple
and innocent, and unconnected with any violent emotion :
Apollon does not rave or rage. Dionysos, as we have
seen, has a solar phase ; but his prophetic powers are not
connected with it, for the Semitic mind does not regard
the Sun in so simple an aspect as that of a mere observer
of what is done in the world. We therefore notice that

* Sup. 11. iii. 2. 25 et seq,

« Of. //. ill. 277 •, Od. Tiii. 302. * Of. Rant. Hymn, Eis Ha\ 53r).

* Mythol. of the Aryan Nations, ii.



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146 TIIE GREAT DIONYSIAK MITH.

although, in the case of the two divinities, the result is the
same, namely, both are regarded as being prophetic, yet
that this result is arrived at by different lines of thought ;
ia circumstance not unnatural, since one god is Aryan and
the other Semitic. When speaking of the connection
between the Phoenician Poseidon and the Latin god
Consus,^ I remarked, that Hhe attribute of mysterious
wisdom which characterises Consus distinguishes Poseidon
in a similar manner,' and that the wisdom of Zeus, Apol-
lon, and Helios * only represents the knowledge derived
from ocular observation.' In a remarkable passage in
the Ilias^^ Poseidon claims to be wiser than ApoUon,
who docs not deny tlie assertion, and in every way con-
fesses his inferiority ; while the subordinate of Poseidon,
jiroteus the Aigyptian,® is possessed of unerring know-
ledge and prophetic powers. We may fairly assume that
the master was as wise as the servant; indeed, he is
expressly represented as * gifted with prophetic powers.' *
Poseidon, Proteus,^ Dionysos, all Oriental personages, are
thus all alike possessed of mysterious wisdom and pro-
phetic power; which, as we have seen, is distinct from
the simple Aryan idea of ocular solar knowledge. We

^ One of my critics supposes that was said to haye reined at the time

I meant to derive Consus from the of the Troian War. This great, wise,

Kamic Klions, a piece of etymology prophetic Fish, who lived near a place

of which I am quite innocent. called ' The Camp of the Tynans,'

^ H. xxi. 440. and also near the temple of ' Venus

' Od. iv. 386. the Stranger,' %jr. Astarte, is the

* Posiidoay xxiii. ; cf. II. xx. 293. Phoenician and Philistine Dagon.

' Proteus, the wise and prophetic (Vide Sir G. Wilkinson in Rawlin-

Old Man of the Sea, who could change eon's Herodotus^ ii. 167; Poseidon^

into marine reptilian forms {Od, iv. xxxiv. xxxv.) Thus Mr. Cox^ re-

418), is identical with the mythic marks, * This Proteus is the fisn-god

Kamic monarch of Herodotos, * a of Xinevites and Philistines' {Mythol.

man of Memphis,' and, as shown by of the Aryan Natiom, i. 183. Note),

the passage, of Phoenician associa- and that the qualities of Proteus 'are

tions, * whose name, in the language scared by the fish-god, Dagon or

of the Greeks, was Proteus ' (Herod. Onnes, of S^-ria ' {lb. ii. 26), who,

ii. 112), who was also called Ketes again, is KaMean in origin {Pos^idorty

(Diod. i. 62), i.p. Great Fish, and who xxxvii-xxxix.).



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THE DIONYSOS OF THE ATTIK TRAGEDIANS. 147

are thus of necessity driven to the conclusion, that they
brought their prophetic powers with them from their
earlier homes ; and so we shall find on the other side
the sea in that wonderful group of lands from Kam to
Haiasdan/ seers, soothsayers, augurs, diviners, enchanters,
astrologers, magicians, and schools of prophets, all in fiiU
activity. It is unnecessary here to enter into detail about
them, the raving votaries of Baal, the mystic trance-
excitement of Balaam, the wise men of Babylon, the
myriad pseudo-seers of Israel ; the thousand expedients,
astronomical, astrological, and otherwise, for revealing
the secrets of the shrouded Future.^ Suffice it for the
present to observe whence the Semitic Dionysos obtains
his prophetic power, wherein it diflFers from that of his
Aryan brother, Apollon ; how, as he is at once the asso-
ciate and rival of Demeter, he is also the associate and
rival of Phoibos ; and, lastly, how, when their feuds are
over, the joint ritual of Delphoi, where Dionysos has * as
great a share in the Delphic oracle as ApoUo,' corre-
sponds with the joint ritual of Eleusis.

* He has also something of Ares in him.** So the
Orphik Hymn writer calls him * Ares-like.' * Ares ' is in
point of strength, divine; in point of mind and heart,
simply animal. He is a compound of deity and brute.' ^
This savage wild-beast phase of Dionysos has already
been referred to.* It is closely connected, but not abso-
lutely identical, with the darker aspect of his Semitic cult.
Thus regarded, he is Dasyllios the Shaggy and Agrionios
the Savage. His partially warlike character is shown in
the legends of his prowess in the fight between the Giants

* * The primitiTe name of ancient ' V. 302.

Annenia.' (Cooper, Archak Dictum- * OpMk Hymn, xxx. 4.

ary, 207). ' Juv. Mun, 294.

« Cf. the Bahylonian 'Tables of « Of. V. 1017-9. Vide sup. II.

Omens.' (Records of the Past, v. 167 i. 4.
etseq.)

l2



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14 S THE GREAT DIONYSUK MYTH.

and the Gods,* alluded to when speaking of his possible
connection with Aigokeros, and of his conquests over the
Indians,^ and other hostile nations and individual oppo-
nents. So far as we have gone hitherto, this feature
resolves itself into the violent introduction of his cult into
fresh localities.

* You shall see him also on the Delphik rocks, bound-
ing, with torches, upon the double-peaked hill-top, brand-
ishing and shaking the Bakchik branch, and mighty in
Hellas/ ^ Unless this is meant as a prophecy, which it
does not seem to be, but as a relation of alleged facts,
the poet, thinking more of the belief of his own day than
of that of the mythic age of Pentheus, contradicts him-
belf ; for, at the outset, Dionysos is represented as saying
that Thebai was the first Hellenik locality at which he
had arrived, and therefore Delphoi would not then be
one of his haunts. His connection with the Delphik god
has just been noticed.* The branch which he shakes is
the thyrsos^ wreathed with deatliless ivy ; ^ and, according
to Hesychios, Dionysos was known in the Mysteries under
the name of the Branch,* a most appropriate symbol of
the earth-life or Dionysos, Dendrites Of-the-tree, and
Karpios the Growth-producing. The Assyrian sculp-
tures have made us famihar with the Bakchik branch in
earlier symbolism/ A fiiUer meaning attached to the
idea is illustrated by many passages in the Old Testa-
ment.^ The branch is also a phallic tree of life.^

' Come Golden-faced-one,^^ brandishing your thyrsos

' Of. Evk. 5-8 •, inf. sec iv. ^ Vide M. VIII. ii. SpotB,

« Inf. IX. vii. Indoletes. « Of. Job, xiv. 7, xtiu. lQ;Prov.

» Vs. 306-6. xi. 28 ; Is. xi. 1, xiv. 19, xxv. 6 ; Jer,

* Of. V. 660 ; PhatniSy 228 ; Iph. in xxiii. 6 ; Zech. iii. 8, vi. 12.

Tnu. 1243; Ian. 716, 1126; Soph. » Gl Mythd.of the Aryan Natums,

Old. Tyr. 1106; Antiy. 1129;' An- ii. 114.

stoph. Neph. 6a3 ; sup. IV. i. 2. »« Chrysopcs, V. 663. Vide mf. IX.

» Vide inf. VIII. ii. Wand. iv.
® Hesych. in voc. Bakchos.



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TIIE DI0N1!S0S OF THE ATTIK TIUGEDIANS. 149

along Olympos/ * The vivifying snn/ ^ When the Bakchai
strike the earth with the thyrsos water spritigs up and
hon jy drops from the ivy-wreathed wands,^ illustrative of
the power which controls ' the fatness of the earth beneath/

' Dionysos is inferior to none of the gods.' * An ap-
parently absurd assertion as applied to Dionysos in con-
nection with the Hellenik Pantheon, but by no means
unintelligible when his earlier history is considered, in
tracing which we find him identified with lao the
Supreme and Zagreus * highest of all gods.'

' Dionysos, a god to men both most terrible and most
mild.'* Terrible to his enemies or the rejectors of his
cult, and in his sterner aspects ; mild, as a source of joy,
to his friends and worahippers. Tins two-faced aspect
has already been noticed.^

' The secret dances of the god.' • Pentheus having
seen the Bakchai performing these, is to be slain, lest he
should reveal them. They formed an important part of
the mystic ritual as noticed.^

Subsection III. — The Sufferings of Dionysos,

* Aiai, I begin the Bakchik strain,' ® exclaimed the
widowed queen of Troia, on seeing the dead body of her
son Polydoros. Although Bakchik song was usually
joyous and lively, yet it had also a sad and melancholy

* Qt. Mythd, of the Aryan NationSf pipes, while Antony was hailed by
iL 102 et seq. the name of Bacchus :

* V. 704 et seq, < Bacchus ! ever kind and free! '

* V. 777. And mich, indeed^ he was to some ; hut

* V. 801. ^ to others he was savage and severe,

* Sup, II. i. 4, 8; cf. Plout. Anton, Asia in some measure resembled the
* When Antony entered Ephosus, the city mentioned by Sophocles, that
women, in the dress of Bacchanals, was at once tilled with the perfumes
and men and boys habited like Pan of sacrifices, songs, and groans.'

and the Satyrs, marched before him. « V. 1109.

Nothing was to be seen through the ' Sup, subsec. i.

whole citv but iyy crowns, and spears * Hek, 684.
wreathed with ivy, harps, flutes, and



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150 THE GREAT DTONYSIAK MYTH.

phase, which could never have been the case if Dionysos
had been merely fa rustic god of vineyard merriment.
Thus we find that Kleisthenes despot of Sikyon, for poli-
tical piuposes, put an end to the tragic choruses with
which the^Argeian hero Adrastos had been honoured on
account of his calamities, and transferred them to Diony-
sos,^ whose mythic history must tlierefore have contained
accoimts of suffering and woe.

The identity of Dionysos in his solar phase with
Adonis has already been noticed,* and at this same city
of Sikyon the poetess Praxilla (cir. B.C. 452), called one of
the nine lyric Muses, sang of the joys and sorrows of the
beautiful Syrian youth.* * The leaders of the wild irre-
gular Comus, which danced the Dithyramb, bewailed
the sorrows of Bacchus, or commemorated his wonderful
birth,' * for ' the worship of Dionysus partook of the same
variations as that of the sun-god ; and, on the one hand,
his sufferings and mischances were bewailed.' * Adonis,
the heat and vigour of the summer sun and the fruitful-
ness of the earth produced by the warm beams, is
doomed to die nightly, and more particularly to perish
by the wound inflicted by the stern wintry powers ; • and
so the story of death and resurrection is mirrored on the
face of nature, and myths relating to these changes arisa
spontaneously in the mind from contemplation of the
external. The fate of Dionysos Zagreus torn in pieces by
the Titanes,^ admits of a similar explanation. *This
slaughter and cutting up of Zagreus is the stripping off of
leaves and fruits in the gloomy autumn, which leaves only
the heart or trunk of the tree to give birth to the foliage



^ Ilerod. V. 67. » Ibid. 23.

« Sup. II. iii. 6. « Cf. Mythd. of the Aryan No-

' Cf. Prax. Fray. ii. ; Zenob. Pard. tianSj ii. 7, 113.

IT. 21 ; MUller, Doric Race, i. 420. ' Paus. viii. 37 ; NonnoB, tI. 165

< The<iire of the Greeks, 30. et seq.



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TIES DIONYSOS OF THE ATTIK TRAGEDIANS. 151

of the coming year.* ^ These changes in natural phe-
nomena aflford the first ground-work for the sujQferings of
Dionysos and the laments of Adonis,^ and suflSciently,
but probably not exhaustively, explain the myth. Con-
nected with this mournful Bakchik strain is the song
called * the linus, which is sung under various names, not
only in Egypt, but in Phoenicia, in Cyprus, and in other
places ; and which seems to be exactly the same as that
in use among the Greeks, and by them called linus. It
appears to have been simg from the very earliest times.
The Linus in Egypt is called Maneros ; ' * and the mythic
Maneros was said to have been the only son of the first
Kamic king, and to have died in early youth, these ' dirge-
like strains' being lamentations for his untimely death.
But the Linos-song, Uke the Bakchik strains generally, was
both lively and momnful ; and so in the former phase was
suitable to banquets.* The song of Maneros was sung by
Kamic peasants, and Maneros was also said to have been
the inventor of husbandry ; * a circumstance which links
him with Uasar, * whose sufierings and death were the
great mystery of the Egyptian religion; ' * and, Uke those
of Dionysos, Adonis and Zagreus, had a kosmogonical
aspect or basis.^ According to Pausanias, Uasi bewails
Uasar at the season when the Nile begins to rise, and the
peasants used to say that the tears of the goddess caused
the increase of the river.^ * The death of Osiris was
piously lamented by Isis and her sister Nephthys ; and
once a year the !E^ptians joined their priests in a melan-
choly procession through the streets, singing a doleful



' Mythd, of the Aryan Nations, ii. * Herod, ii. 79.

294. The Zagreus myth b noticed * Plout. Pm Is. xvii.

at length m/l IX. vi. * loul Polydeuk. iv. 7.

» OiJ£zek. viii 14; Ari8toph.Xy«^. • Sir G. Wilkinson in Rawlinson's

889; Sappho, Frags. Ixii. bdii. Herodotusjn.2,20,

cviii. ^ Cf. Buneen, EgypCs Place, i. 461.



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