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Theou, human religioiis system, as a natural

' Of. Herod, i. 131, 199. result of anthropomorphic thought.

* Trans, Soc. Bib. Archaeol, iiL The Ajyan Demeter, it may be ob-
163. served, is a perfectly distinct concept

* Herod, i. 131. from the Semitic Goddess-mother^

* RawHnson, Herodotus, i. 317. althoufifh inevitably identified with
' As to the Great Goddess, vide her when the two came into con-

Apuleius, De Asino Aureo, lib. xi. tact.



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220 THE GREAT DIONYSIAK MYTH.

male divinity, this latter must of necessity have been the
Great God. And who is this Being ? I shall not at this
point of the enquiry consider Dionysos in his primal home ;
but it is evident that the Great Gknl b the mighty
Demiurge, and all-animating, all-sustaining Being, the
husband of the Great Goddess, the Baal of Ashtoreth,
the Sabazios of Kybele, the Uasar of Uasi, and thus on^
like the Great Gk)ddess many-named, one and yet many,
^ Zagreus, highest of all gods,' lao who changes with the
seasons, but still ^ One Zeus, one Aides, one Helios, onb
Dionysos.' The grand old oracle of Apollon Klarios
rings true through all the changes of time and locality ;
and Herodotos, who, as we have seen, displays in his con-
sideration of Dionysos a critical acumen that makes the
wild Euemeristic stories of a writer like Diodoros Sikelos
seem mere imbecility, spoke most advisedly when he
identified Dionysos and Orotal. Can it then be pretended
that Herodotos r^arded the Dionysos of his countrymen
as being only a simple rustic Wine-god ? As regards the
name Orotal, Sir G. Wilkinson observes, ' Urotal has been
supposed to be " AUah-taal," the same name as now used
by the Arabs for the Deity, signifying "God the
exalted," ' ^ like Zeus the Most High, and Zagreus the
Highest. And after alluding to the opinion of ScaUger
and Selden that Alilat was the moon,^ — a view undoubtedly
correct in itself, though not containing an exhaustive
explanation of the nature of the goddess — ^he remarks :
* If so, Urotal should be referred to the day, or [rather
to] the sun, the Aor " light " of Hebrew.' Sir Henry
Eawlinson, when speaking of the Kaldean divinity who is
the god of the atmosphere, and whose name has not yet
been satisfactorily deciphered,* observes, ' If we looked

1 Bawlinson, Herodotus, ii. 336. ' This personage has been called

* Of. De Die St/riSf 253, edit Vul, Iva, Yem, Ao, Hu, Bin, eta
1688.



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THE DIONYSOS OP HERODOTOS. 221

to mere local tradition, a more probable reading would
seem to be Air^ or Attr, well-known gods in the Mendaean
Pantheon, who presided over the firmament; and we
might then further explain the Orotal of Herodotus, as a
compound term [i.e. Vr and 2a(], including the male and
female divinities of the material heaven,' ^ in fact, as being
a sort of * two-natured lakchos/ Orotal is thus a god of
light, of sun-light, and of the air ; and the Sun himself,
the ' one Helios ' of the oracle, Hyperion the Climber, or
Most High, in Akkadian and Hamitic Kaldean called San
the Bright-one, whilst his Semitic name is Shamas,
Shemesh, Chemosh, the Servitor, the exact opposite of
Baal, Molekh, or Malek, the Lord, is undoubtedly the
divinity referred to, or at all events the most remarkable
phase of that divinity. Mr. King, alludmg to the leonto-
kephalic man on Gnostic talismans, remarks, * May not
this figure be the great god of the ancient Arabians, Ourotal,
Gk)d of Light, whom Herodotus takes for Dionysos, and
thus again equivalent to the later Pater Bromius?' ^ Simi-
larly, the solar phase is the most remarkable feature in
the concept of Uasar ; and when Dionysos is traced to his
origin, the same fact will also appear with respect to
him;* although in his adopted Hellenik home this
aspect may not, perhaps, at first sight, be particularly pro-
minent. But the solar character of Orotal is susceptible
of further illustration ; for, as Mr. Fox Talbot observes,
* It is certain that the Arabians worshipped the Sun, and
the Assyrian records confirm this by saying that tribute
was brought by the Queen of the Arabians, who used to
worship the sun.' * But Orotal is said to have been the
only god whom the Arabians worshipped: therefore,
Orotal and the Sun' are identical. The Arabian cult was

> Kawlioson, Herodotus, i. 408. ^ Trans. Soc. Bib. Archaeol. ii.

• The Ofutstics, 118. 33.

' Vide mf. XII.



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222 THE GREAT DIONYSIAK MYTH.

certainly of a Tsabaistic or star-worshipping nature, and
among all star-worshippers * that nebulous star we call
the Sun ' would naturally and necessarily have the first
place. * The astral character of the old Arabian idolatry/
observes Canon Eawlinson, * is indubitable. The Bacchus
and Urania of Herodotus are therefore with reason taken
to represent the Sun and the Moon.'^ So M. Lenormant,
when speaking of the ancient religion of Yemen, remarks,
' Bil, Rahman [" the merciful "], Tathaa [" the Saviour '^^J,
Haubas ["the Shining"], Samah ["the Elevated"],
Simidan ["the Powerful"], Dhamar [**the Protector"],
all represent the Sun under different points of view.'^
But we notice, moreover, that the Arabian votary of the
solar Orotal, on plighting his faith, like the Syrian votary
of the solar Baal, cuts himself till the blood gushes out
upon him,* and this savage custom obtained over the
whole of Western Asia. Thus we find on an Assyrian
tablet : —

He who stabs his flesh in honour of Ishtar, the goddess

unrivalled.
Like the stars of heaven he shall shine ; ^ like the river of

night he shall flow I ^

* By " the river of night," ' says Mr. Pox Talbot, with
great ingenuity and probability, * I understand the Milky
Way.' Here, then, the Tsabaist, or worshipper of the
host of heaven, is encouraged to self-wounding by the
prospect of shining with a glory equal to that of his
divinities. Let the reader compare with this strange and
fierce ritual the stern and ruthless side of the Dionysiak
cult.^ The Arabian next proceeded to moisten with his
blood 'seven stones lying in the midst,' which would

1 Kawlinson, Herodotus, ii. 336. ^ Of. Dan, xii. 3.

* Of. Dionysos Soter. • Trans. Soc. Bib, Archaeol, ii. 63.
» And, mst, of the East, ii. 324. ' Sup. IV. iii. 2, 3.

* Of. 1 Kings, xviii. 28.



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THE DIONYSOS OF HERODOTOS. 223

appear to have formed a kind of rude altar ; their number
being significant and symbolical, as the twelve stones
which formed the rude extempore altar of Elijah repre-
sented the twelve tribes of Israel.^ Here the symbolism
is evident ; the Tsabaist worships in his oath the sacred
seven planets, whose cult reappears in the seven gates of
the city of Thebai. I have already quoted an extract
firom the Assyrian version of the Song of the Seven Spirits,
and their connection with the seven sons of Ptah is suffi-
ciently obvious; not, however, that the Eabeiroi were
merely the planets or planetary influences, but the astral,
kosmogonic, and psychical phases and ideas are as usual
intermixed in their concept.^ The last noticeable feature
in the accoimt of Herodotos further illustrates the solar
character of Orotal. He describes the Arabians as say-
ing that they follow or imitate their divinity in their mode
of cutting the hair, which, from his account, they appear
to have cut or shaved in a circular form ; in fact, they
seem to have worn a kind of tonsure, a practice par-
ticularly forbidden to the priests of Israel,^ but followed
by those of Uasar,* a being who, according to Macrobius,
is * nothing else but the Sun.' The Skythai, whose oaths
were accompanied by similpx mutilations, seem also to
have cut their hair in a similar manner.^ And, agreeably,
we find that the ceremony of tonsure ' was an old practice
of the priests of Mithra, who in their tonsures imitated the
Bolar disk/ * Mr. C. W. King remarks that the devotees
of Uasi * carried into the new priesthood the former badges
of their profession, the obligation to celibacy, the tonsure,
etc. The sacred image still moves in procession, as when

' 1 JKtnffs, xviii. 31-2. * Macrob. i. 21.

* Ab to the number 7, cf. Mr. Fox * Of. Herod, iv. 70-1.

Talbot in Trans. Soc. Bib, Archaeol. ^ Maurice, Indian Antics, -vii.

ii.6&-eO. Videtn/. X. 1. 851. Vide tn/l XU. i. 4.

' Lev, xxi. 5.



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• 224 THE GREAT mONYSIAK MYTH.

Juvenal laughed at it, escorted by the tonsured train/ *
The solar significance of the tonsure is undoubted.

In illustration of the connection between Dionysos
and Arabia,^ may lastly be noticed the opinion of the
poet Antimachos and others already referred to,' that
Lykourgos was king of Arabia, and diat Nysa was there
situate. Euripides, too, as we have seen, describes
Dionysos as having come to Thebai from Arabia the
Happy. Later writers frequently place Nysa in Arabia,
or in Asia, or in both.* Mr. Sharpe remarks that the
birthplace of XJasar *was Mount Sinai, called by the
Egyptians Mount Nissa.' ^ These various mythic l^ends
iUustrate the ancient connection between Arabia and the
solar cult of Dionysos-Orotal.



SECTION VII.

ElKON OP THE DIONYSOS OF HEEODOTOS.

The Dionysos of Herodotos is a divinity of wide-
spread and extended sway. In Eam, he appears as
XJasar; in Arabia, as Orotal; in Asia Minor, as
Sabazios ; while he is found alike in Phoenicia, Skythia,
Thrake, and Hellas, ffis mysteries and sufferings are
similarly commemorated on the circular lake of Sa, in the
tragic choruses of Sikyon, and at the sacred shrine of
Eleusis. Nysa, far in the Outer-world, is his early home ;
and Kadmos and his Phoenician companions first intro-
duced the Dionysiak cult into continental Hellas, where
it was adopted by the illustrious seer Melampous. As

' The Onoetics, 71. -• Of. ApoUod. i. 6, iii. 4 ; Diod. L

' OaUed in Hebrew Arab, in Aa- 19, iii 64.

Syrian Arabn, and in Egyptian Punt. ^ Egyptian Myth4dogy, 10.
» Sup. IV. ii. 1.



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THE DI0NYS03 OF HERODOTOS. 225

Orotal and Uasar, Dionysos is a solar divinity, judge of
the dead, and chief of the gods, but the superstitious reti-
cence of the historian prevents the recital of his esoteric
history, and the explanation of its meaning. Although,
however, his cult is so widely spread, yet it never appears
as indigenous in any non-Semitic regions. It is a novelty
and an innovation alike in Skythia, Thrake, and Hellas,
and Kam herself is but the debtor of Asia in the matter.
First Phoenicians, and subsequently Hellenes, spread the
worship ; and the Phoenicians themselves are emigrants
from Kaldea. The connection between the god and the
vine, which, according to many, is all important, and actu-
ally the sum and substance of the whole matter, is so
comparatively insignificant in the opinion of Herodotos,
that he never once refers to it. Of all the writers who
have been examined, none have given clearer or more
important testimony to the true nature and origin of
Dionysos ; and though Herodotos, wiser on the point from
actual knowledge and research than Euripides, avoids the
error of the Lydian theory of the latter, yet this is a mere
point of detail, and there is a substantial agreement
between the historian and the author of the Bakchai.
Herodotos, therefore, joins the cloud of witnesses who,
fix>m Homeros downwards, testify in tones of perhaps
varying distinctness, yet with one mind and one mouth,
that the Zeus of Nysa and son of Semele is a wandering
and wondrous stranger, the child of the distant and glowing
r^ons of the Semitic East. With Herodotos closes the
line of early Hellehik writers who have treated of the
Great Dionysiak Myth. Later authors, from ApoUodoros
to Nonnos, are in the main either copjrists and compilei's,
who re-echo traditions and legends which in their time
had become unmeaning, or else crude Euemerists, hke
Diodoros Sikelos, whose system compels them to run riot
in all manner of absurdities. Their works, often highly

Q



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226 THE GREAT DIONYSIAK MYTH.

valuable for reference and for the illustration of particular
points, are, as a whole, undeserving of separate examina-
tion. The god-like Elders of Hellenik song, the poets,
epic, lyric, and tragic, have given their testimony, which
has been crowned and completed by that of the great
Father of History. We shall now, therefore, turn from
individual authorities to contemplate Dionysos as he
appears in the ordinary life of Hellenik cities, and in the
enduring triumphs of Hellenik art.



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227



CHAPTER VI.
THE HELLENIK CULT OF DI0NTS08,



SECTION L
THE FESTIVALS OP DIONYSOS.

Subsection I. — The Attik Cult

Wb have now to notice the Dionysiak cult and ritual as
they obtained amongst the Hellenes of the great historical
ages ; and here the Festivals of the god, of which there
were some five-and-twenty, claim especial attention.
The four principal Attik Dionysiak festivals were (1)
the Dionysia Mikra, the Lesser or Eural Dionysia; (2)
the Dionysia Lenaia; (3) the Anthesteria; and (4) the
Dionysia Megala, the Greater or City Dionysia. The
Bural Dionysia, celebrated yearly in the month Posideon
(December-January) throughout the various townships of
Attike, was presided over by the demarch or mayor. The
celebration occasioned a kind of rustic carnival, distin-
guished like almost all Bakchik festivals, by gross intem-
perance and licentiousness, and during which slaves
enjoyed a temporary freedom, with licence to insult their
superiors, and behave in a boisterous and disorderly
manner. It is brought vividly before us in the Aclmmes
of Aristophanes, which was produced early in B.C. 425, the
sixth year of the Peloponnesian War. In this Play
Dikaiopolis, the Upright Citizen ^ and advocate of peace

1 Of. Orthagoias, Aiistoph. J5%. 916.
q2



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228 THE GREAT DIONYSIAK MYTH.

at any price, influenced doubtless by the peculiarly exposed
situation of the town of Achamai, concludes a separate
treaty on his own account with the Spartans and their
allies — a felicitous arrangement which enables him to
spend his time in Bakchik revelry and devotion. Having
commenced with the Eural Dionysia, the Upright Citizen
is left when the Play closes apparently celebrating the
Anthesteria. Peace being concluded, he exclaims, * O
Dionysia I I freed from war and ills will go within and
celebrate the Eural Dionysia.' ^ The scene then repre-
sents him engaged in the celebration, assisted by his wife,
daughter, and slaves.

Di. Speak words of good omen 1 Speak words of good omen 1
Let the Basket-bearer come forward a little :
Xantbias set up the phallos erect.

• ••••••

You two must hold the phallos erect behind the Basket-
bearer,
And I following will chant the phallic-hymn.
Phales, companion of Bakobos,
Fellow-reveller, nigbtly-rambler-around.
Seducer, youth-lover.*

Here we have the simple phallic cult of the personified
Priapos, son of Dionysos and Aphrodite,* both Oriental
divinities, and which, as we have seen, Herodotos states
that Melampous obtained from Kadmos the Tyrian. It
is remarkable that throughout the whole Play god-
desses are never introduced into the licentious ritual of
the Upright Citizen. It is to Dionysos alone that he
sacrifices, and yet even here amongst the rustics, in
the very place of all others where the simple wine- god,
if such he were, should stand clearly before us, the vinal

» Vs. 201-2. \lde Bergk. Pbet, Ly. Grae. Car.

' A fragment of a phallic song, Pop, Frag. viii.

which, however, calls for no particular • OL Diod, iv. 6.
comment, is also given in Athen. xiv.



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THE HELLENIK CULT OF DIONYSOS. 229

phase is found to be altogether secondary, and it is as a
phallic divinity that Dionysos appears on the stage. The
highly important phallic element in religious mythology
is now at length receiving full recognition, which indeed,
in accordance with the customary movements of the
human pendulum,^ ere long promises to be somewhat too
ample. Some ardent followers of Payne Knight in the
present day appear to hold that phalUcism is the key
to all mysteries, the explanation of all rude stone monu-
ments, and of an infinity of remains less barbarous, and
the illustration and basis of all occult symbolism and
mysterious practice. But we may be sure of this, that
one key mil never open all locks ; one fact, however wide
in influence and prevading in efiect, will never explain in
an entirety the whole of the intricate combinations of
religious mythology. As previously observed,* if we
rely solely in our investigations on the explanation
afforded by a single principle, we shall inevitably be at
fault in numerous instances, and be compelled sooner or
later either to abandon the theory or to overstrain it.
The thing itself to be dealt with, is complex and diverse
in character ; so, therefore, must be the elements which
form the system of explanation. A judicious combination
of principles and methods of treatment, not the arbitrary
exclusion of any one of them, will ultimately cut the
Gtordian knot ; for the problem is not insoluble, and the
materials requisite for its solution are constantly increas-
ing. The phallic character of Dionysiak worship was,
from the nature of the god, inevitable. The essence and
power of all kosmic vitality, Erik^eios is, necessarily,
when anthropomorphically regarded, a phallic divinity.
The religions of the world are, as a matter of course,

' * The law of rhythm in its social Spencer. The Principles of Sociology y

applications implies that alternations Number 40, Appendix A.J
of opinion will be violent in propor- * Sup, I.

tion as opinions are extreme* (II.



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230 THE GREAT DIONYSIAK MYTtt

developed in accordance with human nature, and hence
their success ; it is easy to be religious when that is only
another name for * fulfilling the desires of the flesh and
of the mind.' Nor must it be forgotten that the Diony-
siak worshipper, Eastern or Western, was often most reli-
gious when most depraved ; for if religion is depravity,
then frequently depravity is religion. Dikaiopohs is
represented as being a very religious man, i.e. as replete
with veneration for his divinity. His pretty little daughter
is the Basket-bearer on the occasion. This mystic basket
has been alluded to when considering the Uasario-Diony-
siak symbols of chest, coffin, ark, egg, ship, boat, etc.,*
and will be again mentioned in its place in the Eleusinian
Eitual.* Speaking of the Palladion or sacred statue of Pallas
Athene,' Mr. Cox observes, * The word denotes simply
a figure of Pallas, and Pallas is but another form of
Phallos. To the same class belong the names of Pales,
the Latin god of flocks and shepherds, and of the Sicilian
Palikoi.'* It is possible, but highly improbable, that
Pallas, the stainless virgin goddess, may be one of this
phallic group. There are, as Mr. Cox notices, traditions
which link her with a giant Pallas who, according to one
legend, was said to have been her father, a statement
which requires no explanation ; but there is ever a con-
test between the two, and so Athene, in the war between
the Giants and the Gods, which is said to have taken
place near Pall-ene,* slays Pallas, who is always an earth-
power. The characteristics of the earth-giant and
of the queen of the air are so diametrically oppo-
site that I cannot but regard the name of the latter
as given in allusion to her vibratory power.^ Phales,
to whom Dikaiopolis addresses his pious hymn, appears

» Sup. V. V. 4. 114, Note ; cf. Ibid. I i43.

^ Inf. sec. ii. 3. * IHod. iv. 15; v. 71 ; Pans. i. 26.

» Ct. Hepod. iv. 180 « Cf. Ruskin, Queeti of the Air, i.

* Mythol. of the Aryan Nations, ii. 43.



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THE HELLENIK CULT OF DIONYSOS. 231

to be undoubtedly identical with the Latin Pales, an
Aryan Erikepeios of doubtful sex, or of both sexes, like
the ' two-natured lakchos,' whose festival, the Pahlia,
celebrated yearly on the supposed birthday of Eoma,
partly solemn and partly joyous, and always accompanied
in the country by riotous mirth and copious potations, pre-
sents a remarkable analogy to the Acharnian cult. Similar
also are the Latin divinities Lupercus and Luperca, the
latter apparently identical, or at all events identified, with
the mythic shewolf which sucklcni Eomulus and Eemus.^
The festival of Pales, the sire, is appropriately celebrated on
the birthday of the Commonwealth. Phallos is sometimes
rendered in Latin by * oscillum/ * The oscilla or * little
mouths,' were small heads or faces of Bacchus,^ * fictiles
imagunculus,' which hung from trees in and near the
vineyards ; and, whirled about by the breeze, were sup-
posed to produce fertility in every direction they faced,
and thus appropriately represented Phales-Erikepeios.
So Vii^ sings, * Thee, Bacchus, they invoke in joyful
hymns and to thee they hang the benignant oscilla fi^om
the lofty pine.'* PhalUc divinities are, as a matter of
course, found amongst all races of mankind, although
their cult is far more prominent in some special localities.
It is sometimes difficult to draw the Une between a licen-
tious and an honestly religious use.

The Dionysia Lenaia, celebrated yearly in the month
Oamehon, called among the lonians Lenaion, from lenos^
a wine-press, was presided over by the Archon Basileus,
the second of the Nine Eulers of Athenai, and the repre-
sentative in historic times of the ancient king in his
priestly or sacerdotal aspect, for originally the king was,

> Of. Mr. Fi A. Paley on 11. vL Bibliography, i. 04).
134. ' I use the Latin form when speak-

' Vide Aristoph. Edit. Ludolph ing of the god in Italia.
Kusteri, 1710. * A very beftutiful * Geor. u. 388-9.
edition/ (Moss, Manual of Clasaical



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232 THE GREAT DIONYSIAK MYTH.

like Melchisedek, * a priest upon his throne.* ^ Thus simi-
larly at Boma there was a Rex Sacrificulus or Bex Sacro-
rum. The festival was held at the Lenaion or temple of
Dionysos Limnaios the Marshy, where the first wine-press
was said to have been erected, and which stood in a
swampy quarter of Athenai, not fitr from the south side
of the AkropoUs.* Thus in the Batrachoi the Chorus of
Frogs exclaim, * Brekekekex koax koax. Marshy children
of the fountains, let us loudly utter a harmonious sound
of hymns, my sweet-soimding song koax koax, which
around the Njrseian Dionysos son of Zeus in Limnai we
cried lustily, when the rambling-revelling crowd of people
passed through my glebe on the sacred Pitcher-feast/'
The Dionysiak procession walked to the temple, where a
goat* was sacrificed, and the Chorus sang around the
altar the dithyrambic ode in honour of the god. Both
tragedies and comedies, but especially the latter, formed
an important feature at the Lenaia.

The Anthesteria or Feast of Flowers, celebrated yearly
in the month Anthesterion (February-March), formed a
link between Dionysos and the Mother and the Daughter,
whose Festival of the Anthesphoria or Flower-gathering
very closely corresponds with it. Both these flower-
festivals were, as of course, held in springtime, when the
earth awakes from the sleep and arises from the death of
winter to bloom in renewed beauty and restored vitality.
The celebration lasted for three days, the first of which
was called Pithoigia or Tap-barrel-day, on which they
opened the casks and tried the wine of the previous year.
The day was spent in merriment, and it is noticeable that
in Boiotia, the HeUenik birthplace of the Dionysiak cult,
it was called the Day of the Good Daemon, or favouring

' Zech. vi. 13. 1202.

» Thoukyd. ii. 15. ■• Of. Sup. IV. iii. 2.

'V8. 210-10; cf. Achar, 1,000,



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THE HELLENIK CULT OF DIONYSOS. 233

heavenly power who fills men's hearts with food and
gladness, giving them of the fatness of the earth beneath,
no mere wine-god, for as Donaldson well observes, * this
was not a vintage festival.' ^ The type, however, of this
glad earth-life was wine ; and so we find that ' in the
Bacchian Mysteries a consecrated cup of wine handed
round after supper, called the cup of the Agathodaemon,
was received with much shouting/ * The second day of
the Festival was called Choes the Pitcher-feast, when
every toper had his own cup and vessel, and he who first
drained his jug received a prize. Thus the Herald in the
Achames proclaims, ' Hear ye people : according to
ancient custom the pitchers must be emptied at the soimd
of the trumpet; and whoever shall have emptied his pitcher



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