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the first, shall receive — ^the wine-skin of Ktesiphon,' * a
man ridiculed by the Poet, according to the SchoUast,
for being thick-witted and pot-bellied. Thoukydides simi-
larly calls the Anthesteria the more ancient festival of
Dionysos,* and this is an important circumstance when
we notice the mystic symbolism concealed beneath these
apparently simple revelUngs. Orestes, according to one
legend, when fresh from the pollution of the murder of
his mother Klytemnestra, arrived at Athenai during the
celebration of this Festival ; and as no one could drink
with him, Demophoon the son of Theseus, who then
reigned over the Athenians, in order to spare the feelings
of his guest, made every man drink out of his own cup,
and hence the l^endary origin of the custom. From
this day Dionysos had the name of Choopotes or Deep-
drinker, and he who could take the most wine was
honoured by a crown of leaves, the crown being an orna-
ment which, as noticed, Dionysos was said to have

» Theatre ofUie Greeks, 212. » Vs. 1000-2 ; cf. vs. 1070-1234.

' Nicola, Ve Ritu Bacch. apiid * Thoukyd. ii. 15.
Gronovius, vii. 186.



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234 THE GREAT DIONYSIAK MYTH.

invented. The third day of the Festival was called Chytroi
or Pot-sacrifice-day, as on it the votaries offered sacred
pots filled with seeds toDionysos and Hermes in his charac-
ter of Chthonios or the Infernal, and after sunset either on
this or on the preceding day the peculiar sacreds of Diony-
SOS NykteKos or the Nightly-one were celebrated^ Slaves
enjoyed a temporary freedom during the Festival. Come-
dies appear to have been then represented, and it is prob-
able that ' the Tragedians read to a select audience the
Tragedies which they had composed for the festival in
the following month.* ^

Next, as to the mystic symbolism of the Anthesterian
Kitual. The connection between Dionysos and that
wonderful concept the Awfiil Damsel, * the Maid whom
none may name,' * I shall have to notice when considering
the Eleusinian Mysteries ;• suffice it at present to remark
that both divinities descend fix)m the Upper- to the Under-
world, are both lost and sought for and at length found,
and alike exhibit every phase firom the mildest and most
attractive beauty and gentleness up to the most awe-
inspiring majesty and dread shadowy grandeur. At
present all that need be remembered is that Dionysos
represents (1) the Sim which rises, sinks, disappears, and
rises again ; and (2) the Earth-life, which, in the form of
vegetation and otherwise, springs fix)m the groimd, fades,
dies, and rises again. Kemembering this, we next notice
that the Wine-pitcher and the Seed-pot are in reality iden-
tical ; that both alike^ with slightly varied symbolism,
represent the same great idea. The jar, pitcher, ampho-
reus, vase, or pot, in which the seeds of vitality and the
wine, ' that animating principle which, infused into the
various parts of the creation, gave hfe and support to the

' Theatre of the Greeks^ 213. « Eur. Alex, Frag. xxii. ' Inf, sec. ii.



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THE HELLENIK CULT OF DIONYSOa 235

whole,' * were placed, is only the kosmic ark, chest, or
egg with which we are femiliar.* Wine in the Dionysiak
cult, as in the Christian religion, represents that blood
which in different senses, is the life of the world. Seeds
and finiits, such as the pomegranate and apple, were simi-
larly used at Eleusis. Lastly, must be noticed the secret
Dionysiak ritual performed at the Anthesteria with its
meaning. The votaries entered the temple of Dionysos
Nyktelios at nightfall with hghted torches, whilst cups of
wine were placed around, as libations of the symbolised life-
power to the great life-divinity. At Pellene in Eastern
Achaia, where the Bakchik ritual was ahnost exactly
similar, the god was worshipped as Dionysos Lampter
or the Light,' a circumstance which further illustrates the
symbolism. The god is the light as order, form, and
life-vigour, emerging in visible and apparent procession
fix>m the kosmic ^g of night and chaos ; and again, he is
pre-eminently the light, i.e. the sun. But the E^g- sprung
is the Night-born, darkness precedes light, and chaos order;
and again, the dread and mysterious Being, whose cult is
only intelligible to the initiated few and to them but
dimly, who sinks to the Under-world, and whose hght and
meaning is hidden, as the soul, of which the lamp-iSame
was a symbol, is in the body, is at once the son, the lord,
the victim, and the conqueror of darkness. Thus the
mystic title Nyktelios Lampter presents no real contra-
diction, but illustrates the manifold nature of the multi-
form divinity. Dionysos, ' leader of the chorus of fire-
breathing stars,' the mystic torches of the infinite, brings
light and life, physical, psychical, spiritual, and mental.*
Another temple of Dionysos Nyktelios was situated in
Megaris, not very far from Eleusis.*

On the second day of the festival there was also a

' GliriBtie, Disqiugitions upon the ' Paus. vii. 27.

Greek Painted Vases, 45. * Sup. IV. ii. 2.

« Vide m/. VIII. u. Jar. * Paus. i. 40.



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236 THE GREAT DI0NY8IAK MYTH.

special secret Dionysiak celebration, called the Dodekate,
because it fell on the twelfth of the month, at the temple
of Dionysos Limnaios before mentioned, under the con-
trol of the wife of the Archon-King, who appointed four-
teen noble women free from all ceremonial pollution, and
called Gerarai the Venerables, to assist on the occasion.
' The Anthesteria,' remarks Donaldson, * was accompanied
by mystic solemnities, pointing at once to this ideal [i.e.
as a phallic divinity in the widest sense] of the reUgion of
Dionysos, and to its Semitic origin. At this festival the
mysteries were entrusted to the wife of the king Archon,
and to fourteen priestesses, whose number is that of the
victims sent to the Minotaur, and is obviously Semitic.^
As the representative of the state, and as symbolizing the
virgin daughter of Demeter, who returned to the earth in
the spring, the king Archon's wife was solemnly espoused
to Dionysos, just as conversely the Venetian Doge
annually married the sea, and she alone was admitted to
gaze on the mysterious emblems of the god's worship, on
which the welfare of the state was supposed to depend,
namely, the sacred serpent and the Phallus.' ^ The syra-
boHsm, in its widest signification, is nothing less than indi-
cative of the marriage of heaven and earth, of mind and
matter, of soul and body, of active and passive principles,
and of that union and unity of efibrt whence and by
means of which are all things. Thus, the most ancient
Dionysiak Festival of the god brings him before us as the
phallic, serpent-girt, life-bestowing, fire-breathing, solar,
kosmic, and also tauric, divinity, whose pristine home is
in the Oriental cradle of mankind.

The Dionysia Megala, the Gtreater or City Dionysia,
celebrated yearly in the month Elaphebolion (March-
April), was presided over by the Archon Eponymos, so

' As to the MinotauroB, vide fw/. ' Theatre of the Greeks^ 19; cf.

IX. iii. Ibid, 65, 212-3 ; Herod, ii. 48-0.



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THE HELLENIK CULT OF DIONYSOS. 287

called because the year was registered in his name,^ and
who was the first of the Nine. The order of the solem-
nities was as follows : —

I. The great public procession. — ^This appears to have
consisted of, —

1. A motley crowd of dancing, shouting votaries,
adorned with the leaves and with crowns of Bakchik
trees and plants, such as ivy, vine, pine, and fir ; beating
drums, and playing on various musical instruments, some
dressed in fawn- or goat-skins.

2. The bearers of the sacred vessels or mystic jars,
one of which was filled with water, humidity being
necessary to life and growth ; and moisture or fluid
matter having existed previously to the dry land, water,
the Homerik all-fostering ocean-stream, being thus in one
sense and aspect a kind of sire of all.^

3. The Kanephoroi or Basket-bearers, noble maidens
who carried the mystic golden baskets filled with firuit,
and also at times containing serpents.* So the Chorus of
Women in the Lysistrate, when enumerating the religious
festivals which the Athenian maids took part in, conclude,
* And at length I bore the basket being a beautiful girl,
having a string of dried figs.' * These basket-bearers also
appeared in the processions of Athene and Demeter.^
The Kaneon is identical in signification with .the Kalathos,
both words meaning primarily a wicker-basket.^

* The Assyrian practice was simi- ' ' The token of the Sabazian mys-

lar. Vide Oeoige Smith, The Assyrian teries to the initiated is the deity

£p<nwm Canon, Raiding over the breast — the deity

' Oif. Oen, i. 2. 6-10; Sanchou. i. being this serpent crawling oyer the

1; BeroBos, Cfuodaikay i. Frag. 1; breasts of the initiated ' (Clem. Alex.

Hndar, Ol.Ll. * It is evident that, Protrept, L 2).

accordiiig to the noiion of the Baby- * lAfstst, 646-7.

lonians, the sea was the origin of all ^ Of. Ealliro,.&Vmfi.6tii2>0m.; Ovid,

things ... a watery chaos preceded Fasti, 420-460; Hesych,in voc. JTa-

the creation and formed the origin nephcroi,

and groundwork of the universe' ^ As to the Kalathos and its mystic

(George Smith, Chaldean Account of significance, vide inf, sec. ii. 3.
Odiesisy G4-6).



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238 THE GREAT DIONYSIAK MYTH.

4. The Phallophoroi,* crowned with violets and ivy,
and canying wooden representations of the Linga.

5. The Ithyphalloi, dressed as women, thus represent-
ing the androgynous or two-natured divinity. They
reeled along as if intoxicated, crowned with flowers.

6. The Liknophoroi, who carried the Liknon, or
sacred fan of Dionysos liknites,* the 'mystic fan of
lakchos,' which was an essential implement at the sacreds
of the god, being typical of purgation and purification.*
Liknon signifies (1) an osier winnowing- fan ; (2) a shallow
basket for finiits and ofierings, and so becomes identical
with the Kaneon and the Kalathos ; and (3) a cradle.*

n. The Chorus of Youths.

m. The Komos^ or band of Dionysiak revellers,
whose ritual is best illustrated in Milton's exquisite poem.^
And

IV. The representation of Comedy and Tragedy^ for
at Athenai the stage was rehgion and the theatre a
temple. At the time of this great Festival the capital was
filled -^th rustics fi:'om the country townships, and
strangers firom all parts of HeUas and the Outer-world,
including the nimierous naval allies of the Athenians,
who would doubtless be suitably impressed, by the elabo-
ration of the ritual, with a sense of the power of the great
city both in things human and divine. Such was the
character of, and the general procedure observed at, the
four great Attik Festivals of Dionysos, and it cannot be
truly aflSrmed that they merely illustrate the cult of a
wine-god. We are not here concerned with Hellenik
antiquities generally, but only in so far as they illustrate
the intricate nature and concept of this elastic and Pro-
teus-like divinity.

^ Phallic Dionysiak prooessions ap- the Oreeksy 72.

peax to have heen common in the ^ Vide inf, VIIL ii. Liknttes.

majority of Hellenik cities. Of. Aria- • Of. S. Matt, iiL 12.

tot. Peri Poiet, iv. ; MiQler, Doric * Of. Horn. Hynm, eis Herm. 26.

Racej i. 419 j Donaldson, The^re of * &up. IV. iii. 1.



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THE HELLENIK CULT OF DIONYSOS. 239

Three other Dionysiak Festivab peculiar to Attike
reqiiire notice : the Askolia, the Braiironia, and the Oscho^
phoria. The first was observed by the Attik husband-
men who, after the sacrifice of a he-goat,^ made a bottle
of the skin, filled it with oil and wine, and then played at
the sport called Askoliasmos, which consisted in leaping
on the leathern bottle askos^ and endeavouring to stand
with one foot upon it, the victor receiving the bottle as
his prize.' Here the bottle corresponds with the mystic
jar of the city festivals, and is in fact a kosmic Askidian.

The Dionysia Brau:conia was celebrated once in five
years at the Attik town of Brauron, situate near the sea
coast almost due east from Athenai, and which, in the fifth
century B.C., with the exception of the capital and Eleusis,
was the most important place in Attike. The Festival
was marked by the wildest and most dissolute Bakchik
revelry, and Brauron on the occasion became a noted
trysting-place for doubtful characters of both sexes.* It,
however, is chiefly remarkable in a Dionysiak connection,
as having been a point of contact between two similar
divinities, Dionysos Taurokeros, the Bull-homed, and
Artemis Taurike, the Bovine. Even a tyro in the study
of mythology wiU at once see that Artemis Orthia, the
Phallic, called Taurike, and also by the mysterious name
Tauropolos,* is in reahty, like Artemis Ephesia Poly-
mastos, the Many-breasted, a being perfectiy distinct in
origin firom the simple Dorik huntress-goddess, sister of

» Vide inf. VHI. iL Ooat, From which they slid, with broad

' ' A simple Ascidian ' is, according grimace,

to some, the venerable grandsire of And falling, filled with mirth the

the human race. place :

And so thej owned and honoured

*When Bacchus' feasts came didy well

round, Their great grand-eire— the leather

Athenian peasants beat the ground ; bottel. — Blackwood, May 1871.

And danced and leapt, to ease their * Of. Aristoph. Eireney 874, et

toil, Schol. ; Souidas. in toc Brauron,

Mid leather bottles smeared with oil ; * Vide inf, IX. iii.



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240 THE GREAT DIONYSIAK MYTH.

the great Aryan sun-god ApoUon. Nothing is more
singular than the way in which the Hellenes apparently
identified their innocent and beautiful concept of Artemis
with such creations as Taurike of Brauron, Polymastos the
Great Mother of Ephesos, or the Kamic Pasht. K. O.
Muller, who is anything but clear in his view of the
matter, is nevertheless constrained to remark that the
image of the Ephesian Artemis ' is not connected by any
visible bond,' nor indeed by any invisible bond, ' with the
Hellenic notions of Artemis,' and mentions other forms of
the goddess in Asia Minor, * still more rude and unsightly.
Altogether, Asia Minor was full of strange and peculiar
representations of this deity' [of the Great Goddess
Mother he should have said], * which come nearer to the
Anaitis of the East than to the Grecian Artemis/ ^
Doubtless ; and all such representations, moreover, trans-
gress the Hellenik anthropomorphic canon which I
venture to lay down.* The name of Artemis may,
therefore, be at once dismissed as being only calculated
to create confusion of idea, and I will call the goddess
Taurike. It must have been remarked that the Uasar of
Hellas appears to have no Uasi, but we here find her
at Brauron; and her connection with the Bull-homed
Dionysos will become very apparent in the sequel. Her
Brauronik festival, like that of Dionysos, was quinquen-
nial, the first noticeable point of agreement between them ;
and was presided over by ten Hieropoioi, or Managers-of-
sacred-rites, whose special function it was to see that the
victims were without blemish. A goat was sacrificed,
and rhapsodic recitations from Homerik Poems took place
on the occasion.* But the most interesting feature in the
ceremonial was a procession of little girls, all under ten
years of age, dressed in safiron-coloured garments, and

* Ancient Art and its BemainSf * Vide inf. VH. Dionysos in Art,

45G-7. ' Hesych. in voc Bravr&niois.



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THE HELLENIK CULT OF DIONYSOS, 241

fcnown l>y the singular appellation of Arktoi, Bears.^ So
the Chorus of Women in the Lysistrate^ when recounting
the part they had taken in various festivals, says, ' And
when I was ten years of age I prepared the meal for the
sacred cakes for the Fundatrix,' * t.^., of Brauron, * and
then I was Bear at the Brauronia, wearing the safiron-
coloured robe.' ^ The httle maids seem to have imitated
bears, and of coiurse a stoiy was easily invented in expla-
nation of the rite. A tame bear enraged with an Attik
maiden killed her, and was killed by her brothers, on
which Artemis visited the land with a pestilence, and was
appeased by the institution of the Braiux)nik ritual. Why
the goddess of the chase should be supposed to object
to the deeds of hunters, her special votaries, does not
appear ; nor need we enquire, for the legend is merely a
confiised afterthought, invented to explain a custom the
origin and meaning of which were then unknown or for-
gotten. A far more interesting and important tradition
represents the goddess — ^to whom it will be observed
Aristophanes ascribes the foimding of the town, for it
cannot be supposed that the peculiar title Archegetis is
used merely as an equivalent for Artemis — as a bear call-
ing for human blood.*

The Oschophoria was an annual Attik Festival in
honour of Dionysos and Athene, said to have been
estabUshed by Theseus,^ after the slaughter of the Mino-
tauros. The legend ran that the hero on his return from
Krete forgot to hang out the white sail which was the
signal agreed upon between him and King Aigeus to de*
note his success, and that Aigeus, supposing Theseus had

^ Souidas. in toc. Arkto$\ louL is called Tauropolos.

Polydeok. Tiii. 9. * Apoetolius, Tiii. 10. For full

* Archegetis; cf. Find. Pyth, t. explanation of the nature and ritual

60, where the epithet is apnlied, as of the jroddess, vide inf, IX. iii Ar^

frequently elsewhere, to Apollon. teftm-OrthiarTaurike,

< Vs. e44-5. InT.447 the goddess » Flout Thetew.

B



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242 THE GREAT DIONYSIAK MYTH.

been slain, in despair threw himself fix)m a rock into the
sea and so perished. The herald who entered the city
brought the good news of the hero's safe return, and
hung the garlands with which the people wished to crown
him upon his herald's staff, and so returned to Theseus,
who was sacrificing at the Port Phaleron; from which
circumstance it was customary at this Festival to crown
the herald's staff and not the herald, and at the sacrifice
mingled cries of triumph and of woe^ lou and Eleleu,
were raised commemoratively even in the time of Plout-
archos, who thus describes another singular circumstance
connected with the celebration : — * Theseus took not with
him the fiill number of virgins, which were chosen by
lots to be carried away [to E^rete], biit selected two
youths, of fair and womanish faces, but of manly and
courageous spirits, and having by frequent bathings, and
avoiding the heat and scorching of the sun, with a con-
stant use of all the ointments, washes, and dresses, that
serve to adorn the head, smooth the skin, or improve the
complexion, changed them, in a manner, from what they
were before ; and having taught them to counterfeit the
very voice, gesture, and gait of virgins, so that there
could not be the least difference perceived, he, undis-
covered by any, put them into the number of the Athe-
nian maids designed for Krete. At his return, he and
these two youths led up a solemn procession, with boughs
and vine-branches in tiieir hands, in the same habit that
is now worn at the celebration of the Oschophoria ; these
branches they carried in honour of Bakchos and Ariadne.*
The Festival derives its name from oschos^ a vine-branch-
with-grapes. The episode of Theseus and the Minotauros,
and the peculiar position occupied by the great Attik
hero with respect to various foreign oppressors, will be
noticed subsequently,^ suffice it to observe here, a peaceful

* Vide m/. IX. iii. The Mmotauros, X. ir.



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THE hellenib: cult of dionysos. 243

celebration of the Dionysiak cult in honour of the stranger
god and the foreign Ariadna The womanish youths
illustrate the god as Dimorphos the Two-formed and
Thelymorphos the Androgynously-effeminate, the familiar
* two-natured lakchos.' ^ The Demiurge, fountain of the
luxuriant productiveness of the world typified by the
grape-laden vine-branch, contains within himself both
male and female principles. The Festival was concluded
by a race to the temple of Athene at Phaleron ; the run-
ners carried branches, and the victor was rewarded with a
' miscellaneous potion ' of wine, honey, cheese, meal, and
oil, appropriately called Pentaple the Fivefold, like our
modem Punch.*



Subsection II. — The Boiotik Cult

In Boiotia we find a singular cluster of Dionysiak
Festivals, consisting of the Agrionia, the Omophagia, and
the Trietcrika ; which were all somewhat similar in
character, and distinguished by the im-Hellenik nature of
their ritual. The Agrionia was celebrated at Orcho-
menos in honour of Dionysos Agrionios, or the Savage, a
name given him, as Ploutarchos truly says, on account of
his cruelty, i.e.^ of the savage nature of his cult.® In
earlier ages human sacrifices were offered at it, and even
m the time of Ploutarchos, ZoUos, a Bakchik priest of
Chaironeia, slew a maiden on the occasion, but died
shortly after we are told of a mysterious disease, and sub-
sequently such excesses were absolutely prohibited. In
illustration of the extent to which human sacrifices at one
time prevailed in Hellas, we find that Themistokles at the

* Vide tnf. VIII. ii. Mi$e. inixture of five ingredients/ (Graham,

' ' The well-known bevera^ called A Book about Words^ 236).

Punch 18 said to be deriyed Irom the ' Vide inf, VIII. ii. AgrionioB.

Hindostani panch « 5; it means a

R 2



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244 THE GREAT DIONTSIAK MYTH.

crisis at Salamis was compelled to assent to the saciifice
of three Persian captives to Dionysos Omestes/ the Eaw-
flesh-eater ; but Hellenik feeling generally is n^ost strongly
opposed to such horrors, and more innocent victims are
substituted> as in the case of Iphigenaia and others. The
substitution of the sacrifice of a goat for that of a boy at
the temple of Dionysos Aigobolos, or the Gtoat-piercer,
near Potniai, a little to the south of Thebai, has been
already referred to.*

Another curious custom at the Agrionia was the
formal search for the lost god. * Among us/ says Plout-
archos, * at the Agrionia the women seek for Dionysos as
if he had forsaken them, and at length they cease and say
that he has fled and concealed himself with the Muses.' •
This is the search of Uasi for XJasar, and that of Demeter
for Persephone is very, but not exactly, similar ; the life-
spirit of nature has departed in the wintry cold, and
again, in the solar aspect, Helios has left us and is gone
to shine amongst the dead.* And this is a feeling which
of necessity is Aryan as well as Semitic, for all see the
sun, only the Aryan idea is far simpler and free from the
mysterious elements of the Semitic. * When we hear thei
people saying, " Our friend the Sun is dead. Will he rise ?
Will the Dawn come back again ? " we see the death of
Herakles, and the weary waiting while Leto struggles
with the birth of Phoibos. When on the return of day

* ' As Themistokles was sacrificing Themistokles was astomshed at the

on the deck of the chief galley, three strangeness and cruelty of the order ;

captives were hrought to him of un- but me multitude, who, in pressing

common beauty. Euphrantides, the difficulties trust rather to absurd than

soothsayer, casting his eye on them, rational methods, invoked the god

and at the same time observing that with one voice ; and leading the cap-

a bright Jlame biased out from ^ vie- - tives to the altar, insisted on their

timSj took Themistokles oy the hand, being offered up, as the soothsayer

and ordered that the three youths had directed ' j^lout. Theniist* xiii.)
should be consecrated and sacrificed ' Sup, IV. iii. 2.
to Dionysos Omestes ; for by this ' Symp. viii. Prooim.

means the Hellenes might be assured * Of. Lobeck, Aglaoph, C78.
not only of safety but of victory.



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THE HELLENIK CULT OF DIONYSOa 245

we hear the cry — " Eise ! our life, our spirit is come back,
the darkness is gone, the light draws near I " we are
carried at once to the Homeric hymn, and we hear the
joyous shout of all the gods when Phoibos springs to light
and life on Delos/^ *0f gods,' says Pausanias, *the
Eleans especially revere Dionysos,' * and then he tells how
that at the Elean Dionysiak Festival of the Thyia three
empty vessels are brought into the temple of the god and
left there ; and though all the doors are made fast and
sealed, yet, wonderful to say, the vessels are found next
day filled with wine. This remarkable fact he had from



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