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and disappearing above the sea and through the darkness
is compared to the flight of a gannet or some other kind
of sea-bird, and the simile shows that the goddess was
imagined by the poet as a being generally above water,
although closely connected with the sea. The friendly
Ino foretells the escape of Odysseus, for, as we have seen,
she is possessed of prophetic power,* urges him to leave
the raft and escape by swimming ; and, lastly, makes him
a present of her ' inmiortal kredemnon ' to spread under
his breast, wearing which he cannot perish. ' Thus
having spoken, the goddess gave him [Milton says she
has " lovely hands,"] the kredemnon^ and she back again
into the billowing sea sank,' the term employed is used
of the setting sun or stars, * like a gannet ; and the black
wave concealed her.' It is to be remembered that to
Odysseus on the raft the Moon would appear to sink in
the sea when the waves dashing up high around and
joining the dark above concealed her from him. Fearing
treachery on the part of the goddess, he clings to the raft,
which is at length broken in pieces by the waves, and
Odysseus, after having been two nights and two days in
the deep, at length, by the assistance of Athene and the
kredemnon^ gains the friendly shore. What, then, was the

* Of. Job, xxxi. 26, * The moon lay listening on the mountains.*
walldng in brightnees.' ^ As the moon is connected with

* PauB. iy. §4. the changes of many natural pheno-
' Of. ' How sweet the moon%ht mena which her phases foretell. Vide

sleeps upon this bank.' * The chaste Babylonian lunar portents, Trans,
Dian, bright with beauty and delight, 8oc, Bib. Archaeol. iii. 210 et seq,


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gift of Leukothee ? The Kredemnon, or Headband, was a
kind of scarf or flowing veil which was fisistened to any
covering for the head and descended over the shoulders.
It would naturally be unsuitable for violent exercise, and
80 Nausicaa and her maidens lay aside their kredemna
when about to play at ball.^ Several distinct ideas
appear to unite in this incident of the story. Thus, the
moon-scarf which Ino throws to Odysseus is the line of
waving light across the waters coming from around her
fjEice, and by means of which he may find his way to land.
But her crescent horns of light are the peculiar ornament
of the Moon as a female goddess, and this emblem of lo-
Ino is connected with the mystic boat or ship of the
horned Uasi, which brings us round again to the coffin of
Uasar, and the chests of the Mysteries.^ It would be too
far a departure from the immediate subject to analyse
these various ideas as connected with the lunar goddess,
suffice it to say, that as a fostering mother, Juno-Matuta, her
mystic life-boat preserves all, as somewhat similarly the
Kamic divinities sail over the mysterious ocean in the
boat of the Sim, which the struggles of the wicked serpent
Apap threaten to overturn,^ Euripides wrote a tragedy
entitled Ino^ of which Stobaios, who seems to have been
particularly partial to his writings, has preserved some
fragments. Nonnos also, that diligent student of Diony-
siak legends, has treated of her and Athamas at length.*

The Omophagia was celebrated in honour of Dionysos
as Omophagos, Omadios, or Omestes, the Eaw-flesh-eater,
Zeus the Glutton, and possibly was rather an important
part of the Agrionia and similar celebrations than a distinct
festival. In earlier times men were torn in pieces at it ;
in later ages, goats, whose entrails were devoured by the

' Od. vl. 100. Effypt. 40.

2 Cf. gup. v. V. 4. * Nonnos, v. 198, ix. x. zxxix. 104,

* Cooler, Setymit Myths of Ancietit etc.

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phrensied worshippers. When speaking of the myth of
Zagreus,^ I shall have occasion to refer to this discerption
and its mystic significance. ' In the Mysteries/ says
Clemens Alexandrinus, * the Bakchik votaries perform
orgies in honour of the phrensied Dionysos, exciting their
sacred madness with the eating of raw flesh/ ^ Euripides,
as noticed, describes Dionysos as ' hunting for the blood
of goat-slaughter, a raw-eaten dehght,' ® and in another
place, speaks of the mystics as * fulfilling the life of the
night-wandering Zagreus and the raw-flesh-eating feasts/*
The Trieterika was a Triennial Festival in honour of
the god ' and one legend stated that he instituted it on his
return from India, his expedition thither having occupied
three years.'^ A similar festival was held in honour of
his fellow Semitic divinity, Poseidon,^ who was also almost
equally conspicuous for his raw-flesh-eating propensities.^
Euripides speaks of * the raving Satyrs ' as having * added
the dances of the Triennial Festivals in which Dionysos
rejoices ; ' ^ and Virgilius says of the deceived Dido, * she
rages with reason overthrown, and inflamed wanders
wildly (bacchatur) through the whole city t as a Thyiad^
aroused by the celebration of the sacred rites, when the
Triennial Orgies spur her on as she hears the cry of
Bacchus and Cithaeron at night calls her with uproar.' ^^
This Festival appears to have obtained widely through
Hellas, and was even carried into Skythia by Hellenik
colonists. ^^ It took place in winter, when Dionysos
Antheus, the Blooming, is dead and the earth is stripped
of its luxuriant vegetation.^^ As the fierce wind tears ofi*
the withering leaves, the frantic votaries can wildly

> Inf, IX. vi. « Sup'. rV. iii. 2.

« Protr^, iL 12. ® Cff Ais. Hept, epi The. 493 ;

* Bak. 130. Ilippomedon ' raves for fight like a

* Sup. rV. iii. 5. Thviad.'

* Vide inf. IX. vii. Indoletes. *^ Am. iv. 300-8.
« Find. Nem. vi. 69. " Herod, iv. 108.

' Cf. Diod. xi. 21 ; xiii. 86. « Cf. Oreuzer, Symboltk, iv. 187,

fl 2

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lament for the temporary suppression of that baae earth-
life which the Apostle styles psycJiikos} A Bakchik
devotee, either of the past or of the present, would rather
enter into swine ^ than be altogether divorced from

Subsection III. — Other Festivals of the God.

The ceremonies in honour of Dionysos Lampter at the
Athenian Anthesteria have already been noticed, and a
similar ritual prevailed in Sikyonia. During the Festival
of the Lampteria at Pellene the torch-bearing votaries
entered the temple at night and placed bowls of wine
throughout the city.* At Sikyon itself there was a mag-
nificent statue of the god, of ivory and gold, and near it
statues of Bakchai of white stone. The Sikyonians had
also other mysterious statues, evidently Kabeirik, which
on the eve of the annual festival of Dionysos Lampter,
they used to carry into his temple with lighted torches,
singing hjrmns. The chief of the procession of statues
was called Bakcheios, the Exciter-to-phrensy. ' Andro-
damas the son of Phlias dedicated this, and a statue
called Lysios follows, which Phanes the Theban, at the
bidding of the Pythia, brought from Thebai.' ^ Phlias,
we are told, was the ' son of Dionysos.' ® All this is
history, though not exactly in the simple sense in which
good Pausanias received it.^ Phlias, son of Dionysos, is
merely Dionysos in his phase as Phleon or Phloios, the

> Jude, 19. thrown adde as nothing but fiction.

" Of. inf, Vni. i. Chciropsalas, Both of these judgments are likely to

' Vide inf. VIII. i. Trieterikos. prove erroneous. Being sure that

* Paus. vii. 27. the momentum of reaction will carry

^ Ibid. ii. 7. ^ Ibid. 6. opinion too fer, we may conclude

^ ' After belief in classic legends that these legends are neither wholly

as entirely true, there comes repudia- true nor wholly untrue^* (H. Sgencer,

tion of them as entirely false : now The Principles of Soctoloffy, No. 40,

prized as historical fact, th«y are now Appendix).

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ftiUness or overflowing of the life or generative powers
of the world ; for Dionysos, as Pindaros notes, is ' lord
and first cause of the whole humid nature.' ^ So K. O.
Miiller observes, ' PhUas is nothing else than the country
[a part of Arkadia] personified, the name being derived
from phles orphlidas^ and signifying " damp," or " abound-
ing in springs," which appellation was full merited by the
nature of the spot. Hence PhUas was with more reason
called the son of Bacchus.' ^ Androdamas, the Man-
slayer, or Man-subduer, is either another phase of the
god, who as we have seen was truly a man-slaying
divinity, or a personification of the power which first
introduced the Bakchik ritual into Sikyonia. Andro-
damas, we are told, dedicated the statue of Dionysos as
the Exdter-to-phrensy, and Phanes the Theban brought
jfrom Thebai another statue of the god in his opposite
phase, Lysios the Soothing, or Delivering-from-care, the
Latin Liber. Phanes the Theban is only Dionysos again
in his familiar phase, as Phanes the Spirit-of-the-apparent;
and the whole account resolves itself into a relation of the
introduction of the Dionysiak cult fi'om Thebai, ' mother-
city of the Bakchai.' Bakcheios, Lysios, Phlias, Andro-
damas, Phanes, are all phases of the plastic and Protean
Dionysos ; and thus understood, the story is true history,
and aflbrds a good instance of that finer kind of Euemer-
isra against which no vaUd objection can be raised. The
symbolism of these Festivals has been already illustrated,
and the Dionysiak tragic choruses of Sikyon have also
been noticed.^ The Bakchik ritual at Korinthos was
very similar, and there was also a special festival of the
god at Patrai.*

In Ellis, as noticed,^ Dionysos was especially revered,

» Sup, III. i. 1. * Paus. vii. 19.

» Doric Race, i. 92. * Sup, subsec. ii,

» Sup, UI. i. 2.

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and I have already referred to the Elean Dionysiak
Festival of the Thyia, when empty wine-vessels were
mysteriously tilled, and also to the Elean worship of
Dionysos as Axiokersos.

Arkadia, also, had several special Bakchik Festivals,
one of the most remarkable of which was that held at
Kynaitha, when men, anointed with fat, carried on their
shoulders to his temple a bull, which Dionysos himself
was supposed to inspire them to select.^ The bull
apparently was a type of the god himself, whose tauric
connection is everywhere conspicuous. The inhabitants
of Kynaitha were noted for their wild and dissolute
character.^ At Alea, in north-eastern Arkadia, was
celebrated a Dionysiak Festival at which women were
scourged in the same manner as the Spartan youths
suffered in honour of Artemis Orthia.^ The cult of these
two savage divinities thus exactly corresponded. There
were also the Dionysia Arkadika, when the Arkadian
youth yearly celebrated the god with dances and games,
and songs chiefly taken from the two great dithyrambic
bards Philoxenos of Kythera, B.C. 435-380, and Timo-
theos of Miletos, B.C. 446-357. The Festival was held
in the theatre at Megalopolis, which was the largest in
Hellas;* and our chief authority on the subject is the
histori^^n Polybios, who was a native of the place,^ and
whose statue stood on a pillar in the forum.^ The
Festival is uninteresting in the present connection, since
possessing no great antiquity, it is not illustrative of the
nature and origin of the god. The two favourite Megalo-
politan Poets are comparatively modern, and the place
itself is almost the youngest of ancient Hellenik cities.^
Argolis, the stronghold of the Aryan Here, the bitter

» Paus. viii. 18. * Polyb. iv. 3.

« Polyb. iv. 3. « Paus. viii. 30.

» Paus. viii. 23. ' Of. Ibid. m. 27.
* Ibid. ii. 28; viii. 32.

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enemy of Dionysos as noticed, for a long time wholly
abstained from his worship.^ The contest between tlwe
rival cults is displayed in a lively manner in the mythic
history. Here smites Dionysos with madness,^ on which
he similarly afflicts the Argeian women for neglect of his
rites, according to Hesiodos.^ They are at length cured
by the wise seer Melampous, who, as we have seen, learnt
the Phoenician ritual of the god from Kadmos and his
companions ; * and who in the legend drives the frantic
Bakchik votaries over the border as for as Sikyon,^
which, as has been Just noticed, was a great Dionysiak
centre. Dionysos, who had similarly smitten Antiope at
Thebai for being connected with the punishment of his
votary Dirke,® emerges from the contest completely
triumphant, and his hierophant Melampous succeeds to
a third of the realm ; and so, in later times, the cult is
found firmly implanted in the country. Thus at Lerne
near Aigos, famous as having been the scene of the
mythic contest between Herakles and the Hydra, was
a celebrated Festival called the Lemaia, in honour of
Demeter, Persephone, and Dionysos, whose connected
worship I shall notice subsequently.^ The mythical
poet Philammon, who was said to have lived before the
time of Homeros, according to tradition first instituted
the Lemaian Mysteries, but they had been remodelled in
comparatively modern times. In the neighbourhood wa^
the Alkyonian, or Kingfisher's, Pool, through which,
according to Argeian local tradition, Dionysos descended
to Hades, to bring up Semele.^ The habits of the king-
fisher seem to be connected with the idea ; the beautiful
httle bird sits watching the surface of the water, until ' at
length, attracted by a floating insect, a fish rises to take

» 8up, IV. iii. 4. * Cf. Paus. ii. 18.

« ApoUod. iii. 6. • Paiw. ix. 17.

* Apud Apollod. ii. 2, ' Inf, sec. ii.

< Sup. V. V. 2. 8 Q/; ApoUod. iii. 5.

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the prize ; at that instant, like a shot, down descends the
glittering bird, the crystal water scarcely bubbling with
its plunge ; the next moment it re-appears, bearing its
victim in its beak.'^ There may, however, be other
allusions in the name which is also connected with the
Pleiad Alkyone, beloved by the Phoenician Poseidon.
This mysterious pool was about seventy feet in diameter,
and apparently circular in form ; it was reported to be
bottomless, Nero having in vain attempted to gauge the
depth, and to have an undercurrent which drew down
swimmers. Pausanias concludes his account of it by
remarking, * But of the Dionysiak rites which are yearly
performed by it at night it is not lawful for me to write
to all.'* Ploutarchos is less reticent, and seems to allude
to the Bakchik ritual of this mysterious lake in the
remarkable passage where he says, ' Among the Argeioi
the god is known by the name of the Ox-sprung Dionysos,
and they siunmon him by trumpet from the water, while
they throw down a lamb into the abyss to the Gate-
keeper,' i.e. Kerberos, or Aidoneus, as Pylartes Guardian-
of-the-gate, like Poseidon Pylaochos, ' and they conceal
the trumpets in thrysos-staves.' ^ The whole circum-
stance forms an exact and singular parallel to the account
of Herodotas of the similar Kamic ritual. ' Here, in this
precinct of Minerva [Neith] at Sais, is the burial-place of
one whom I think it not right to mention in such a con-^
nection. There are also some large stone obelisks in the
enclosure, and there is a lake near them adorned with an
edging of stone. In form it is circular, and in size, as it
seems to me, about equal to the lake in Delos called " the
Hoop." On this lake it is that the Egyptians represent
by night his sufferings whose name I refrain from men-
tioning, and this representation they call tlieir Mysteries.

' Martin, Pict, Museum, i. 297 ; « Paus, ii 37.

Go»8e, Nat. Hist. ii. 41). ' Peri Is. xxxy.

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I know well the whole course of the proceedmgs in these
ceremonies, but they shall not pass my lips. The
daughters of Danaus brought these rites from Egypt, and
taught them to the Pelasgic women of the Peloponnese.
Afterwards when the inhabitants of the peninsula were
driven from their homes by the Dorians, the rites
perished. Only in Arcadia, where the natives remained,
and were not compelled to migrate, their observance
continued.'^ It is just possible, but very highly impro-
bable, that the Dionysiak ritual of lake Alkyone was
copied in late historic times from the Kamic ceremonial
at Sa : we have, however, no reason to suppose that this
was the case, and Pausanias would doubtless have men-
tioned such a remarkable adoption ; but, on the contrary,
the whole context implies that the connection between
the god, the lake, and the locality generally, had existed
from ancient times. The Peloponnesos, according to
Herodotos, was impregnated before the Dorik invasion
with Kamic and Phoenician rites, and the former ritual
after this event perished, except in Arkadia. But this
statement must evidently be accepted with some modifica-
tion, for even admitting the historical character of the
invasion, it could in the nature of things have only pro-
duced a partial, not an absolute, alteration in religious
observances. This particular district of the Peloponnesos,
it is to be observed, was peculiarly connected with
Danaos, and not far distant was a spot called the Land-
ing-place, which was traditionally the exact locahty where
Danaos landed with his children.^ Now we have seen
that there are no sufficient reasons for beUeving that
Hellas received the Dionysiak ritual from Kam in very
early times,* but there is no real diffiiculty in the matter,
for, &s Mr. Gladstone observes, ' There is every reason to

» Herod, ii. 170-1. » Paiw. ii. 38.

' Sup. V. V. 4.

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suppose that Danaos was a Phoenician. That in the later
tradition he stands for an Egyptian is not to be wondered
at, when we consider how the two countries melted into
one another, in the view of the early Greeks, like a con-
cave line of bays upon a coast trending towards a distant
horizon ; and while Phoenician vessels were the channel
of communication, Phoenicia itself was, before the time
of the Troica, deeply charged with Egyptian elements.
M. Eenan has found a district in the neighbourhood of
Tripoli called Dannife or Dyanniyeh. Again, Pausanias
tells us that there stood at the reputed landing-place of
Danaos, on the Argive coast, a temple of Poseidon Gene-
sios, an association which at once assigns to that person-
age a Phoenician origin/ ^ This exact accordance between
the ritual of Argolis and Kam, the circular lakes, the
annual nightly celebration in honour of the suffering god,
its occult nature, and the pious reticence of Herodotos
and Pausanias, necessitates the identity of the two wor-
ships. Either the one was a copy of the other, or both
came from a common source ; but it would be ridiculous
to suppose that Sa copied Alkyone, and there is not the
least reason to ima^ne that Alkyone copied Sa. This
very ritual, Herodotos tells us, was introduced by the
daughters of Danaos centuries before his time ; and was
celebrated, says Pausanias, near the exact spot where
Danaos was said to have landed, and lastly Danaos him-
self proves to be a Phoenician. Whether there ever
really was any particular Phoenician immigrant of the
name is utterly unimportant; the historical fact which
the legend impUes is the truly important matter, and
here as everywhere we find fresh proof of the Oriental
character and of the identity of the various phases of
this suffering and mysterious divinity. The nature of
his sufferings has already been partly illustrated, and this

' JuveiUua Mundi, 130.

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portion of the myth will be again referred to.^ At
Larymna in Boiotia was a temple of the god near a some-
what similar lake.^

At Hermione in Eastern Argolis was *a shrine of
Dionysos Melanaigis. To this divinity musical contests
are yearly celebrated, and swimming and sailing matches
with prizes are established. And there is a temple of
Artemis surnamed Iphigenaia, and a bronze Poseidon
having one foot upon a dolphin.* * There was a tale con-
nected \Yith the Attik Festival of the Apatourea, so called
from apate^ * deceit/ that King Melanthos, who succeeded
Thymoites the last of the line of Theseus, when about to
engage in single combat with Xanthos, king of Boiotia,
pretended to see behind the latter a man clad in a black
goat-skin, melanaigis^ and when Xanthos turned round to
look, treacherously slew him. The epithet is also used
by Ploutarchos when describing dark red wine, and is
thus doubly connected with the god as relating both to
the wine and the wine-skin, and the Bakchik goat. But
from the somewhat singular circumstance that aquatic
contests took place in honour ot Dionysos, we may also
understand the term in the Aischylian sense as meaning
• Wrapped-m-dark-storms.* Dionysos seldom appears as
a distinctly marine divinity, except when regarded as a
stranger who has come to Hellas over the sea, but per-
haps we have here a representation of the sun above the
sea shrouded or surrounded with shaggy storm clouds, a
lurid Melikarthos,^ to whom the sailor sacrifices with
trembling heart. The sportive aquatic contests of Her-
mione, changed in nature and associations, may embody
the last recollections of the great western explorations of

» Inf, IX. vL gis Erinys/the Vedic Saranyu; Paus.

« Paus. IX. 23. I. 28; also Ais. Choe, 592; where

' Ilnd. ii. 35. aigU is equivalent to storm-blast.
^ Of. H^. epi The.m)',* Melanai- * Of. Sanchou. ii. 15.

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the Phoenician Sun-god and his followers ; ^ and it will
be noticed that when the Herakles of Hellas was identified
with the Herakles of Tzur, the son of Alkmene was made
to travel over the regions of Phoenician exploration,*
and so naturally came to be considered by the later
Pagans as a solar divinity whose Twelve Labours indicated
his passage through the zodiacal signs. Hard by the
shrine of Dionysos Melanaigis, stands the temple of his
grim consort Artemis Taurike, and also a third Oriental
divinity Poseidon, connected like Melikertes \fith the
dolphin. According to one legend, among other oppo-
nents of the Dionysiak cult in Argolis was the great
Argeian hero Perseus. This may at first sight seem
singular, inasmuch as he was the son of Danae, but
similarly Pentheus was the grandson of Kadmos, and as
will readily be acknowledged, it is very rarely that all
the members of a large family agree in their religious
opinions. If Perseus be a phase of the Aryan Sun-god,*
the myth still more clearly resolves itself into a contest
between the supporters of rival divinities. The Bakchik
host arrived in Argos, 'fix)m the islands of the Aigaion,'
and this invasion is distinct from that in the time of
Melampous before noticed, and which occurred about a
generation earlier according to mythic chronology. A
battle ensued, in which Dionysos was defeated, and many
of the Bakchai, including Ariadne, were slain. But this
victory was, like the ill-omened success of Lykourgos,
ultimately followed by the complete triumph of the
Dionysiak cult. Near Argos was ' the shrine of Dionysos
of Krete,' the country of the Minotauros. * They say that
after he had warred with Perseus, and had laid aside his
hostility, he was greatly honoured by the Argeians, and

« Vide m/ XI. i. « 'Pereeus, the Sun' (SchoL in

' Vidie George Smith, The Casiite' Lykophron).

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that this selected glebe was assigned to him. And it was
afterwards named the glebe of Kresios [the Kretan],
because he here buried Ariadne when she died. Near
the shrine of Dionysos is that of Aphrodite Ouranie.' ^
Dionysos is here again in close proximity to the Great
Goddess, Mother of the East, of whom Artemis Orthia,
who also had a temple in the neighbourhood,^ is only a
special phase.^ Another peculiar Argeian Festival in
honour of the god was called Turbe, Disorder ; * and its
character was similar to those Attik celebrations which
have been referred to.

In Lakonike * nothing is known of any sumptuous or
r^ular ceremonies in honour of Bacchus,' ^ but his wor-
ship, though in a minor degree, prevailed throughout the
country, and he had in the mythical period driven the
women frantic for resisting his cult^ Thus everywhere
in Hellas we meet with records of a similar struggle on
the introduction of the Dionysiak ritual, always or almost
always resulting in its ultimate triumph. On Mount
Larision, near Gythion, in early spring, a festival was

Online LibraryRobert BrownThe great Dionysiak myth → online text (page 22 of 38)