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celebrated to Dionysos, doubtless as Antheus the Bloom-
ing, the returning beauty and budding vigour of the
world. There was a tradition that the celebration was
instituted in consequence of a ripe grape having been
found on the mountain.^ At Sparta was a shrine of
Dionysos Kolonatas ; his priestesses the Dionysiades had
a special ritual, and virgins ran a race in his honour.®

No special Bakchic festival obtained in Messenia, but
various Dionysiak associations are connected with the
country. Thus at Korone was a temple and statue of the

> PauB. ii. 23; 8up. V. vi. • iElianus, Po^^'At J7t«f ortW, iil 42 ;

« Pfeus. ii. 24. Schol. in Aristoph, Om. 963; Eire.

» Vide m/, IX. iii. Table of Honied 1071 .

DivimtieB of the Phoenician "Pantheon, ' Paus. iii. 22.

* Paus. ii. 24 ; Muiler, Doric Bace, ^ Ibid. iii. 13 ; Hesych. in roc.

i. 418. Dionysiades.

^ Miiller, Doric Race, i. 418.



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270 THE GREAT DI0NY8IAK MYTH.

god,* and at Kyparissia was a fountain which sprang from
the ground when Dionysos struck the place with the
thyrsos.*

Connected with the Dionysiak cult were the two
Naxian Festivals, called Ariadneia, both in honour of
Ariadne, and representing her in that Janus-character
which, as we have seen, constantly appears in Dionysos.
One of these, in memory of her happiness, was Uvely and
cheerful ; the other, in memory of her woes, solemn and
mournful. She was also said to have died at Amathousios
in Kypros, where was a celebrated temple of Aphrodite,
and was there called ' Aphrodite Ariadne,' circumstances
illustrative of her Semitic character.^ The connection
between Dionysos and Naxos has already been noticed.*

At Lesbos, special ceremonies were performed in
honour of Dionysos Kephallen, or Of-the-head. * A face
made of oUve wood was drawn up from the sea in the
nets of the fishermen in Methymne : this appeared to
bear some resemblance to the divine, but was foreign and
not in accordance with Hellenik divinities. Wherefore
the Methymnaians asked the Pythia, of which of the gods
or heroes is the Ukeness ; and she commanded them to
revere Dionysos Kephallen. On this acx^ount the Methym-
naians keep among them the carved head from the sea,
and honour it with sacrifices and prayers.' ^

In Sikelia was celebrated a nocturnal Dionysiak

. Festival called Agrypnis, Sleepless, because the votaries

watched all night long.^ This is the Naxian cult of

Dionysos Nyktelios, the Nightly, alluded to by Sophokles.

There was also a Dionysiak Festival called the Seme-
leia, already noticed.^

Other Festivals of the god were the Theoinia, to him

» Pftufl. iv. 34. ^ Paiis. x. 19.

' Ibid. 36. ^ Heevcb. in voc. Agrypnis.

' Plout. TheseuB, ' Sup. III. i. 1.

* Suj}. II. i. 3.



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THE HELLENIK CULT OF DIONYSOS. 271

as the Wine-god ; the Neoinia, when the new wine was
tasted ; the lobacheia, which appears to have formed
part of the Eleusinian Eitual ; the Haloa, or Festival of
the Threshing-floor, a kind of Harvest Thanksgiving to
Demeter and Dionysos, as bestowers of the autumn-
plenty ; ^ and the Ambrosia, which was celebrated in the
month Lenaion in many parts of Hellas.^ Ambrosia,
the principle of inmiortality, is in Homeros the food of
the gods, and in later writers their drink. The Festival
may have merely honoured Dionysos as the Wine-god,
but it probably possessed a deeper significance, and his
votaries would doubtless adore him as the principle and
lord of vitaUty, Karpios, Antheus, and Erikepeios. There
was also a grand yearly Dionysiak Festival with games in
lonia.^

Lastly, the annual Bakchik Festival at Pamassos, the
connection between which place and Dionysos has been
already referred to,* must be noticed. *I was not
able to understand,' says Pausanias, ' on what account
Homeros calls Panopeus,' an ancient town near the
Boiotik frontier of Phokis, ' Kallichoros,^ until I was
informed by those Attik women who are called Thyiades.
The Thyiades are Attik women who roam wildly about at
Pamassos yearly, and they and the Delphik women hold
orgies to Dionysos ; and it is customary for these Thyiades,
along the road from Athenai and elsewhere, and among
the Panopeans, to perform circling dances ; and the appel-
lation of Homeros for Panopeus seems to have reference
to the choric ® dance of the Thyiades.' ^ ' KalHchoros,*
Famed-for-the-beautiful-dance, in the Homerik passage

* It is, however, to be observed * Schol. in Hes. Erg, kai Hem,

that halos also means the disk of the ' Strabo, xiv. 1.

sun or moon, and the festival may * Sup. TV, iii. 2.

have had a solar or lunar sigmificance. * Od. xi. 681.

Ais. HfpL fpi The. 484, uses the * Or ' circling.'

term of the vast round shield of ' Paus. x. 4.
Ilippomedon.



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272 THE GREAT DIONYSIAK MYTH.

in question, has been considered merely an Epik form
for kaUichoros^ having-beautifiil-places, like eurychoros,
'spacious,' an Homerik epithet of great cities, for
eurychSros. This may be so, but the term was not so
understood by Pausanias, himself a profoimd student of
Homeros, and the circumstance he mentions throws a
singular light on the passage. There is nothing at all
unnatural in the supposition that dances in honour of
ApoUon or Dionysos, or both, may have been celebrated
along the road from Thebai, sufficiently early to be
noticed by the author of the Odysseia. The sacred
spring of Demeter at Eleusis was called Kallichoros,^ the
Fount-of-the-beauteous-dance, and it is quite possible that
the passage may contain a distinct Homerik allusion to
the Dionysiak cult. * The peaks of Pamassos are above
the clouds, and on them the Thyiades rave to Dionysos
and ApoUon; ' * as Euripides says, ' You shall see Diony-
sos on the Delphik rocks bounding with torches upon the
double-peaked hill top, brandishing and shaking the
Bakchik branch, and mighty in Hellas.' '

Such were the principal non-theatrical Festivals of
Dionysos in Hellas, and their combined significance
cannot be ipistaken. They were in honour of no simple
Wine-god, and represented no mere rustic merriment, but
almost all exhibit more or less strongly a Semitic character,
and thus harmonise with the portraiture of the son of
Semele left us by the Theologers, the Lyric and Tragic
Poets, and Herodotos. We will next view the god as he
appears in other phases of the home hfe of his adopted
country.

» Horn. Hymn, eis Dem. 273 ; Paua. ^ Paiw. x. 32.»

88. » Bah, 30e-9.



^ Orote, when speaking of the Dionysiak ritnal, etmngi^ mys, * It deacnroB to be remarked
that the Athenian vomen never pradUed these periodical mountain excursions^ so common among
the rert of the Greeks.' {Hisl. <^ Greece, i. 30).



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THE HELLENIK CULT OF DIONYSOS. 273

SECTIOK IL
DIONYSOS AT ELEUSIS.

Subsection 1. — The Legend of the Bomerik Hymn.

Having noticed the more remarkable of the Dionysiak
Festivals of ancient Hellas, we come next to the consid-
eration of the place which the god occupies in the mystical
Eleusinian cult of Demeter and Persephone, the Mother
and the Daughter, its meaning and significance, and the
causes which led to the union of the ritual of the three
divinities. Let us first inspect the l^end of the Two
Goddesses, as presented with beautiful simpHcity in the
ancient Homerik Hymn. The rites of Eleusis have been
the mystery of mysteries, and the crux of investigators,
who, by various illogical suppositions, have infinitely
added to the difficulties which necessarily beset the sub-
ject ; but, be it remembered, that if we fairly grasp the
meaning of the concepts, Demeter, Persephone, and
Dionysos, we can have no serious difficulty in compre-
hending the character of their cults, considered either
separately or in union. As the Christian religion stands
revealed in its Foimder, so the ritual of Eleusis is but an
Dlustration of the nature of the Eleusinian divinities, for
the supposition that the votaries there initiated in earlier
times, whilst they were supposed to worship the powers
of the place in reahty adored something else, e.g. the one
merely God, may be permanently set aside as being not
only in itself intrinsically improbable, but also entirely
unsupported by any real evidence.^ We may not be able

' Vide the searching examination of recesses of the temple, and made

Lobeck, AglaophamuSf in voc. Eleusi- acquainted with the first principles of

nia. According to Payne Knight, *the rehgion, as the knowledge of the God

initiate was admitted into the inmost of Nature, the first, the supreme, the

T



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274 THE GREAT DIONYSIAK MYTH.

to see all that the Epopts saw, we may be ignorant of
certain questions addressed to them, we may even doubt
as to the meaning of the celebrated words of dismissal,
Konx Om Pax ; but as to the main gist and significance
of the spectacle of Eleusis we need entertain no imcer-
tainty whatever. It will be remembered that the Eleu-
sinian Mysteries are only noticed here so far as is neces-
sary to explain and illustrate the part which Dionysos
bears in them.

The Homerik Hymn tells how Persephone, the
daughter of Zeus and Demeter, was gathering flowers
with the daughters of Okeanos in the pleasant Nydan
Meadow near the Ocean-stream^^ when the earth clave
asunder, and Aides Polydegmon , the Many-receiving,
bore her away in his chariot to the unseen Under-world ;
while she shrieked in vain to Zeus for aid. Her mother,
Hekate, daughter of Perses, and Helios, heard her cry,
and the latter told the sorrowing Demeter of the fate and
destiny of her child, whom for nine long days she sought
o'er land and sea with lighted torches in her hands. At
last the Goddess came to Eleusis, and being wearied, sat
by the well, to which the fair daughters of Keleos came to
draw water. They spoke kindly to her, and she went
with them to their father's house, where she remained
many days, and nursed his infant son Demophoon, and
soothed her mind with the jests of lambe. At last she
revealed her divinity, and ordered the Eleusinians to build
her a mighty temple near the well Kallichoros, promising
to teach them secret sites.^ But the still-grieving Goddess
sat down apart from the blessed gods, and restrained the

intellectual.* Oreuzer and De Sacy ik civilization/ &c. This last feature

thought that he beheld symbohc was doubtless brought forward, and

representations of the Kosmogony, all the others may have been in later

origin of thingp, wanderings and puri- timei.

tications of the soul, destiny of the * Vide inf, IX. viii.

world and of man, * the origin and *' Orgia.

progre«»sof agrictiltureandthe Hellen-



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THE HELLENIK CULT OF DIONYSOS. 275/

fruitfulness of earth, so that it gave forth no seed, and
mankind were in danger of perishing. In vain Zens sent
all the gods, one after another, to summon Demeter to
Olympos to soften her anger by gifts ; and so at last he
ordered Hemaes to seek the Under-world, and induce
Aidoneus to permit his bride Persephone to return to the
upper air. Nor did the King of the Dead disobey, but
summoned the chariot, and Hermes drove the daughter
to her mother ; but ere she went Polyd^mon gave her
secretly the seed of a pomegranate, which she ate, a deed
which compelled her to return to the dark kingdom.^
Demeter threw her arms around her recovered child, and
Zeus granted that Persephone should spend two-thirds of
the revolving year with her mother and the other im-
mortals, and but a third in the gloom of the Under- world.
And happy Demeter made the wide earth bring forth
abundantly, till it was weighed down with leaves and
flowers, and she showed Keleos, and Triptolemos, and
Eumolpos, and others her Eleusinians, her sacred rites,
*^hich it is in no wise lawfiil either to neglect or to
enquire into or to utter, for mighty religious awe of the
gods restrains the voice. Happy is he whosoever of
mortal men has seen these things ; he who is uninitiated
in the sacreds, and he who is a partaker of them, have by
no means the like fate, when dead, beneath the dreary
darkness.' ^ These lines sound somewhat like additions
to the original Hymn, but at all events their sentiment
undoubtedly belongs to an early period ; for Pindaros,^
when speaking of the Eleusinian Mysteries, exclaims: —

Happy who these rites hath kenned
Ere beneath the ground he goeth ;

Well he knoweth of life's end ;

Well it's god-given source he knoweth.

* Vide tw/. VITI.ii. Pmnegranate, Alex. Strom. III. 3,
« Verses 478-82. * Oonington.

^ Threnoij Frag. vii. apud Clem.

T 2



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276 THE GREAT DIONYSIAK MYTH.

Such being the simple and beautiful story of the ancient
Hymn/ let us briefly consider the nature of the Two
Gtoddesses as indicated in it.

I. Demeter. — Ge-Meter, or the Earth-Mother, repre-
sents, as already noticed,' the earth in a state of compara-
tive order and civilisation, Kosmos as opposed to Chaos,
and as such is Thesmophoros, the Law-giver, the esta-
blisher of agriculture, marriage, and the ordinary arts of
life. As such, she is opposed to Gaia, the Earth in the
abstract, but also, especially, as comparatively chaotic and
of colossal size, the Assyrian Anatu. The earlier and
more shadowy divinities are generally of huge size, as
corresponding with the natural phenomena and principles
of ontolc^ which they represent. Such are the god-
conquered Giants and Titanes, nine-acre-covering Tityos,
and others.^ In honoiu* of Demeter Thesmophoros was
celebrated in various parts of Hellas, and especially at
Athenai, the great Festival of the Thesmophoria, which
lasted for three days, and was commenced by a procession
of women carrying on their heads the sacred laws of
Demeter, and various symbols of civilised life, fix)m
Athenai to Eleusis, where they spent the night in the
celebration of the secret rites. The second day they
mourned and fasted around the statue of the Goddess, and
on the third day made merry and rejoiced. The whole
ritual typified the advent of Demeter to Eleusis, her
melancholy and the institution of mystic ceremonies, then
the success of lambe in soothing and amusing the Goddess,
and the joyfiil conclusion of the rape of Persephone. The

* Another and somewhat similar ^ Of. Pans. x. 4. The worthy Pausa-

account of the grief and wanderings nias occasionally displays a traveller's

of Demeter is ^ven in a prohably appetite for the marveUous. lie

spurious and corrupt Chorus of the quotes with great respect a story of

Hdene of Eurijjides, vv. 1301-68. one Kleon who Aac? ««w near Q*deira

Vide inf, XII. i. 1, the legend of (Gadee) the body of a marine man-

Jshtar descending to Hades. monster, more than 500 feet long.

» Sup, UI. i. 3.



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THE HELLENIK CULT OF DIONTSOS. 277

l^endary teaching of Demeter, then, comprised the r^u-
lation of agriculture a great basis of civilisation, marriage,
and those arts universally admitted in all communities
which have risen above a low savage state; and this being
so, it is evident that the mysteries of the Goddess would
necessarily and naturally have special relation to these
matters. But it is also evident that the initiated were
supposed to obtain certain peculiar advantages after
death ; for the immense majority of mankind have ever
beheved that death was not annihilation. These advan-
tages the pious Epopts and Mystics hoped to enjoy by
virtue of their godliness, or conformity to the will of the
gods ; the godliness which has promise of the life to come
as well as of that which now is, for it is a most legitimate
deduction that if the god-fearer is specially blessed in this
life, he will also be specially blessed hereafter. The
initiated, therefore, as peculiarly confiding in the power,
submitting to the will, and endeavouring to draw near to
the presence of divinity, were by themselves, and by the
god-fearing generally, considered as truly happy, and as
entitled to look forward with confidence to their future
lot either in this world or another. This knowledge and
state of mind was undoubtedly that of the pious votaries
of Eleusis, for the idea that high and occult dogmas and
esoteric truths relating to the origin of nature and earlier
history of the world, and also to man's future destiny and
the fate of all things, had been handed down from age to
age, precious relics of primeval wisdom, has to a great
extent crumbled away under a severe investigation.^

> 'Bishop Thirlwall is contented to doctrine, religious or nhilosopMcal,

express a doubt wheUier the Greek was attached to the Mysteries, or

Mysteries were ever used for the ex- contained in the hol^ stories of any

positionoftheological doctrines differ- priesthood of the ancient world. If

ing from the popular creed. Mr. oy this recondite teaching be meant

Grote*s conclusion is more definite, doctrines relating to the nature of.

In his judgment it is to the last de- God and the Divine government of

gree improbable that any recondite the world, their judgments may per-



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278 !tHE GREAT DIONYSIAK MYTH.

Marriage, involving as it does the ideas and mystery of
sexual difference and of reproduction, formed a second
important element in the cult of Eleusis ; while agricul-
ture, espedaUy the operations of sowing and reaping, the
disappearance and death of the grain, and its reappear-
ance in a new and beautiful form, bearing testimony to
the triumph of life over decay, supplied the third. These
three ideas or principles, (1) the innocent and cheering
victory of life in the material world around, (2) marriage,
with its adjuncts and suggestions, and (S) reverence for
the will of the gods, producing order in this life and good
hope for the future, i.^., a hope of the ultimate peaceful
triumph of the soul or Ego, include all the original
phases and subsequent developments of the innocent
Eleusinian cult of the Earth-mother, and comprise the
materials for her orgies or secret rites. Her particular
phase, as representing the orderly and cultivated earth, is
indicated with a subtle beauty by the epithets Euplo-
kamos Having-goodly-locks, and Kallistephanos Beauti-
fully-crowned, and that this alludes to the ripe and waving
yellow com we know, for the Goddess is also Xanthe
the Golden-haired. ^

n. Persephone ^The second personage in the story,

the Daughter, or the Awful Damsel, is a far more occidt
and mysterious concept than her Mother. And first,
IIS to her name and its meaning ; it appears in many
forms, as Persephoneia in the Homerik Poems, Per- or
Phersephassa or -phatta, Proserpina, etc., and the ordinary
etymology which was accepted by the Hellenes them-
selves, and which explained the name as signifying Death-
bringer, is utterly inappropriate and inadmissible.* It is

haps be in accordance with fact.' the Kratylos : — ' Phersephone means

( mytJiology of the Atyan Nations, ii. only that the goddess is wise (<ro^^) ;

i 20). for seeing that all things in the world

* Cf. Juv. Mundi, 262. -are in motion (d>€pofup»v)f that prin-

' The following is a specimen of ciple which embraces and touches and



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THE HELLENIK CULT OF DIONYSOS. 279

quite possible, but not perhaps very probable, that the
word may be an adaptation from a foreign language;
and numerous interpretations have been suggested, none
of which seem entitled to acceptance.^ Mythology will
be found to give considerable assistance in the matter.
Thus, with respect to the first part of the name. Perse
is the wife of Helios and the daughter of Okeanos;*'^
Perseis is a name of Hekate, as the daughter of the Titan
Perses, husband of Asteria, the Starry-heaven ; Perseus is
the solar hero, son of Zeus, in the form of a gleaming
golden shower, and his son Perses is the mythic sire of
the Persians,* the lords of the sun-stricken plains of the
East.'* It is evident, therefore, that the name is connected
with heavenly and solar brightness and splendour, all the
personages, male and female, who bear it being found in
this assomtion. Phatta or Phassa reminds us of Eury-
phassa, the Widely-shining-one,^ or the Widely-apparent-
one;* and similarly Phone or Phoneia seems aiin to
Phanes, the Spirit-of-the-apparent, and* a well-known
epithet of Dionysos. The name Persephone would there-
fore seem to signify the Apparent-BrDliance, that is, the
visible beauty-splendour of the material world. Let us
see how this interpretation harmonises with the position
of the Daughter in the Myth. She is the child of Zeus,
the All-father and broad, bright heaven, and Demeter,
the beautiful earth, in orderly cultivation, and is playing
with her companions, the daughters of Okeanos, in the

is able to follow them, is Wisdom, the discovery of fruits/ (apud S.

And therefore the Goddess may he AugustiD, De Civ. Dei^ vii. 20).

truly called Pherepaphe, or something * Of. Ileindorf, Plato> KratyL^ 404j

of that sort, hecauses she touches Oreuzer, SymbQltk, iv. 333 et seq,

that which is in motion, &c.' This » 0<f. x. 139.

way Neo-platonik madness lies. Ac- • Herod, vii. 61,160.

coifding to Varro, * Proeerpine signi- * Of. Juv, Mxmd. 310.

fies the fecundity of seeds, from ' Oi, Mtfthol, of the Aryan NtUiomy

mnmerpere, to creep forth^ to. spring. L 417 ; ii. 38.

Many things fure taught in tiie Mys- " Of. Phamiaj that which appearsy

teries of Ceres whidi only refer to hence an appai:itioo.



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280 THE GREAT DIONTSIAK MYTH.

pleasant meadow of Nysa, that wonderful Nysa that
meets us everywhere m the Dionysiak myth, when she is
snatched to tibe Under- world by Aifdoneus Polydegmon,.
the Many-receiver. Aidoneus is a perfectly distinct con-
cept from Zagreus, the Many-guest-receiving Zeus of the
dead, but the idea is precisely the same in both cases ;
each is King of the Under- world, and as such each receives
into his dark domains the falling leaf, the sinking splen-
doiu*, and the ' multitude of them that sleep in the dust
of the earth,' called euphemistically ' the greater number.'
And who are the daughters of the all-fostering Okeanos,
' source of Deities ? ^ for if people's characters are to
be determined to a great extent by the company they
keep, should we succeed in ascertaining who are the
playmates of Persephone, we shall derive material assist-
ance respecting Persephone herself. Twenty-one names
are given, for the Une which represents Pallas and Artemis
as being of the party may be unhesitatingly rejected.
Among them we find Leukippe, White-horse-rider, an
epithet of Persephone herself; ^ Phaino, the Apparent ; '
Mektre, Beaming-female-sun;* lanthe, Violet-coloured;
Melite, Sweet-one ; lakche, apparently a female reflection
of the ' two-natured lakchos ; ' Eodeia, Eosy ; KaUiroe,
Sweet-flowing ; Okyroe, Swift-flowing ; Chryseis, Golden ;
Ouranie, Heavenly-one; and Galaxure, nymph of the
Galaxy, or Milky-way, the Assyrian * river of night ; ' and
the whole band, with the exception perhaps of lakche and
Tyche or Fortuna, the mysterious power that appears to
govern human aflairs, a purely mental concept, introduced
here^ to complete the happy picture, represent the brilliant,
beaming, flowing, pleasing, grateful, colour-splendours of

* //. xiv. 201. Pausanias, quoting this passage, 'as
^ Pindar. Oi, vi, 160. far as 1 am aware, to make mention
« Of. Phanes. of Tyche' (Pans. iv. 80). She is

* Of. EUktor. generally Qood Fortune, and so S6t^,
« 'Homeros was the first,* says the Saviour (Ais. -4^. 664).



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THE HELLENIK CULT OF DIONYSOS. 281

earth beneath and heaven above, children of the light,
and, with one or two exceptions, of the day, for it is dark
. Night that robs the world of colour, and even she is con-
quered by 'lovely GWaxure.' It will now be evident
that Persephone or Apparent-BriUiance is the protagonist
of the lovely Chorus, being their combination or epitome,
and as such, she, and she only, is snatched away by the
dark king ; in taking her he took them all. From the
happy fertile earth and the beautiful benignant heaven,
the bestower of bright sunshine and the refreshing rain,
springs the green earth-mantle, chequered with the hues
and perftuned with the odours of all flowers, expanding
smilingly beneath the bright beams of Phoibos Apollon,
' a thing of beauty and a joy for ever,' for Persephone is
the glad light and life of the apparent world around, that
bursts forth, and dies, and rises in immortal being and
glory, no mere Phanes or earthly spirit of material visi-



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