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cidedly gaining ground. In this the present enquiry.

Tiew, after considering the arguments ^ //. vi. 123 et ieq.
of Wolf and his foUowers, and of



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16 THE GREAT DIOXYSIAK MYTH.

With him [Lykourgos] the gods who live in ease were after-
wards enraged,
And the Son of Kronos made him blind : nor truly much longer
•Did he live, since he was hated by all the immortal gods.
Neither should I wish to fight with the blessed gods.

Chapman translates : —

If heav'n be thy divine abode,
And thou a Deity thus inform'd, no more with any God
Will I change lances. The strong son of Dryus did not live
Long after such a conflict dar'd, who godlessly did drive
Nysaeus' nurses through the hill made sacred to his name,
And called Nysseius; with a goad he punch'd each furious

dame.
And made them ev'ry one cast down their green and leavy

spears.
This th' homicide Lycurgus did ; and those ungodly fears,
He put the frees in, seiz'd their God. Ev'n Bacchus he did

drive
From his Nysseius ; who was fain, with huge exclaims, to dive
Into the ocean. Thetis there in her bright bosom took
The flying Deity ; who so fear'd Lycurgus' threats, he shook.
For which the freely-living Gods so highly were incens'd,
That Saturn's great Son strook him blind, and with his life

dispens'd
But small time after ; all because th' Immortals lov'd him not,
Nor lov'd him since he striv'd with them ; and his end hath

begot
Fear in my pow'rs to fight with heav'n.

The first question which arises on this very remark-
able legend is. Whether it should be treated as an addition
to the original poem, an interpolation of a much later
date ? There appears to be nothing special in the phrase-
ology to point to such a conclusion, nor have these lines
generally been included amongst the more doubtful pas-
sages of the llias. But to the view of their genuineness,
it has been objected that the whole speech and its senti-



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THE DIONYSOS OF THE THEOLOGERS. 17

ments are glaringly opposed to the character and conduct
of Diomedes, who had shortly before contended triumph-
antly againfit two of the immortals, Aphrodite and Ares,
and had even rushed undaimtedly upon Aineas when
under the immediate and visible protection of Apollon
himself. The careful reader of the Homerik Poems will,
however, be struck by the perfect harmony of the whole
representation and the wonderful consistency of the
author.^ Diomedes pursues Kypris because Athene has
ordered him to do so,^ and because he knows her to be
a strengthless divinity.® Encouraged by this success, he
is emboldened to oppose Apollon, but receives a terrible
check, and is reminded of the dissimilarity of the races
of men and of gods.* He retires appalled, and Athene,
afterwards finding him at some distance from the fight,
chides him as being inferior to Tydeus, his sire, and urges
him to attack Ares with her immediate personal assistance,
by means of which he escapes death, and wounds the god.^
The powers of Diomedes has been much overvalued alike
by the timid Helenos,^ who was suitably promoted in
mediaeval times as Bishop of Troy, and by many moderns.
Throughout the whole episode the Argeian warrior is
merely the instrument of Athene, his fetther's patroness;^
and she, having returned to the abode of Zeus,® the son
of Tydeus, is naturally very undesirous to fight with the
gallant Glaukos until assured that the latter is a mortal
like himself. ApoUon's warning is yet ringing in his ears,
and he bethinks him of the fate of Lykourgos. It would
have been a strange artistic blunder had the poet really per-

^ Aocordinff to some writers, if ' J7. t. 182.

tbe Poems exLilntanyinconsiBtency, ' II. v. 330.

the circumstance is proof positive of ^ H. t. 441.

diTersitj of authorstdp ; but if they ^ Of. Ruskin, Queen of the Air,

are consistent, then the circumstance i. 36.

shows iiiat tiiey have been artifi- ® i/. vL 96.

dallj harmonised. Thus there is no ^ IL iy. 390.

escape. * Here Papists swing, there ® H. v. 907.
Protestants are burnt.'



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18 THE GREAT DIONYSIAK MYTH.



mitted any Hellenik hero seriously to vie with his protago-
nist Achillens, *much the best of the Achaioi;' and in the
hour of their deepest distress the son of Peleus scornfully
observes that Diomedes, by some erroneously supposed to
be his rival in warlike prowess, cannot save them.^ These
considerations, which in the main did not escape the
ancient commentators, illustrate the perfect propriety of
the introduction of the Episode of Lykourgos by Diomedes
at the particular place and time in which it appears,
and thus being satisfied that the passage is of equal
authority and antiquity with its immediate siu'roundings,
we may next proceed to consider its statements.

And first, it is no Ogygian legend of remote antiquity
which is referred to by the king of Argos. Nestor, in his
youth, had personally known Dryas, the father of Lykour-
gos, and classes him among that band of heroes, Peirithoos,
Kaineus, Exadios, and Polyphemos, king of the Lapithai,
whom the old man declares were superior to all men
whom he had seen or was likely to see.^ Hence the inci-
dent is represented as having taken place in times then
comparatively recent. We next notice the extraordinary
deUneation of the god, the reahty of whose divinity is at
the same time most fully acknowledged ; he is represented
as a terrified child, or even infant, and yet as having
allies or protectors so powerful that the opposition of
Lykourgos is hopeless, and his temporary success only the
more delusive. Zeus, god amongst gods, acknowledges
the raving stranger as his son,® and personally avenges
him with the fiill assent of the other divinities ; and the
strong son of the mighty Dryas, and his fellow-suffSerer,
Pentheus, remain for ages as monuments of the wrath and
pow^r of Dionysos.* Dionysos flies to Thetis, ' the recon-

* iZ. xvi. 74. * Cf. Ais. Lykourgeia\ Soph. At^

« //. i. 263. tig. 955 ; Eur. Rhesos, 972.

» //. xiv. 325.



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THE DIONYSOS OF THE THEOLOGERS. 19

dler between the conflicting creeds,' ^ who, in like manner,
'received to her bosom '^ another Oriental divinity, He-
phaistos, when, like Dionysos, a temporary outcast from
Aryan regions.* The son of Semele requites the kind-
ness of Thetis by the gift of the golden urn in which the
bones of Achilleus were placed, and which was made by
hb brother Semite Hephaistos.* It will be observed
that Dionysos is not expressly stated to be, but is repre-
sented as if he were, a child or infant. Here are two
distinct ideas (1) that of the god as youthful, in conse-
quence of his cult being yet of recent introduction ; and
(2) that of the god as ever fresh and young as connected
with all green and growing things,^ as representative of the
powers of reproduction and resurrection, as Orthagoras *
and Erikapeios, in a word, as the * puer aeternus,' ^ or
Ever- Youth. The Thrakian Edonoi, over whom Lykour-
gos is said to have ruled, were celebrated for their devotion
to the Dionysiak cult,^ and, as Niebuhr notes, 'fthe south- — ^
em coast of Thrace is one of the countries in which the —
nobler kinds of wine were produced at a very early . — '
period.' * As to the most holy mount of Nysa, we shall -^
find that wherever the Bakchik cult prevailed, whether
in Thrake, Boiotia, Euboia, Naxos, or elsewhere, this
name is found,^** and that, therefore, it is not originally
connected with any particular Hellenik locahty.^^ Such
being the principal incidents of this remarkable myth,
how is it to be understood ? It may be boldly affirmed
that the legend is inexpUcable unless received historically,
i.e.j that it more or less truthfully commemorates certain
actual historical facts ; which are (1) the foreign, i.e.^

^ GladB. Juv. Mtm, 838. « Aristoph. Ek, 916:

* iZ. vL 136 ; XTiii. 808. ' Ovid. Md;am. iv. 17.

* Cf: n, xviii. 393 et $eg. ; Posei- • Of. Hor. Oir. ii. 7.

don, xiv, • Lectures upon Ancient Etkno*

* Od, xxiv. 74. ffrap^yy i. 283.

» Vide m/. VIII. L; Dendrites, '^ Vide ir^. VUI. i. Nysios.
Karpios, Kisseus, &c. " Ibid. IX. viiL

c2



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20 THE GREAT DIONYSIAK MYTH.

non-Hellenik, origin of Dionysos ; (2) the introduction of
his cult into the West; and (3) the violent but unsuccess-
ful opposition which it excited. Whether Lykourgos was a
real or an imaginary king of the Edonoi, or of any other
kindred or neighbouring tribe, or whether, as has been
conjectured, the name is that of a rival native deity
' worshipped perhaps with phaUic rites like the Eoman
Luperci,' ^ is quite immaterial ; the purport and general
bearing of the legend cannot be mistaken. I am not aware
that anyone has attempted to explain it by the aid of the
Natural Phenomena Theory, but any such attempt, if made
would be about as rational as the Assertion that the cam-
paigns of Kudurlagamer* represent astronomical allegories.
Colonel Mure, who somewhat arbitrarily transfers the scene
of the tale to Boiotia, very properly regards Lykourgos
as * a type of the resistance offered to the spread of those
extravagant (Bakchik) orgies/^ Mr. Gladstone remarks,
' What is most clear about Dionusos in Homer is, first,
that his worship was extremely recent ; secondly, that it
made its appearance in Thrace ; thirdly, that it was
violently opposed on its introduction, a fact of which we
have other records, as, for example, in the Bakchae of
Euripides ;'* and even Mr. C!ox admits that ' the opposi-
tion of the Thrakian Lykourgos and the Theban Pentheus
to the cultus of Dionysos is among the few indications of
historical facts exhibited in Hellenik mythology.'* Li
this brief Homerik sketch the god appears, somewhat as
we are accustomed to see him in the Attik dramatists,
as Bakcheios the Exciter-to-phrensy, accompanied by his
attendant Bakchai (not the Nj^nphs his nurses), with their
Thysthla or sacred implements, not merely the ThyrsoL
The drcimistance, however, affords no propf of the

> Mr. F. A. Paley, in loc. * Juv. Mun, 319.

» Oen, xiv. * Mythol, of the Atyan Nation^

* Crit. Hist, i, 151. ii. 21>4.



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THE DIOXYSOS OF THE THEOLOGERS, 21

spurious character and comparatively late date of the
passage ; but, on the contrary, illustrates at once the
antiquity of Bakchik worship, and the fidelity with
which earlier traditions were preserved to later ages.
Nor, again, can it be said, that the pristine cult of the
god was merely that of Dionysos Theoinos, giver of wine
and lord of the vine, and that on this primitive Aryan idea
the Semitic orgies of the East were grafted. Homeros is
quite innocent of any such notion. It is not to an Aryan
Dionysos metamorphosed into a Semitic Sabazios that
the ruler of the Edonoi objects, but to Dionysos alto-
gether, in origin and in growth. Again, the Dionysos of
the Ilias in no way differs from the Dionysos of the
Homerik Hymns. The god of each is the son of a
Eadmeian, t.^.. Oriental, not of a Boiotik, mother ; is
connected with the mysterious Nysa ; is supposed to be
weak, but in reality is most potent ; is opposed and in-
sulted, and terribly avenged. In each case his would-be
oppressors are smitten with blindness; not the mystic
blindness of the great poets and prophets, Teiresias,
Thamyris, and others, but the blindness of Pentheus,
which is unable to foresee the coming vengeance of the
god, that heaven-sent mania under the impulses of which
the guilty wretch fulfils his doom, according to the
familiar saying, * Quem vult perdere Deus prius demen*
tat.' And so, we do not find Lykourgos represented in
other legends as having been physically bUnded, but
merely has having been smitten with Bakchik madness,
in which state he kills his son Dryas, supposing that
he was pruning vines.^ Such, then, are the principal
features in the Episode of Lykourgos ; other points, more
or less connected with it, I shall have occasion to notice
again m the course of the enquiry ; but let the reader
always bear in mind the important fact which will receive

' Apollod. iii. 5.



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22 THE GREAT DIONYSIAK MYTH.

ample confirmation as we proceed, and which is set forth
with unanswerable force by this the earliest of Helleniko-
Dionysiak l^ends, altered and trimmed as it may have
been from time to time by rhapsodist or grammarian,
that Dionysos in origin is a non-Hellenik divinity, whose
whole cult breathes of that Semitic East where first it
originated.

Subsection TL — Dionysos, son of Semele.

In Ilias, xiv. 317-27, a passage which, although
probably of genuine antiquity, is yet not quite beyond
the reach of suspicion, having been doubted, amongst
others, by some of the Alexandrine critics ; Zeus gives a
list of some of his most illustrious children and their
mothers. Amongst these occur, side by side, the two
Theban divinities Herakles and Dionysos, the former son
of Alkmene, the latter of Semele. Both gods are stated
to have been bom in Thebai, and Semele is mentioned in
a Homerik Hymn^ as one of the family of Kadmos, who
himself is only directly alluded to in the Poems on the
occasion where Odysseus is assisted by his daughter, the
once mortal but afterwards deified Ino Leukothee.^ The
inhabitants of the Thebais, however, are called Kadmeioi
and Kadmeiones,* after Kadmos, their reputed ancestor.
* I loved Semele in Thebai,' says Zeus, * and she bore
Dionysos, a-som-ce-of-joy to mortals.' The Episode of
Lykourgos had left us in ignorance of the race of Diony-
sos, but this important passage hnks him with the house
of the Phoenician Kadmos, and the mystic City of the
Seven Gates ; in other words, with the Semitic East. As
to the legend of Kadmos, which Bunsen truly calls * a
wonderftil myth,' suffice it to say here that the unanimous

» £{8 Dumyson, v. 67. inf, VI. i. 2.

« Od, V. 333. As to Ino, Tide « H. iv. 385 etseq.-, v. 804 e< seq.



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THE DIONTSOS OF THE THBOLOGERS. 23

voice of antiquity describes him ias an Oriental stranger,
Phoenician or Egyptian, the founder of the legendary
Thebai ; nor does the Homerik version differ from others,
for Zethos and Amphion founded the lower City, Hypo-
thebai,^ described as Eurychoros, Spacious,^ like Sparte ;
whUe Kadmos founded the Upper Qty, or comparatively
small Kadmeia. Homeros distinguishes, as Pausanias
observes,* between the Lower City and the Kadmeia.*
That this tradition contains very important historic truth,
sound modem opinion, in harmony with the universal
beUef of antiquity, admits.^ Dionysos, therefore, in
Homerik mythic genealogy, is a Phoenician by the
mother's side, and adopted by the Aryan Zeus, into
whose realm he has penetrated. But he is also said to be
* a-source-of-joy to mortals,' and tlie wonderful propriety
of this description will only become apparent when we
fully realise his various phases. Once for all, let me
caution the reader against simply regarding Dionysos as
Theoinos the Wine-god, and supposing that he is merely
a source of joy as making glad the heart of man with the
juice of the grape. This would, indeed, be a sadly in-
complete concept of the son of Semele. As well might
we suppose that Zeus was naught but Ombrios, the Kain-
god, or Poseidon only Kyanochaites, the Lord-of-the-
dark-blue-sea. Moreover, all the aspects of Dionysos
Theoinos are by no means joyful, since wine has a double
influence, producing, on the one hand, happiness and ex-
hilaration, and, on the other, misery and madness. The
Wine-god might thus have been properly represented as

» U. ii. 605. V. 57 ; Oreuzer, St/mbolik, iv. 236;

« Od. xL 263. Mure, Ont. Hist. iii. 499 ; RawUn-

* PauB. ii. 6. son, Herod, ii. 7S ; Lenormant, La

* Vide inf. X. ii. Ugende de Cadmus, and Ancient

* CI Niebuhr, Ancient Ethno- Hist, of the East, ii. 169, 204; Glad-
graphy, i. 114; Kenrick, Phoenicia, stone, Juv. Mun. 122; Grote, Hist.
J^ rf icy. ; Donaldson, Theatre of t/ie Greece, ii. 357; and Rev. G. W.
Or^ksy \A et seq. ; Thirlwall, Hist. Cox, Mythology of the Aryan Nan
Greece, i. 68, 69; Bahr in Herod, tions,!!. 86.



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24 THE GREAT MONYSIAK MTTR

Janus-faced, and so at times we see him as Psychodaiktes,
the Destroyer-of-the-soul/ or Hypnophobes, the Terrifier-
during-sleep, i.e. by sending dreadful dreams. Thus
Dionysos as Theoinos would be by no means a source
of immixed joy to mortals.* But Homeros calls him
Charma^ a mystic charm, soothing as the Nepenthe of
Polydamna;* (1) as aye fresh and young, the Ever-
Touth, a new-fledged Eros in perennial vigour; (2) as
Hymeneios, god of marriage and rejoicing ; (3) as Kar-
pios and kindred epithets, which connect him with the
beautiful green earth in its might of strength and growth ;
(4) as Melpomenos, the Singer and leader of the cheerful
song-and-dance ; (5) as Hygiates, the Healer, and restorer
to sound health and vigour; and (6) as Theoinos, the
Exhilirater-by-wine. Let the reader consider the com-
bined force of epithets such as these, and he will see how
truly Dionysos was regarded as a source of joy, and how
rightly Hesiodos calls him Polygethes the Much-cheering,
and Ploutarchos, Charidotes the Joy-giver.

Subsection III. — Dionysos and Naxos.

Odysseus, when recoimting his adventures in the
Under-world, states that he saw ' beautiful Ariadne,
daughter of Minos, whom once Theseus was conducting
to the cultivated soil of sacred Athenai; but Artemis
slew her in sea-girt Dia, through the testimony of Diony-
sos.'* The common tradition about Ariadne, daughter
of the Phoenician Minos,* represents her. as having been
abandoned by Theseus in Naxos, and found there by
Dionysos, who makes her his wife. But in this Homerik
legend the chaste Artemis avenges the profanation of a
sanctuary by the flying lovers, as Kybele had done in the

1 Of. Ho9. iv. 11. * Od. xi. 321.

« Of. HeMod. AtpiB Herak, 400. * Of. II xiv. 321 ; Jw). Mim.

» Od. iv. 220 chap. y.



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THE DIONYSOS OF THE THEOLOGERS. 25

case of Hippomenes and the Boiotik Atalante ; and she
does so on behalf and at the instigation of Dionysos, who
was, therefore, the god of the place. The sea-girt Dia,
otherwise called Dionysias, or the Isle-of-the-Zeus-of-
Nysa, is Naxos, also known as Strongyle the Circular/
and noted for its devotion to the cult of the god, whose
sacred Kanthar, or two-handled Drinking-Cup,^ appears
on its coins ; and which, like all Bakchik locahties in
Hellas, contained a Nysa.** Thus the Theban Chorus*
allude to the Naxian maids : —

Who all night long with phrensied spirit sing
And dance in honour of their Bakchik King.

As the cult of the Semitic Kypris slips along from isle
to isle of the Aigaion, until, as Aphrodite Anadyoraene
or Eising-from-the-sea, she passes over jfrom Kythera to
Lakonike on the mainland, where the hardy Spartans,
while receiving her, put her in chains;^ so the Semitic
Dionysos advances by degrees, subduing Ikaros,^ Naxos,
Thasos,^ and Euboia, where was also a Nysa,^ and landing
at length on the shores of Thrake and Boioda.^ * Planx-
enmt te Nysa ferax Theseaque Naxos/^® As the poet
suggests no direct connection between Dionysos and
Ariadne, it is unnecessary for me here to notice the posi-
tion of the latter in the Natural Phenomena Theory as
the deserted bride of the solar hero Theseus ; but it may
be observed that if Ariadne, the Very-holy-one,^^ was
represented as deserted in Naxos, and as being subse-
quently found there by Dionysos,^^ there must have been
some special connection between the god and the island.^*

» Of. Diod. Sik. v. 60, 61 ; Posd- ' Herod, vi. 47.

datiyX. •Soph. ArUiff. 1160; Schol,

» Vide inf. YDL ii. Cup. ApoUon. Rhod. iv. 640.

» Of. HesYchios in voc. Nysa. ^ Of. Eur. Bak. 20.

« Soph- Aniw. 1160. ^o Statius, Thebais, vii. 686.

» Of. K. O. Miiller, Doric Bace, i. " Of. Bunsen, Bff^^ ^^oce, iv.

420. 246.

• Of. Horn. Hym. apud Biod. Sik. *» Of. Pherekydes, Frag. cvi.

iil 66. ^» Of. Diod. Sik. iv. 61, v. 62.



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26 TIIE GREAT DIONYSIAK MYTH.



Subsection IV. — Dionysos and the Tyrsenoi.

In the first of the Homerik Hymns ^ to Dionysos, we
read how the god appeared as a youth on the sea-shore,
and was seized by Tjrrsenian pirates, who in vain attempt
to bind him. The fetters fall from his hands and feet *
* and he continued sitting smiling with dark blue eyes.'
The wise pilot, Medeides, warns the infatuated crew that
the beautiful stranger must be a god, Zeus, Apollon, or
Poseidon ; but they, like Lykourgos and other contem-
nors of Dionysos, are stricken with blindness, and bring
him on board their ship. Then wonders appear. Wine
trickles down the deck, ivy twines round mast and oars,
and the vine covers the sails. The god changing into a
lion,* and further alarming the pirates by the apparition
of a phantom bear, seizes on the captain while the terri-
fied crew leap overboard and are changed into dolphins;*
and the wise pilot is crowned with good fortune and
encouraged by the god who reveals himself as * Dionysos
Eribromos, the Loud-shouting,* whom a Kadmeian mother
Semele bore, being embraced by Zeus.'

And thus, all excellence of grace to thee,
Son of Bweet-count'nance-carrying Semele.

ChxxpmoAfi.

This story is exactly parallel to that of Lykourgos, and
occurs somewhat later in the history of Dionysos, who no
longer appears as a child taking refuge with the friendly
Thetis, but as a youth confident in his own power to re-
sist and avenge. As usual, however, he seems to be weak,
and is insulted accordingly ; but this time by strangers of
the West, wandering Tyrsenoi or Etruscans, who live far

* These compositions may contain ' Vide inf, VIII. ii. Lion,

some few passages later than B.C. 600. * Vide VTII. ii. Dolphin,

3 Cf. Eur. Bak. 445. * Vide inf, VIII. i. Bromios.



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THE DIONYSOS OF THE THE0L0G£RS. 27

away in lands near the setting sun, where the Dionysiak
cult has not yet penetrated. But the time has gone by
when father Zeus had to avenge his adopted son, and all
the savage Semitic element in the god's composition rushes
to the front. The beautiful youth disappears, and Dio-
nysos Agrionios, or the Savage,^ stands before us in wild-
beast fury, as his ancient Boiotik worshippers saw him in
his festival at Orchomenos.^ No longer Antheus the
Blooming youth, he becomes Omestes the Raw-flesh-eating,
and death and horror seize the ill-fated despisers, for in
the words of Euripides, he is * to men both most terrible
and most mild.' * This is no myth of the power of wine
on man. Neither the god or his enemies are represented
as being in any way influenced by the grape. The tale
has the same moral as the legends of Lykourgos, Pen-
theus, Damaskos,* and others, — death and ruin to the
despisers and opponents of the new god, the son of
Semele.

Subsection V. — The Youth of Dionysos.

In Homerik Hymn^ xxiv., the poet sings how Dio-
nysos Kissokomes, the Ivy-Chapleted, was nurtiu:ed by the
Nymphs ^ in a cave ^ in the dells of the mysterious Nysa,
which only appears to vanish, like the oriental gardens of
Irem ; a myth connected with the tale of the Bakchik
city of Libye which no one could find twice,^ and with
inaccessible paradises and shadowy isles of delight in East
and West.® Ivy * never-sere ' is a fitting ornament for the

* Vide inf. VIII. i. Agrionios, * Of. Ais. Diow/sou Trophoi, Diod.
« Vide inf, VI. L 2. Sik. v. 62.

> Bak. 861. ^ As to the Mithraik eaye and its

* An imaginary personage very un- solar connection, vide inf. XII. i. 4.
necessarily excogitated as the founder "^ Strabo, vii. 8.

of the ancient city of Damesek. He • Vide Rev. S. B. Gould, Cwriow

was said to have resisted the intro- Myths of the Middle Ages, The

duction of the vine, and to have been Fortunate Isles ; Southey, Thalaba

flayed alive l^ the god. The legend the Destroyer , book i. ; Washington

is A copy of others, late, and unim- Irving, lAje of Columbus, Appendix,
portant.



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28 THE GREAT DIONYSIAK MYTH.

Ever-Youth, who * is numbered with the immortals,' as the
after-chosen Matthias was among the Apostles. The wood
resounds with the wild mirth of the growing deity Diony-
sos Dasyllios the Dweller-in-the-thickets, and the poet
concludes with a prayer to him, as Polystaphylos the Kich-
in-grape-clusters, that, as a soxu-ce of joy, he would grant
long and happy life to his votaries. Here the god is
represented as having received immortality, and in his



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