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Zeus, firom whom he is, of course, utterly and absolutely
distinct. And thus, as was noticed,^ aU investigations
into the nature and history of Dionysos tend to show how
lofty is the place among divinities which he occupied in
the Outer-world. No longer, as in the Homerik Olympos,
an inferior personage, he is in Phoenicia lao, and Zagreus
' highest of all gods ; ' and as the solar concept, as dis-
tinguished from the kosmogonic, becomes stiU stronger
m the mind, the poet invokes him in the words : bril-
liant Zeus ; Dionysos, sire of sea, sire of earth ; Helios,
sire of all.' Phanes, the pervading demiurge, has here
become centred in the most remarkable piece of visibility,
*that nebulous star we call the sun.' But all this is

' Subeec. ii. headed inscriptioiis.

' Vide sec. i 7. * There are, moreover, many traces

' Of. Moyers, Phim, L 550. of an old name of Qod, lau, which

* Trans, Soc, Bib, Archaeol. iiL Greek form leads to lahu, i.e, lah

505. Cf. Bnnsen's remark, * Raw- with the archaic nominal ending U '

linwn thinks he has found the Fire- (EgypVa Place, iv. 194).

God, lah or lao in the arrow- * ISec. i. 7.

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essentially Semitic in thought and feeling ; no purely
Aryan bard could for an instont have confounded Zeus
the All-father,

The constant heaven with its deep blue eyes,

with solar divinities. But the poet has come to regard
the Sun as being the first and highest of gods, or rather
perhaps, Semitically, as containing the spirit and intelli-
gence of the first of divinities ; ^ and hence he applies to
the Sun whatever names were given to the Supreme, Zeus,
lao. All-father, &o. And so, incidentally, we see that
Dionysos ranks with these, and is second to none. In
another passage he describes the god as keeping the
visible world together, i.e.y ^ upholding all things by his
power ; ' and in consequence, being called Phanes, the
Spiritof-the-Apparent, who gives siurounding matter,
form, and shape, and Erikapaios, an epithet, apparently
meaning Spring-time-garden-growth, or the vitad force of
life-heat of the vast visible world. It may possibly, how-
ever, be equivalent to Protogenes, Primeval, the one who
* first came to Ught.' Such is Dionysos, the Orphik
Demiurge, the spirit of material visibility, a Kyklops
giant of the universe with one bright solar eye.

As the mysterious lao is a very important phase of
Dionysos, and has of late been employed in the attempted
injmy of the ordinary belief in Yahveh, some further
observations on his occult concept are here added. I
have already noticed ^ that a groundless alarm arose in
some orthodox quarters at certain supposed serious conse-
quences which would arise from accepting the view of
the genuine antiquity of the answer of the oracle of Apol-
lon Klarios. Bishop Colenso thus comments on the view
of Bishop Browne, ' Land ® maintains the genuineness of

' Vide inf. XH. i. « Thepl. Tijdschr, March, 1868,

? Sup» subeec. ii. note.

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this oracle, since after the closest examination there
appears not a trace in it of later Greek or of defective
versification, of anything whereby the fictitious oracles of
a later age always betray themselves.' Dr. Colenso then
quotes Movers in support of the genuineness of the oracle,
and gives Land*s explanation of it as follows : ' lao is the
highest of all the gods, because he gives life to all, and
his dwelling is in heaven which spreads over all. Yet in
heaven he reveals himself specially by the Sun. In win-
ter, when the nights are longest, the god prefers to dwell
in the Under-world as Zeus Chthonios, and rules over the
shades in Hades. In the spring-time, when the grain
harvest is at hand, all depends upon the weather, upon
suflScient rain and sunshine ; and the god is addressed as
Zeus, as especially the god of heaven and of the weather.
In the summer, he is the scorching Helios, which bums
up everything, and is tempered by no cloud. Lastly, in
the autumn, comes the ripeness of the fig, pomegranate,
and above all of the grape, with its mysterious Ufe-awak-
ing juice ; and now is the god known as the tender lao,
the spring of all beauty, love, and Ufe.' This is a truly
admirable interpretation of the oracle, and Dr. Colenso
adds : ' It is obvious how closely this coiTCsponds to the
worship of Dionysos.'^ The genuine antiquity of the
oracle being thus established beyond all reasonable doubts,
do any evil consequences follow to ordinary belief ? Cer-
tainly not. Yahveh or Jahve may have been, and indeed
undoubtedly was, as the Bishop suggests, * a very ancient
name in the land of Canaan.' H or El is a very ancient
name of God in all the countries adjacent, and of course,
long anterior to the time of Moses ; but this circumstance
is in no way prejudicial to religion. The identity of
Yahveh and lao, moreover, cannot be denied ; and Dio-
doros states that, amongst the Jews, Moses called God

*' The yew Bible Commentftnj (rtlivaUif exatninalj i. iShiS,

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lao.^ We have the express testimony of Eusebios ^ that
the Phoeniciaus called Yahveh leuo,^ and the identification
of the two is frequently made in ancient writers.* Furst
is probably often a very doubtful authority,^ but his ob-
servations on this question are well worthy of note. He
says, * the very ancient name of God, Yaho, in Hellenik
lao, appears to have been an old mystic name of the
supreme god of the Semites. In the ancient reUgion of
the Chaldaeans, whose remains are to be found amongst
the Neo-Platonists,^ the highest divinity enthroned above
the seven heavens, representing the spiritual -light prin-
ciple, and also regarded as the Demiurge, was called lao,^
who was like the Hebrew Yaho [ue. Yahveh] mysterious,
and unmentionable,® and whose name was communicated
only to the initiated. The Phoenicians had a supreme
god, whose name was triUteral and secret.^ He was lao.^®
This Phoenician Yaho, a knowledge of whom spread
farther, represented the Sun-god in a four-fold variety,
according to the oracle of Apollon Klarios, i.e. he repre-
sented [the four-faced] Baal (according to an account in
Eustathios), whose image was set up in the temple by Ma-
nasseh.' ^^ The Chaldaeans, according to Cedrenus, adored
the physical and intellectual hght. The diffusion of this
throughout the region of the seven planets was repre-
sented by the letters I A Q, the first of which represented

* Diod. i. 04. ^ ' Ljdus; ut ante ; Oedienus, ut

* Euan, Apod. i. 6. tn/*.

* Of. Geeen. Script. Linp. Pkoe. • Proklos. In Tim. li.
408 ; yide also the Phoenician myth ^ Sanchou. i. 8.

of the sacrifice of the only son leoud ; *^ * Oui litera trina

Cory, Anct. FragmenU, 17 ; Bunsen, Oonfirmet sacrum nomen, cog-

~ ^$ Haccy iv. 280 et seq. nomen et omen.'

. \ Tacitus, Htit. V. 5, Plout. Symp. Martianus Oapella, Hymn to the Sun.

1. 4 ; Julianus (the Apostate), Orat. „ j^y ^t^T U. PUrst, Lexicon :

tnilfo^remDeorum, and his Christian < Jehovah.' A Gnostic gem given by

opnonents. r^n. ^ z , Montfaucon, tome ii. part ii. pi. clix.

... ,yi^^ ^'''''^- ^' ^^' ^'•^^^- fiir. 2. represents a Janusieaded

fig. 2, represents a Janus>headed

figure, and
^ ^ *««»^»«**w. ^^ ^^^, .»v*v. •»,. ^^^ reverse.

*"• In'iUustoaUon of this, Tide inf. ^f^""' *""^ >« '"^"^^ I A W on

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the Sun, and the second and third, the Moon and Saturn,
the two extremes of the planetary system.^ This is the
Fanaugeia or Universal Light of Philon, whose theories
so greatly assisted Neo-Platonism. * There is no doubt,'
observes Movers, ' that lao is Adonis,' ^ and Adonis, again,
is the Semitic and Mosaic Adonai, the Lord. Here, too,
we find another of the names of the Supreme Gtod of the
Hebrews applied to a Phoenician divinity. But what,
in the abstract, more probable ' since the Phoenician lan-
guage was almost identical with the Hebrew ' ? It has
been asserted that the Hebrews borrowed their divinity
Yahveh from Phoenicia, but this neither has been, nor
will be, proved ; and, apart from any religious conclusions,
it would be quite as sensible to assert that the Latins bor-
rowed their Jupiter from the Hellenik Zeus, since the two
names are really identical, and belong in fact to but one
divinity. But this is absurd ; there is no borrowing in
the matter ; the forms spring up together and indepen-
dently. Again, it is said : ' Jehovah is the Sun, for if he
is identical with lao, and lao is the Sun, Jehovah must
be the Sun,' and so nearly all the religion of the Old
Testament would thus fade away into a mere solar cult of
a physical Sun of righteousness Was it this idea which
alarmed the opponents of the genuineness of the oracle of
the Klarian god ? Let us, however, test the remarkable,
and to some apparently conclusive, argument : Yahveh is
lao, the Sun is lao, argal, Yahveh is the Sun ; or again,
waier is a liquid, wine is a liquid, argal, water is wine.
To leave this argument and proceed : lao, as we have
noticed, is far more than the sun, and I shall be quite
willmg to agree that Yahveh is the Supreme God, lao is
the Supreme God, argal lao is Yahveh. Neither name
is derived from the other ; they are simply varient
forms of the same identical appellation. Next, as to the

» Cedrenus, i. 296. 2 p^,^. 542.

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meaning of the name ; Clemens Alexandrinus says, * the
mystic name of four letters,' the sacred Tetragrammaton
YaHVeH, 'which was affixed to those alone to* whom
the adytum was accessible, is called laou, which is in-
terpreted, " Who is and shall be." ' ^ Mr. King observes,

* Theodoret states that the four letters of the Holy Name
were pronounced by the Samaritans I A B E ; by the Jews,
I A Q. Jerome (Ps. viii. ), " The name of the J^rd amongst
the Hebrews is of four letters, Jod, He, Vau, He ; which ia
properly the name of God, and may be read as I AH O,
and is held by the Jews for ineffable." ' ^ Bunsen, very
reasonably, considers it questionable whether the real
etymology of the word is Hebrew, but remarks, * The
sublime idea, " I am that I am," i.e. the Eternal, is cer-
tainly the right one in a Hebrew point of view/ • As
lau appears in the cuneiform, it has very probably a
further meaning. The Eev. J. M. Eodwell* translates
' exalter of Yav,' * by the help of Assur and Yav the
great gods &c.,' and observes, * The god Yav may be the
Yaveh of the Moabite stone.' But this reading is exceed-
ingly doubtful. Professor Oppert prefers Bin ; the Eev.
A. H. Sayce, Rimmon ; and Mr. George Smith * has given
Daddi, Teiseba, and Vul as the Syrian, Armenian, and
Assyrian values.* Movers connects lao (pronounced
with an aspirate) with lAkchOs, with the Bakchik cry

* Eua,' with Hyes, the name of Dionysos connected with
fertilising moisture, and with the Phrygian cry ' Hyes
Attes,' or ' Atys lives,' which belonged to the rites of

* Strom. V. 6. those days [i.e. the time of Mosesl
' The GnoittcSj 84, note 1. the name of God is never mentioned

* Egyj^s IHactj iv. 193, note, save in the piise of the phrase Nuk-

* The existent,* Bishop Browne, pu-nuk, which means / am that I
Speakef^s Commentary^ i. 26. * He am,' Literary Remains of Emmanuel
is, or He makes to be,' febhop Colenso, DetUsch, 166.

New Bible Commentary critically ex- * Recards of the Pasty iii. 37 et seq.

eimined, i. 66. * In the scrolls en- Annals of Assur-nazii'-pal [8ar-
tombed with the [Egyptian] dead in danapalos].

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Sabazios and the great Mother.^ This view possesses a
very high amount of probability ; lao is more especially
the autumn-sun-power ' with its mysterious life-awaking
juice/ lao, again, is identical with Sabazios,* or the
more especial Thrakian and Phrygian varient of Dionysos ;
and * that Adonis was known also by the name lao can-
not be doubted/ * lao in Gnostic Art, which is mainly
interesting as illustrative of more archaic ideas, frequently
appears as identified with Abraxas.* The name I AW,
when it appears on gems surrounded with the time-
serpent tail in mouth, typifies the endless course of the
supreme solar power through the ever-revolving year.^
Another gem^ is explained by Mr. King as ' the Gnostic
Pleroma, or combination of all the Aeons; expressed
by the outUne of a man holding a scroll, or perhaps
serpent, and filled in with innumerable letters, in which
the name only of lao may be recognised.' Mr. James
Fowler elegantly illustrates the appliciition by mediaeval
Christendom of some of the earUer thoughts respecting
Time and his Master. After noticing various mediaeval
Zodiacal representations, and emblems of the months, he
observes, ' The course of the sun through the Zodiac . . .
represented the course of the Sun of Kighteousness
through the festivals of the Church, which marked the
divisions of the ecclesiastical year as the signs of the
Zodiac did the divisions of the naturaL , . . As the
natural sun is replaced in these examples by the Sun
of Eighteousness, so are the signs of the Zodiac by
the Apostles, the first to reflect the light from Our

^ ' Vide mf, \^^. i. -Hyc«, lakchos, oppNoeite title-page, ^^, 4 ; plate op-

5i. Eua, Aj8 to Atys, vide tw/. IX. posite page 36, ^s. 7 ; t«^ VII. iv.

▼i- No. 37. Vide also the numerous

' lif^. V. ii. Vlll. ii. Sabazios. lao-Abraxas gems in Montfaucon,

' Mythol, of the Aryan Nations, iL tome ii part L pi. cxlv. et seq,
113. As to Adon-Tammuz, videtnf. * Vide m/1 VlII. iL Serpent,

Bubeec. v., XI. ii. XII. i. 1. ^ The Gnostics, pi. iii. fig. 11.

* Vide King, The Gnostics. Plate

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Lord; and as the stars of the Zodiac possessed an
interest to the ancient astronomer which no other stars
possessed, so the Apostles here shine forth as a kind of
synecdoche of that greater company of Saints which are
as the stars in multitude/^

Subsection IV. — Dionysos and Zeus.

The connection in the Orphik Theogony between
Dionysos and Zeus is naturally exceedingly close, for all
things in God or Zeus, and God in all things or Dionysos,
though so widely different in meaning and effect, may
seem to many almost interchangeable phases and phrases.
We have seen Dionysos represented as the Spirit of the
Kosmogony, which, as our great Pantheistic poet tells us,
appears in sun and star, in wind and tree.

How, then, does the poet describe Zeus? Zeus is
* the first and the last* — the Alpha and Omega. ' He is
head and middle, the origin of earth and of starry heaven,
the breath of winds, the fury of the tireless flame, the
root of sea, sun, and moon. First Cause of all things, one-
ness of force, unity of divinity, mighty ruler of all, one
kingly frame from whom all things have sprung, fire and
water, earth, air, night and day. He is Mind, and Love
delighting in its works.' How is he these ? and, if he be
these, is he not the equivalent of the kosmic Dionysos ?
No ; for the poet connects him with the manifestations
of visibility because he is their maker. They breathe
and whisper to the wise of a di\dne origin, declare his
glory and show his handiwork, so that in the beautiful
words of Mr. Martineau, *We must look upon the subUme
face of the Book of Nature as the living appeal of thought
to thought.' Zeus is not their inherent and indwelling

^ Archaedogia, zliv. 1 ; Mediaeval Represmtatiom of the Months and
Seasons, 184-5.

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divinity ; on the contrary, they have sprang from him,
and he is their origin, not their vital force. He is not
merely the working demiurge who brings order out of
chaos and sustains the course of nature ; he is the great
First Cause of all things, a oneness of force, and a unity
of divinity. * All these things ' are not Him, but ' are
encircled in Him, for all things lie in the mighty frame of
ZeusJ^ This is a grand old creed,^ a noble declaration
of fiaith, a belief in the one God and Father of whom are
all things, whose luminous and ever-present divinity en-
circles His great store of starry worlds, which ' Ue in His
bosom like children,' and whose vastly delighting love
eternally rejoices in His works, and sees with divine satia-

In gradual growth His full-leaved will

Expand from world to world.'

Pindaros truly tells us that 'Zeus obtained something
more than what the gods possessed.' But, although the
nature of Zeus is here nobly described, and clearly distin-
guished from that of Dionysos, yet the two concepts, at
once so similar and dissimilar, soon necessarily clash in
the mind of the poet and become intermixed and con-
founded. Zeus assumes a kosmogonic phase, and Diony-
sos becomes a kind of Zeus. In the line

So father Zeus governs all things, and Bakchos, he governs

the poet labours hard to give both divinities a kind of
equal sway. And, again, when the solar concept pre-

' Orphik Frag. vi. the Universe, producing a series of

* Platon alludes to the passage as necessary movements or acts, in con-
* an archaic statement ' (Xowa, iv.). sequence of intrinsic energy ' (Draper,

• The Vokmtas Dei maybe thought CcmJUct between Rdigian and Science,
by some but a poor reason for the 179), is merely a re-statement of
constitution and course of the imi- things as they are, or, at most, an
verse, but no other can be suggested ; imaginary reason drawn only from
for the view of Spinoza ' that God is nescience.

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dominates, both Zeus and Dionysos fade away into
Helios, who becomes *Zeus Dionysos, sire of sea, of
earth, of all things.* The poet thus concludes his des-
cription of the kosmic Zeus-Dionysos :—

Would you behold his head and his fair face.

It is the resplendent heaven, round which his golden locks

Of glittering stars are beautifully exalted in the air.

On each side are the two golden taurine horns.

The risings and settings, the tracks of the celestial gods ;

His eyes the sun and the opposing moon ;

His infallacious mind the royal incorruptible ether.^

The golden horns or track of the solar photosphere
l>elong to Dionysos as Chrysokeros.*

Subsection V. — The Neo-Platonik Orphik Hymns.

The eighty-eight so-called Orphik Hymns which have
come down to us are evidently the work of Neo-Plato-
nists, though, perhaps, some fragments of them may be of
earlier date; but they are, nevertheless, interesting in
many respects as presenting to a considerable extent
*a faithful reflection of ancient ideas.' ^ Many points
relating to Dionysos which occur in them I notice else-
where. Hymn xxix. describes him as the son of Perse-
phone, and Hymn xliv. as the son of Semde. This,
however, is not contradictory, even supposing that Perse-
phone and Semele are two distinct personages ; for the
god is also said to be Dimetor, Bimatris, Son-of-two-
mothers.* He is the son of Semele from his connection
with the Phoenician house of Kadmos, and he is the son
of Persephone, daughter (Kore) of earth (Demeter), in
consequence of his kosmogonic affinities. The Awful
Damsel 'represents what we might really expect from

* Oorv, Ancient Fragmmts, 290. • Of. Posetdon, xl.

« Vide in/ IV. iii. 2, VIU. i. IX. * Hymn 1. 1, hi. 9.
ill. iv.

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her position as Queen of the Under-wqrld : a mixture of
Pelasgic and Eastern traditions/^ But the concept of
Dionysos as son of Persephone, though not contradictory,
is necessarily posterior to that of Dionysos as son of the
daughter of Kadmos. The foreign god, as such, is the
son of a Phoenician mother ; and afterwards, when his
nature is found to be kosmogonic, he becomes with equal
propriety the son of a mysterious kosmogonic and chtho-
nian goddess. In Hymn xxiv. 10, the poet, addressing
the Nereides, says : —

You at first disclosed the rites divine

Of holy Bacchus and of Proserpine. — Taylor.

What possible connection there can be between the
innocent sea-nymphs, daughters of Nereus, the true Aryan
sea-god and rival of the Semitic Poseidon.* and the Phoe-
nician Dionysos, and Persephone the ' majestic ' and
' terrible,' it is diflScult to say, unless, indeed, the state-
ment is the poetic expression of the fact that the cult of
the two mysterious divinities came by sea into Hellas.
Many of the lines of the Hymns consist of strings of ad-
jectival epithets illustrating the almost numberless phases
of the god, some very ancient, some comparatively
modern. All the more important of these will be sepa-
rately noticed under the head of Dionysiak Nomencla-
ture.' Hymn xxxi. connects the Kouretes, legendary
inhabitants of Akarnania, Kyretis (Aitolia), and Krete,
with Dionysos and Persephone. The connection is not
Hellenik, and points towards Phoenicia, and Asia Minor,
the home of ' mingled people,' Semitic, Aryan, and Tu-
ranic* Hymn xHi. invokes Dionysos under the name of
Mise, as the sexless spirit of kosmic life, who, like Zeus
Kerastes, is * the mixer of all things.' The Law-giver^ I

^ Of. Gladstone, Juv, Mun. 300 et » Vide inf. VUI. i.
wy. * Of. IV. iii. 2.

* Of. Foseidm, vL * Vide inf, VIII. i. Thermophore,

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invoke, narthexbearing ^ Dionysos, many-named Eubou-
leus,2 and holy Mise,^ mysterious queen, male and female,
two-natured lakchos/ * And the poet proceeds to con-
nect this strange being particularly with Phrygia, Kypros,
and Egypt. Hymn xlv. is inscribed to Dionysos Bas-
sareus* Trieteiikos, in whose honour a trieterisy or trien-
nial festival, was held. The epithet also apphes to several
other deities, especially Poseidon. Various epithets, also,
connected with the Bull^ are ascribed to Dionysos in the
Hymns ; this connection, again, is entirely Semitic, and
will be fully noticed and illustrated subsequently.^ Hymn
xlvi. is addressed to Dionysos as Liknites, i.e. bearing the
liknon,^ or fan-shaped basket, which, filled with fi:uit and
offerings, was carried in the Bakchik festivals.^ Hymn
xlvii. is addressed to Dionysos as Perikionios, or the
Twiner-round-the-pillars,^^ because, when he shook the
Theban land,^^ he preserved the house of Kadmos. Hymn
xlviii. is addressed to Sabazios, the Phrygian phase of
Dionysos,^^ who is here described as having, like Zeus,
inserted the infant Dionysos in his thigh. Thus, at a
comparatively late date, varient forms of the same divi-
nity came to be regarded as distinct beings. Hymn 1. is
addressed to Dionysos as Lysios,^^ Lenaios,^* the god of
the wine-press, who fi:ees men from care. In Hymn li. 3,
the Nymphs are called the Nurses of Bakchos.^^ This con-
nection is older than the Homerik Poems.^^ Hymn hi,
addressed to Dionysos as Trieterikoa,^^ is almost one con-
tinued string of epithets, including Bakcheus, Taurokeros,

1 Vide tn/. VIII. i. NaHhekophoroa. >« Vide mf, Vni. i. Perikiamos.

^ Vide ibid. Evhmdeus. " Vide ibid. Eldickthan.

» Vide ibid. Mise, " Inf. V. ii. VIU. i. Sabazios.

* Vide ibid. lahchos. " Vide inf. VIH. i. Lytios.

* Vide inf. V. i. VIII. i. Bassareus. " The Festival of the Lenaia ifl
. « Vide inf. VIII. ii. Bull. noticed, inf. VI. i.

^ Inf. IV. iii. 2, IX. iii. Tauroke- " Vide inf IV. i. 3.

ro8. '^ Of. Horn. Hymn, xxiv. Sup.

® Vide inf. Vm. i. Liknites. sec. i. 6.

* Inf. VI. i. " Vide sup.

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Nyaios, Eubouleus, liknites, Protogonos, Erikepdos,
Omadios, Keros, Dimetor, Bassareus, Nebridostolos,
Polyparthenos, many of which have akeady been more
or less illustrated, and all of which will be again referred
to.^ Hymn liii. is addressed to Dionysos as Amphietes, or
Having-a-yearly-festival, an epithet to which the god was
well entitied.* This is Dionysos Chthonios,' a divinity
of the Under-world, who, for a season, * sleeps in the
sacred abode of Persephone/ Hymn liv. is addressed
to the Satyr Seilenos, the nurtmrer or foster-father of
Dionysos. The Satyroi and Seilenoi appear to be con-
ceptions more Aryan than Semitic, and their connection
with Dionysos is not one of the earliest features in his
history. Mr. Cox, however, with considerable proba-
bility^ r^ards the ass of Seilenos as a link between him
and the East^ and observes, ' The grotesque form which
Seilenos is made to assume may be an exaggeration of
the western Greeks, who saw in the ass which bore him
a mere sign of his folly and absurdity, while it points

Online LibraryRobert BrownThe great Dionysiak myth → online text (page 6 of 38)