eklogai

polytheist extractions

Tag Archives: dionysos

Mauro and Immonide, Cena 184-87

“The Roman pope amuses himself thus at the Albs of Easter, when the master of the choir school comes, crowned with horns, like Silenus with a little ass amid songs and mockery, which priestly amusement denotes a mystery.” – Mauro and Immonide, Cena 184-87

Gervase of Tilbury, Otia Imperialia 3.103

“In the Rhône stands the castle of Roquemaure. On the estate of this castle there are vines which the people call brumestae, producing good fat grapes. These vines flower and produce clusters of grapes as ordinary vines do, but then they cheat their husbandman’s expectation: for when it comes to the feast of St. John the Baptist, all the fruit vanishes, and nothing which might even grow into fruit is found on them.” – Gervase of Tilbury, Otia Imperialia 3.103

Gervase of Tilbury, Otia Imperialia 3.60

“Here is another thing, no less wonderful and quite widely known, which happened in Great Britain. There was a hunting-forest in Gloucestershire teeming with boars, stags, and every kind of game commonly found in England. In a leafy glade of this forest was a hillock, which rose to a man’s height at its highest point. Knights and other hunters used to climb up on top of the hillock whenever, worn out with heat and thirst, they sought some relief from their discomfort. Now given the right combination of place and circumstances, if anyone strayed a long way from his companions and climbed it alone and then, though alone, said ‘I’m thirsty’ as if he were speaking to someone else, at once, to his surprise, there would be a cupbearer standing at his side, in rich attire, with a merry face, and holding in his outstretched hand a large horn, adorned with gold and jewels, such as is used by the old English as a drinking-vessel. Some nectar of an unfamiliar but delicious taste would be offered him. When he had drunk it, all the heat and weariness of his sweating body would leave him, so that anyone would believe, not that he had just been engaged in action, but that he was eager to start. When he had consumed the nectar, the server would provide him with a napkin with which to wipe his lips; and then, his ministration completed, he would disappear without waiting for a reward for his services or for conversation to satisfy curiosity.” – Gervase of Tilbury, Otia Imperialia 3.60

Richard of St.-Victor, Sermones centum 177.1036

“What wickedness takes place during this feast; fortune-tellings, divinations, deceptions and feigned madnesses. On this day, having been seized up by the furies of their bacchant-like ravings and having been inflamed by the fires of diabolical instigation, they flock together to the church and profane the house of god with vain and foolish rhythmic poetry in which sin is not wanting but by all means present, and with evil sayings, laughing and cacophony they disrupt the priest and the whole congregation applauds for the people love these things.” – Richard of St.-Victor, Sermones centum 177.1036

The First Vatican Mythographer 19

“Icarius’ dog returned to his daughter, Erigone; she followed his tracks and, when she found her father’s corpse, she ended her life with a noose. Through the mercy of the gods she was restored to life again among the constellations; men call her Virgo. That dog was also placed among the stars. But after some time such a sickness was sent upon the Athenians that their maidens were driven by a certain madness to hang themselves. The oracle responded that this pestilence could be stopped if the corpses of Erigone and Icarius were sought again. These were found nowhere after being sought for a long time. Then, to show their devotedness, and to appear to seek them in another element, the Athenians hung rope from trees. Holding on to this rope, the men were tossed here and there so that they seemed to seek the corpses in the air. But since most were falling from the trees, they decided to make shapes in the likeness of their own faces and hang these in place of themselves. Hence, little masks are called oscilla because in them faces oscillate, that is, move.” – The First Vatican Mythographer 19

Hesiod, Works and Days 765ff

“Mark the days which come from Zeus, duly telling your slaves of them, and that the thirtieth day of the month is best for one to look over the work and to deal out supplies. For these are days which come from Zeus the all-wise, when men discern aright. To begin with, the first, the fourth, and the seventh — on which Leto bare Apollo with the blade of gold — each is a holy day. The eighth and the ninth, two days at least of the waxing month, are specially good for the works of man. Also the eleventh and twelfth are both excellent, alike for shearing sheep and for reaping the kindly fruits; but the twelfth is much better than the eleventh, for on it the airy-swinging spider spins its web in full day, and then the Wise One, gathers her pile. On that day woman should set up her loom and get forward with her work. Avoid the thirteenth of the waxing month for beginning to sow: yet it is the best day for setting plants. The sixth of the mid-month is very unfavourable for plants, but is good for the birth of males, though unfavourable for a girl either to be born at all or to be married. Nor is the first sixth a fit day for a girl to be born, but a kindly for gelding kids and sheep and for fencing in a sheep-cote. It is favourable for the birth of a boy, but such will be fond of sharp speech, lies, and cunning words, and stealthy converse. On the eighth of the month geld the boar and loud- bellowing bull, but hard-working mules on the twelfth. On the great twentieth, in full day, a wise man should be born. Such an one is very sound-witted. The tenth is favourable for a male to be born; but, for a girl, the fourth day of the mid-month. On that day tame sheep and shambling, horned oxen, and the sharp-fanged dog and hardy mules to the touch of the hand. But take care to avoid troubles which eat out the heart on the fourth of the beginning and ending of the month; it is a day very fraught with fate. On the fourth of the month bring home your bride, but choose the omens which are best for this business. Avoid fifth days: they are unkindly and terrible. On a fifth day, they say, the Erinyes assisted at the birth of Horcus whom Eris bare to trouble the forsworn. Look about you very carefully and throw out Demeter’s holy grain upon the well-rolled threshing floor on the seventh of the mid-month. Let the woodman cut beams for house building and plenty of ships’ timbers, such as are suitable for ships. On the fourth day begin to build narrow ships. The ninth of the mid-month improves towards evening; but the first ninth of all is quite harmless for men. It is a good day on which to beget or to be born both for a male and a female: it is never an wholly evil day. Again, few know that the twenty-seventh of the month is best for opening a wine-jar, and putting yokes on the necks of oxen and mules and swift-footed horses, and for hauling a swift ship of many thwarts down to the sparkling sea; few call it by its right name. On the fourth day open a jar. The fourth of the mid-month is a day holy above all. And again, few men know that the fourth day after the twentieth is best while it is morning: towards evening it is less good. These days are a great blessing to men on earth; but the rest are changeable, luckless, and bring nothing. Everyone praises a different day but few know their nature. Sometimes a day is a stepmother, sometimes a mother. That man is happy and lucky in them who knows all these things and does his work without offending the deathless gods, who discerns the omens of birds and avoids transgressions.” – Hesiod, Works and Days 765ff

The Martyrdom of Saint Theodotus 14

“It was the custom among them yearly to bathe the images of the gods in the nearby lake, and on that day was the chance for them to be cleansed along with their idols. Each of the idols was set up on a wagon, and they were led through the city and into the countryside where the lake was. The whole populace of the city went out with them to see the sight, for the sound of the pipes and cymbals attracted attention, as did the dancing women with hair let loose like maenads, and there was a great pounding of their feet striking the ground and lots of musical instruments accompanying them.” – The Martyrdom of Saint Theodotus 14

Pausanias, Description of Greece 6.26.1-2

“Between the market-place and the Menios in the city of Elis is an old theater and a shrine of Dionysos. The image is the work of Praxiteles. Of the gods the Eleans worship Dionysos with the greatest reverence, and they assert that the god attends their festival, the Thyia. The place where they hold the festival they name the Thyia is about eight stades from the city. Three pots are brought into the building by the priests and set down empty in the presence of the citizens and of any strangers who may chance to be in the country. The doors of the building are sealed by the priests themselves and by any others who may be so inclined. On the morrow they are allowed to examine the seals, and on going into the building they find the pots filled with wine. I did not myself arrive at the time of the festival, but the most respected Elean citizens, and with them strangers also, swore that what I have said is the truth.” – Pausanias, Description of Greece 6.26.1-2

Miscellany of sources on Anthesteria

“For they announce with a herald the Dionysia, the Lenaia, the Khytroi and the Gephyrismoi.” – Aelian, On Animals 4.43

“Not all the magistrates lived together. The King kept what is now called the Boukoleion [cow-shed] near the Prytaneion. The evidence is that even now the mating and marriage of the wife of the King with Dionysos takes place there.” – Aristotle, Constitution of the Athenians 3.5

“Timaios says that the tyrant Dionysios at the festival of the Khoes set a golden crown as a prize for the one who first drank up his khous and that Xenocrates the philosopher finished first and, taking the golden crown and departing, placed it on the herm set up in his courtyard, the one on which he customarily placed flower crowns as he was going back home in the evening, and for this he was marveled at. Phanodemos says that Demophon the King instituted the festival of the Pitchers at Athens. When Orestes arrived at Athens after killing his mother Demophon wanted to receive him, but was not willing to let him approach the sacred rites nor share the libations, since he had not yet been put on trial. So he ordered the sacred things to be locked up and a separate pitcher of wine to be set beside each person, saying that a flat cake would be given as a prize to the one who drained his first. He also ordered them, when they had stopped drinking, not to put the wreathes with which they were crowned on the sacred objects, because they had been under the same roof with Orestes. Rather each one was to twine them around his own pitcher and take the wreathes to the priestess at the precinct in Limnai, and then to perform the rest of the sacrifices in the sanctuary. The festival has been called Khoes ever since. It is the custom at the festival of the Khoes at Athens that gifts and then pay be sent to teachers, the very ones who themselves invited their close friends to dinner in this way: ‘you play the teacher, you bum, and you have need of the pay-giving Khoes, dining not without luxury.’” – Athenaios, Deipnosophistai 10.437b-e

“Possis in his third book of Magnesian Things says that Themistokles when taking up the office of crownbearer in Magnesia sacrificed to Athene and called the festival the Panathenaia and when sacrificing to Dionysos the Khous-drinker also introduced the festival of the Khoes there.” – Athenaios, Deipnosophistai 12.533d

There are certain Khutroi. A festival in Athens so named, in which it was possible to mock both the others and especially those in government.” – Bekker, Anecdota 1.316

“It is commanded to those bringing back the victory spoils that they revile and make jokes about the most famous men along with their generals, like those escorts on wagons during the Athenian festival who used to carry on with jokes but now sing improvisational poems.” – Dionysios Halikarnassos, Roman Antiquities 7.72.11

“Among the Athenians holy women whom the king appoints in number equal to the altars of Dionysos to honor the god.” – Etymologicum Magnum s.v. gerarai

“(Orestes speaking) At first none of my hosts willingly received me, on the grounds that I was hated by the gods, but those who had scruples supplied me provisions at a single table since we were under the same roof, and by their silence they made me shunned so that I might be separated from them at food and drink, and filling for all an equal amount of wine in individual pitchers, they took pleasure. I did not think it right to question my hosts and grieved in silence and pretended not to know, sorrowing deeply because I was my mother’s murderer. I hear that my misfortunes have become a rite for the Athenians and that the custom still remains that the people of Athena honor the khoes-pitcher.” – Euripides, Iphigenia in Tauris 947ff

“A festival done among the Athenians on the twelfth of Anthesterion. The whole feast for Dionysos is jointly called Anthesteria, but its parts are Pithoigia, Khoes, Khutroi.” – Harpokration s.v. Khoes

“Instead of reproach and reproaching. Demosthenes in the speech For Ktesiphon. He takes the metaphor from those in the Dionysiac processions on wagons being reproached by each other.” – Harpokration s.v. processions and processing

“Generally priestesses, in particular those completing the sacrifices to Dionysos in Limnai, fourteen in number.” – Hesychius s.v. gerarai

“A marriage occurs between the wife of the king and the god.” – Hesychius s.v.marriage of Dionysos

“A festival in Athens.” – Hesychius s.v. Pithoigia

“A festival in Athens which they called Khoes.” – Hesychius s.v. twelfth

“Bear Watcher. Some have said that he is Icarius, father of Erigone, to whom, on account of his justice and piety, Father Liber gave wine, the vine, and the grape, so that he could show men how to plant the vine, what would grow from it, and how to use what was produced. When he had planted the vine, and by careful tending with a pruning-knife had made it flourish, a goat is said to have broken into the vineyard, and nibbled the tenderest leaves he saw there. Icarius, angered by this, took him and killed him and from his skin made a sack, and blowing it up, bound it tight, and cast it among his friends, directing them to dance around it. And so Eratosthenes says: Around the goat of Icarius they first danced. Others say that Icarius, when he had received the wine from Father Liber, straightway put full wineskins on a wagon. For this he was called Boötes. When he showed it to the shepherds on going round through the Attic country, some of them, greedy and attracted by the new kind of drink, became stupefied, and sprawling here and there, as if half-dead, kept uttering unseemly things. The others, thinking poison had been given the shepherds by Icarius, so that he could drive their flocks into his own territory, killed him, and threw him into a well, or, as others say, buried him near a certain tree. However, when those who had fallen asleep, woke up, saying that they had never rested better, and kept asking for Icarius in order to reward him, his murderers, stirred by conscience, at once took to flight and came to the island of the Ceans. Received there as guests, they established homes for themselves. But when Erigone, the daughter of Icarius, moved by longing for her father, saw he did not return and was on the point of going out to hunt for him, the dog of Icarius, Maera by name, returned to her, howling as if lamenting the death of its master. It gave her no slight suspicion of murder, for the timid girl would naturally suspect her father had been killed since he had been gone so many months and days. But the dog, taking hold of her dress with its teeth, led her to the body. As soon as the girl saw it, abandoning hope, and overcome with loneliness and poverty, with many tearful lamentations she brought death on herself by hanging from the very tree beneath which her father was buried. And the dog made atonement for her death by its own life. Some say that it cast itself into the well, Anigrus by name. For this reason they repeat the story that no one afterward drank from that well. Jupiter, pitying their misfortune, represented their forms among the stars. And so many have called Icarius, Boötes, and Erigone, the Virgin, about whom we shall speak later. The dog, however, from its own name and likeness, they have called Canicula. It is called Procyon by the Greeks, because it rises before the greater Dog. Others say these were pictured among the stars by Father Liber. In the meantime in the district of the Athenians many girls without cause committed suicide by hanging, because Erigone, in dying, had prayed that Athenian girls should meet the same kind of death she was to suffer if the Athenians did not investigate the death of Icarius and avenge it. And so when these things happened as described, Apollo gave oracular response to them when they consulted him, saying that they should appease Erigone if they wanted to be free from the affliction. So since she hanged herself, they instituted a practice of swinging themselves on ropes with bars of wood attached, so that the one hanging could be moved by the wind. They instituted this as a solemn ceremony, and they perform it both privately and publicly, and call it alétis, aptly terming her mendicant who, unknown and lonely, sought for her father with the god. The Greeks call such people alétides.” – Hyginus, Astronomica 2.2

“For the Khoes, for the public slaves: victim, 23 drachmae; pots, 5; two measures of wine, 16.” – IG ii 1672.204

“He was of an age for ‘Khoic’ things, but Fate anticipated the Khoes.” – IG ii 13139.71

“Whoever of the Iobacchoi receives an allotment or office or position, let him make a libation to the Iobacchoi worthy of his position – marriage, birth, Khoes, ephebia, civil service, staff-bearing, council …” – IG ii 1368 127-31

“For the Limnaian one they held festivals with choruses.” – Kallimakhos, Hekale fr. 305

“Nor did the morn of the Broaching of the Jars pass unheeded, nor that whereon the Pitchers of Orestes bring a white day for slaves. And when he kept the yearly festival of Ikarios’ child, thy day, Erigone, lady most sorrowful of Attic women, he invited to a banquet his familiars, and among them a stranger who was newly visiting Egypt, whither he had come on some private business.” – Kallimakhos, Aitia 1.1

“Khoes were once called pilikai. The type of pitcher earlier was like the Panathenaic amphorae, but later it took on the form of an oinochoe, like those put out at the festival, a sort that they once called olpai, using them for the pouring of wine just as Ion of Chios says in the Eurutidai. But now such a pitcher, having been sanctified in some manner, is used only in the festival, and the one for daily use has changed its form.” – Krates, Attic Dialect Book Two as cited in Athenaios, Deipnosophistai 11.495a-c

“Let the priest have the robe he wishes and a golden crown in the month Lenaion and Anthesterion so that he may lead those bringing home Dionysos in the proper way.” – LSAM 37.19-24

“At the festival the priests and priestesses of Bacchic Dionysos will bring the god home from dawn to dusk.” – LSAM 48.21-23

“As for their cups made by Therikles and their goblets and their gold and all the gods produced among them and envied in their courts, I would not take them in exchange for our yearly Khoes and the Lenaia in the theater and yesterday’s talk and the schools in the Lyceum and the holy Academy, I swear by Dionysos and his bacchic ivy, with which I wish to be crowned more than with Ptolemaic diadems, for where in Egypt will I see an assembly, a vote taken? Where the democratic thron speaking its mind? Where the law-givers with ivy in their holy hair? What roped enclosure? What election? What Khutroi? What potter’s quarter, agora, courts, beautiful acropolis, mysteries, nearby Salamis, the Narrows, Psyttalia, Marathon?” – Menander, Epistles 4.18.10

“Anthesteria is for three days, the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth – but the twelfth day is most special.” – P. Oxy. VI 853

“At the temple of Dionysos in Lemnai the Athenians bring the new wine from the jars and mix it in honor of the god and then they drink it themselves. Because of this custom Dionysos is called Limnaios, because the wine was mixed with water and then for the first time drunk diluted. Therefore the streams were called Nymphs and Nurses of Dionysos because mixed-in water increases the wine. Then having taken pleasure in the mixture they hymned Dionysos in songs, dancing and addressing him as Euanthes and Dithyrambos and the Bacchic One and Bromios.” – Phanodemos, cited in Athenaios’ Deipnosophistai 11.465a

“Children in Athens during the month of Anthesterion are crowned with flowers on the third year from birth.” – Philostratos, Heroikos 12.2

“Apollonios said he was amazed at the Athenians regarding the Dionysia, which they celebrate in the season of Anthesterion, for he thought they visited the theater to hear monodies and songs from the parabasis and all the other lyrics belonging to comedy and tragedy, but when he heard that they dance twists to the sound of the aulos and that amid both Orphic epics and theologies they act, sometimes as Seasons sometimes as Nymphs and sometimes as Bacchai, he was amazed at this.” – Philostratos, Life of Apollonios of Tyana 4.21

“For in the month Anthesterion a trireme raised into the air is escorted into the agora which the priest of Dionysos steers like a helmsman with its lines loose from the sea.” – Philostratos, Lives of the Sophists 1.25.1

“A plant that at the Khoes they chewed from dawn as a preventative medicine. They also smeared their houses with pitch for this is unpollutable. Therefore also at the birth of children they smear their houses to drive away daimones.” – Photius s.v. buckthorn

“On the day of the month Anthesterion at which the souls of the departed are thought to come up, they chewed buckthorn beginning at dawn and smeared the doors with pitch.” – Photius s.v. polluted days

“This is about those mocking openly. For in Athens at the festival of the Khoes those reveling on the wagons mocked and reviled those they met and they did the same also at the Lenaia.” – Photius s.v. that from the wagons

“Some say this proverb was said because of the number of Karian slaves, since they were feasting at the Anthesteria and not working. When the festival ended they said, sending them out to work, ‘to the door, Kares; it’s no longer Anthesteria.’ But some have the proverb as follows: ‘to the door, Keres; Anthesteria is not inside,’ since the souls were going throughout the city in the Anthesteria.” – Photius s.v. To the door Kares, it’s no longer Anthesteria

“Once when it was the festival of the Khoes the two of them were feasting by themselves, and Apemantos said, ‘What a nice symposium the two of us are having, Timon,’ and Timon replied, ‘Indeed, if only you weren’t here.’” – Plutarch, Life of Antony 70

“And yet what difference does it make if one puts a kylix down before each of the guests and a khous, having filled it with wine, and an individual table just as the sons of Demophon are said to have done for Orestes, and orders him to drink ignoring the others, as opposed to what now happens where, putting out meat and bread, each feasts as if from his private manger except that we are not compelled to be silent as were those feasting Orestes.” – Plutarch, Questiones Convivales 2.10.1

“At Athens on the eleventh of the month of Anthesterion they begin drinking new wine, calling the day Pithoigia. And in the old days, it is likely, they poured a libation of wine before drinking, and prayed that the use of the drug be harmless and healthful or saving for them. Among us Boiotians the month is called Prostaterios and it is customary, sacrificing on the sixth to the Agathos Daimon, to taste the wine after a west wind. This wind of all the winds especially moves and changes the wine and wine that has already avoided it seems to remain stable.” – Plutarch, Questiones Convivales 3.7.1

“And those drinking the new wine first drink it in the month Anthesterion after winter. We call that day the day belonging to the Agathos Daimon; the Athenians call it Pithoigia.” – Plutarch, Questiones Convivales 8.10.3

“During the month of Anthesterion they have many memorial ceremonies for the destruction and ruin brought about by rain, since around that time the Flood happened.” – Plutarch, Life of Sulla 14

“They also introduced laws concerning the comic actors, that there should be a contest in the theater during the Khutroi and that the winner be chosen for the city.” – Plutarch, Life of the Ten Orators 841

Khous is an Attic measure, holding eight kotylai. For those inviting people to a feast used to put out crowns and perfume and hors d’oeuvres and other such things while those who were invited brought stews and a basket and a khous.” – Scholium on Aristophanes’ Acharnians 961

“For at the Khoes there was a contest about drinking a khous first, and the winner was crowned with a leafy crown and got a sack of wine. They drink at the sound of a trumpet. An inflated sack was set as a prize in the festival of Khoes, on which those drinking for the contest stood, and the one drinking first as victor got the winesack. They drank a quantity like a khous.” – Scholium on Aristophanes’ Acharnians 1002

“The Khutroi and Khoes are celebrated in Athens, at which, boiling pansperma in a pot, they sacrifice to Dionysos alone and Hermes.” – Scholium on Aristophanes’ Acharnians 1076

“The King had care of the contest of the khous and gave the prize to the victor, the winesack.” – Scholium on Aristophanes’ Acharnians 1224f

Limnai. A sacred place of Dionysos in which there is a house and shrine of the god.” – Scholium on Aristophanes’ Frogs 216

At the beginning and the end of the pithos. And among the ancestral customs there is a festival Pithoigia, in accord with which it was not proper to keep slave or hired hand from the enjoyment of wine but, having sacrificed, to give all a share of Dionysos’ gift.” – Scholium to Hesiod’s Works and Days 368

“Anthesterion: It is the eighth month amongst the Athenians, sacred to Dionysos. It is so called because most things bloom (anthein) from the earth at that time.” – Suidas s.v. Anthesterion

“And again: Orestes arrived in Athens – it was a festival of Dionysos Lenaios, and since, having murdered his mother, he might not be able to drink with them, something along the following lines was contrived. Having set up pitchers of wine for each of the celebrants he ordered them to drink from it, with no common sharing between them; thus Orestes would not drink from the same bowl [as anyone else] but neither would be vexed by drinking alone. Hence the origin of the Athenian festival of the Pitchers.” – Suidas s.v. Khoes

“Those who had survived the great deluge of Deukalion boiled pots of every kind of seed, and from this the festival gets its name. It is their custom to sacrifice to Hermes Khthonios. No one tastes the pot. The survivors did this in propitiation to Hermes on behalf of those who had died.” – Theopompos, in the Scholia to Aristophanes’ Acharnians 1076

“The Athenians have the custom of sacrificing to none of the Olympians on Khutroi, but to Chthonic Hermes alone. None of the priests may taste the pot which all throughout the city make. With this offering they beseech Hermes on behalf of the dead.” – Theopompos, in the Scholia to Aristophanes’ Frogs 218

“Outside the Acropolis … is the sanctuary of Dionysos in Limnai, for whom the older Dionysia are celebrated on the twelfth in the month Anthesterion, just as also the Ionians descended from the Athenians still customarily do so.” – Thucydides 2.15.4

“In the ancestral festivals of the Greeks askolia and pithoigia were performed in honor of Dionysos, that is, his wine. The askolia happened as followed: placing wine-skins blown up and filled with air on the ground they leapt on them from above with one foot and were carried and they often slipped down and fell to the ground. They did this, as I said, honoring Dionysos, for the wineskin is the skin of a goat and the goat disgraces himself by eating the shoots of the grapevine. The pithoigia was a public symposium for, opening the pithoi, they gave a share of the gift of Dionysos to all.” – Tzetzes on Hesiod’s Works and Days 368

“Some say this proverb was said because of the number of Karian slaves, since they were feasting at the Anthesteria and not working. When the festival ended they said this, sending them out to work. Others maintain that the proverb came about because the Kares once held a part of Attica, and whenever the Athenians held the festival of Anthesteria, they gave them a share of the libations and received them in the city and in their houses, but after the festival, when some of the Kares were left behind in Athens, those who came upon them said the proverb as a joke to them.” – Zenobius s.v. To the door Kares, it’s no longer Anthesteria

Lucian, On Slander 16

“A very effective form of slander is the one that is based on opposition to the hearer’s tastes. For instance, in the court of the Ptolemy who was called Dionysos there was once a man who accused Demetrios, the Platonic philosopher, of drinking nothing but water and of being the only person who did not wear women’s clothes at the Dionysia. He was summoned next morning, and had to drink in public, dress up in gauze, clash and dance to the cymbals, or he would have been put to death for disapproving the King’s life, and setting up for a critic of his luxurious ways.” – Lucian, On Slander 16

BGU 6.121

“By the Order of the King. Those in the country districts who impart initiation into the mysteries of Dionysos are to come down by river to Alexandria, those residing not farther than Naukratis within 10 days after the promulgation of this decree, those beyond Naukratis within 20 days, and register themselves before Aristobulus at the registry office within 3 days of the day of their arrival, and they shall immediately declare from whom they have received the rites for three generations back and give in the Sacred Discourse (Hieroi Logoi) sealed, each man writing upon his copy his own name.” – BGU 6.121

P.Hal. 1

“Apollonios to Zoilos, greeting. We have released the [teachers] of letters and masters of gymnastic and [performers of] the rites of Dionysos and victors in the Alexandrian contest and in the Basileia and Ptolemaia from the tax on salt, them and their (descendants, as the king] has ordered. Farewell. Year …” – P.Hal. 1

Sokrates the Rhodian, History of the Civil War Book 3

“But Cleopatra having met Antony in Cilicia, prepared a royal entertainment, in which every dish was golden and inlaid with precious stones, wonderfully chased and embossed. And the walls were hung with cloths embroidered in gold and purple. And she had twelve triclinia laid; and invited Antony to a banquet, and desired him to bring with him whatever companions he pleased. And he being astonished at the magnificence of the sight, expressed his surprise; and she, smiling, said that she made him a present of everything which he saw, and invited him to sup with her again the next day, and to bring his friends and captains with him. And then she prepared a banquet by far more splendid than the former one, so as to make that first one appear contemptible; and again she presented to him everything that there was on the table; and she desired each of his captains to take for his own the couch on which he lay, and the goblets which were set before each couch. And when they were departing she gave to all those of the highest rank palanquins, with the slaves for palanquin bearers; and to the rest she gave horses, adorned with golden furniture: and to every one she gave Ethiopian boys, to bear torches before them. And on the fourth day she paid more than a talent for roses; and the floor of the chamber for the men was strewed a cubit deep, nets being spread over the blooms. Antony himself, when he was staying at Athens, a short time after this, prepared a very superb scaffold to spread over the theatre, covered with green wood such as is seen in the caves sacred to Bacchus; and from this scaffold he suspended drums and fawn-skins, and all the other toys which one names in connection with Bacchus, and then sat there with his friends, getting drunk from daybreak, a band of musicians, whom he had sent for from Italy, playing to him all the time, and all the Greeks around being collected to see the sight. And presently, he crossed over to the Acropolis, the whole city of Athens being illuminated with lamps suspended from the roof; and after that lie ordered himself to be proclaimed as Bacchus throughout all the cities in that district.” – Sokrates the Rhodian, History of the Civil War Book 3 [Quoted in Athenaios, 4.29]

Plutarch, Life of Antony 26.1-3

“Though Kleopatra received many letters of summons both from Antony himself and from his friends, she was so bold as to sail up the river Cydnus in a barge with gilded poop, its sails spread purple, its rowers urging it on with silver oars to the sound of the flute blended with pipes and lutes. She herself reclined beneath a canopy spangled with gold, adorned like Venus in a painting, while boys like Loves in paintings stood on either side and fanned her. Likewise also the fairest of her serving-maidens, attired like Nereïds and Graces, were stationed, some at the rudder-sweeps, and others at the reefing-ropes. Wondrous odours from countless incense-offerings diffused themselves along the river-banks. Of the inhabitants, some accompanied her on either bank of the river from its very mouth, while others went down from the city to behold the sight. The throng in the market-place gradually streamed away, until at last Antony himself, seated on his tribunal, was left alone. And a rumour spread on every hand that Venus was come to revel with Bacchus for the good of Asia.” – Plutarch, Life of Antony 26.1-3

Herodotos, The Histories 4.79

“Skyles conceived a desire to be initiated into the rites of Dionysos Bakcheios; and when he was about to begin the sacred mysteries, he saw the greatest vision. He had in the city of the Borysthenites a spacious house, grand and costly (the same house I just mentioned), all surrounded by sphinxes and griffins worked in white marble; this house was struck by a thunderbolt. And though the house burnt to the ground, Skyles none the less performed the rite to the end. Now the Skythians reproach the Greeks for this Bacchic revelling, saying that it is not reasonable to set up a god who leads men to madness. So when Skyles had been initiated into the Bacchic rite, some one of the Borysthenites scoffed at the Skythians: ‘You laugh at us, Skythians, because we play the Bacchant and the god possesses us; but now this deity has possessed your own king, so that he plays the Bacchant and is maddened by the god. If you will not believe me, follow me now and I will show him to you.’ The leading men among the Skythians followed him, and the Borysthenite brought them up secretly onto a tower; from which, when Skyles passed by with his company of worshippers, they saw him playing the Bacchant; thinking it a great misfortune, they left the city and told the whole army what they had seen. After this Skyles rode off to his own place; but the Skythians rebelled against him and slew him.” – Herodotos, The Histories 4.79

Plutarch, Life of Theseus 23.2

“It was Theseus who instituted also the Athenian festival of the Oskhophoria. For it is said that he did not take away with him all the maidens on whom the lot fell at that time, but picked out two young men of his acquaintance who had fresh and girlish faces, but eager and manly spirits, and changed their outward appearance almost entirely by giving them warn baths and keeping them out of the sun, by arranging their hair, and by smoothing their skin and beautifying their complexions with unguents; he also taught them to imitate maidens as closely as possible in their speech, their dress, and their gait, and to leave no difference that could be observed, and then enrolled them among the maidens who were going to Krete, and was undiscovered by any. And when he was come back, he himself and these two young men headed a procession, arrayed as those are now arrayed who carry the vine-branches. They carry these in honor of Dionysos and Ariadne, and because of their part in the story; or rather, because they came back home at the time of the vintage. And the women called Deipnophoroi, or supper-carriers, take part in the procession and share in the sacrifice, in imitation of the mothers of the young men and maidens on whom the lot fell, for these kept coming with bread and meat for their children. And tales are told at this festival, because these mothers, for the sake of comforting and encouraging their children, spun out tales for them. At any rate, these details are to be found in the history of Damon.” – Plutarch, Life of Theseus 23.2

Plutarch, On Isis and Osiris 364e-365e

“That Osiris is identical with Dionysos who could more fittingly know than yourself, Klea? For you are at the head of the inspired maidens of Delphi, and have been consecrated by your father and mother in the holy rites of Osiris. If, however, for the benefit of others it is needful to adduce proofs of this identity, let us leave undisturbed what may not be told, but the public ceremonies which the priests perform in the burial of the Apis, when they convey his body on an improvised bier, do not in any way come short of a Bacchic procession; for they fasten skins of fawns about themselves, and carry Bacchic wands and indulge in shoutings and movements exactly as do those who are under the spell of the Dionysiac ecstasies. For the same reason many of the Greeks make statues of Dionysos in the form of a bull; and the women of Elis invoke him, praying that the god may come with the hoof of a bull; and the epithet applied to Dionysos among the Argives is ‘Son of the Bull.’ They call him up out of the water by the sound of trumpets, at the same time casting into the depths a lamb as an offering to the Keeper of the Gate. The trumpets they conceal in Bacchic wands, as Socrates has stated in his treatise On The Holy Ones. Furthermore, the tales regarding the Titans and the rites celebrated by night agree with the accounts of the dismemberment of Osiris and his revivification and regenesis. Similar agreement is found too in the tales about their sepulchres. The Egyptians, as has already been stated, point out tombs of Osiris in many places, and the people of Delphi believe that the remains of Dionysos rest with them close beside the oracle; and the Holy Ones offer a secret sacrifice in the shrine of Apollo whenever the devotees of Dionysos wake the God of the Mystic Basket. To show that the Greeks regard Dionysos as the lord and master not only of wine, but of the nature of every sort of moisture, it is enough that Pindar be our witness, when he says ‘May gladsome Dionysos swell the fruit upon the trees, the hallowed splendour of harvest time.’ For this reason all who reverence Osiris are prohibited from destroying a cultivated tree or blocking up a spring of water.” – Plutarch, On Isis and Osiris 364e-365e

Plutarch, On Isis and Osiris 353e-c

“As for wine, those who serve the god in Heliopolis bring none at all into the shrine, since they feel that it is not seemly to drink in the day-time while their Lord and King is looking upon them. The others use wine, but in great moderation. They have many periods of holy living when wine is prohibited, and in these they spend their time exclusively in studying, learning, and teaching religious matters. Their kings also were wont to drink a limited quantity prescribed by the sacred writings, as Hecataeus has recorded; and the kings are priests. The beginning of their drinking dates from the reign of Psammetichus; before that they did not drink wine nor use it in libation as something dear to the gods, thinking it to be the blood of those who had once battled against the gods, and from whom, when they had fallen and had become commingled with the earth, they believed vines to have sprung. This is the reason why drunkenness drives men out of their senses and crazes them, inasmuch as they are then filled with the blood of their forbears. These tales Eudoxus says in the second book of his World Travels are thus related by the priests.” – Plutarch, On Isis and Osiris 353e-c

Demosthenes, Against Neaira 74-9

“In ancient times, Athenians, there was a monarchy in our city, and the kingship belonged to those who in turn were outstanding because of being indigenous. The king used to make all of the sacrifices, and his wife used to perform those which were most holy and ineffable – and appropriately since she was queen. But when Theseus centralized the city and created a democracy, and the city became populace, the people continued no less than before to select the king, electing him from among the most distinguished in noble qualities. And they passed a law that his wife should be an Athenian who has never had intercourse with another man, but that he should marry a virgin, in order that according to ancestral custom she might offer the ineffably holy rites on behalf of the city, and that the customary observances might be done for the gods piously, and that nothing might be neglected or altered. They inscribed this law on a stele and set it beside the altar in the sanctuary of Dionysos En Limnais. This stele is still standing today, displaying the inscription in worn Attic letters. Thus the people bore witness about their own piety toward the god and left a testament for their successors that we require her who will be given to the god as his bride and will perform the sacred rites to be that kind of woman. For these reasons they set in the most ancient and holy temple of Dionysos in Limnai, so that most people could not see the inscription. For it is opened once each year, on the twelfth of the month Anthesterion. These sacred and holy rites for the celebration of which your ancestors provided so well and so magnificently, it is your duty, men of Athens, to maintain with devotion, and likewise to punish those who insolently defy your laws and have been guilty of shameless impiety toward the gods; and this for two reasons: first, that they may pay the penalty for their crimes; and, secondly, that others may take warning, and may fear to commit any sin against the gods and against the state. I wish now to call before you the sacred herald who waits upon the wife of the king, when she administers the oath to the venerable priestesses as they carry their baskets in front of the altar before they touch the victims, in order that you may hear the oath and the words that are pronounced, at least as far as it is permitted you to hear them; and that you may understand how august and holy and ancient the rites are. I live a holy life and am pure and unstained by all else that pollutes and by commerce with man and I will celebrate the feast of the wine god and the Iobacchic feast in honor of Dionysos in accordance with custom and at the appointed times. You have heard the oath and the accepted rites handed down by our fathers, as far as it is permitted to speak of them, and how this woman, whom Stephanos betrothed to Theogenes when the latter was king, as his own daughter, performed these rites, and administered the oath to the venerable priestesses; and you know that even the women who behold these rites are not permitted to speak of them to anyone else. Let me now bring before you a piece of evidence which was, to be sure, given in secret, but which I shall show by the facts themselves to be clear and true.” – Demosthenes, Against Neaira 74-9

Demosthenes, Against Neaira 73

“And this woman offered for you on behalf of the city the unspeakably holy rites, and she saw what it was inappropriate for her, being a foreigner, to see; and being a foreigner she entered where no other of all the Athenians except the wife of the king enters; she administered the oath to the gerarai who serve at the rites, and she was given to Dionysos as his bride, and she performed on behalf of the city the traditional acts, many sacred and ineffable ones, towards the gods.” – Demosthenes, Against Neaira 73

Strabo, Geography 4.4.6

“In the ocean, Poseidonios says, there is a small island, not very far out to sea, situated off the outlet of the River Leigeros in Gaul; and the island is inhabited by the women of the Samnitai, and they are possessed by Dionysos and make this god propitious by appeasing him with mystic initiations as well as other sacred performances; and no man sets foot on the island, although the women themselves, sailing from it, have intercourse with the men and then return again. And, he says, it is a custom of theirs once a year to unroof the temple and roof it again on the same day before sunset, each woman brining her load to add to the roof; but the woman whose load falls out of her arms is rent to pieces by the rest, and they carry the pieces round the temple with the cry of ‘Euah’, and do not cease until their frenzy ceases; and it is always the case, he says, that some one jostles the woman who is to suffer this fate.” – Strabo, Geography 4.4.6

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8.23.1

“In Alea at Arkadia there is a temple of Dionysos with an image. In honor of Dionysos they celebrate every other year a festival called Skiereia, and at this festival, in obedience to a response from Delphoi, women are flogged.” – Pausanias, Description of Greece 8.23.1

Pausanias, Description of Greece 10.4.3

“Homer speaks of the beautiful dancing-floors of Panopeus, I could not understand until I was taught by the women whom the Athenians call Thyiades. The Thyiades are Attic women, who with the Delphian women go to Parnassos every other year and celebrate orgies in honor of Dionysos. It is the custom for these Thyiades to hold dances at places, including Panopeus, along the road from Athens. The epithet Homer applies to Panopeus is thought to refer to the dance of the Thyiades.” – Pausanias, Description of Greece 10.4.3

Pausanias, Description of Greece 3.20.3

“In the city Brysiai in Lakedaimonia there still remains a temple of Dionysos with an image in the open. But the image in the temple women only may see, for women by themselves perform in secret the sacrificial rites.” – Pausanias, Description of Greece 3.20.3

Plutarch, On the Bravery of Women 13

“When the despots in Phocis had seized Delphi, and the Thebans were waging war against them in what has been called the Sacred War, the women devotees of Dionysos, to whom they give the name Thyiads, in Bacchic frenzy wandering at night unwittingly arrived at Amphissa. As they were tired out, and sober reason had not yet returned to them, they flung themselves down in the market-place, and were lying asleep, some here, some there. The wives of the men of Amphissa, fearing, because their city had become allied with the Phocians, and numerous soldiers of the despots were present there, that the Thyiads might be treated with indignity, all ran out into the market-place, and, taking their stand round about in silence, did not go up to them while they were sleeping, but when they arose from their slumber, one devoted herself to one of the strangers and another to another, bestowing attentions on them and offering them food. Finally, the women of Amphissa, after winning the consent of their husbands, accompanied the strangers, who were safely escorted as far as the fronteir.” – Plutarch, On the Bravery of Women 13

Plutarch, Life of Alexander 2.5-6

“All the women of Makedonia were addicted to the Orphic rites and the orgies of Dionysos from very ancient times (being called Klodones and Mimallones), and imitated in many ways the practices of the Edonian women and the Thracian women about Mount Haemus, from whom, as it would seem, the word ‘threskeuein‘ came to be applied to the celebration of extravagant and superstitious ceremonies. Now Olympias, who affected these divine possessions more zealously than other women, and carried out these divine inspirations in wilder fashion, used to provide the revelling companies with great tame serpents, which would often lift their heads from out the ivy and the mystic winnowing baskets, or coil themselves about the wands and garlands of the women, thus terrifying the men.” – Plutarch, Life of Alexander 2.5-6

Plutarch, Life of Alexander 67.1-3

“Accordingly, after refreshing his forces here, he set out and marched for seven days through Carmania in a revelling rout. He himself was conveyed slowly along by eight horses, while he feasted day and night continuously with his companions on a dais built upon a lofty and conspicuous scaffolding of oblong shape; and wagons without number followed, some with purple and embroidered canopies, others protected from the sun by boughs of trees which were kept fresh and green, conveying the rest of his friends and commanders, who were all garlanded and drinking. Not a shield was to be seen, not a helmet, not a spear, but along the whole march with cups and drinking-horns and flagons the soldiers kept dipping wine from huge casks and mixing-bowls and pledging one another, some as they marched along, others lying down; while pipes and flutes, stringed instruments and song, and revelling cries of women, filled every place with abundant music. Then, upon this disordered and straggling procession there followed also the sports of bacchanalian license, as though Bacchus himself were present and conducting the revel.” – Plutarch, Life of Alexander 67.1-3

Diodoros Sikeliotis, Library of History 17.72.1-6

“Alexander held games in honour of his victories. He performed costly sacrifices to the gods and entertained his friends bountifully. While they were feasting and the drinking was far advanced, as they began to be drunken a madness took possession of the minds of the intoxicated guests. At this point one of the women present, Thais by name and Attic by origin, said that for Alexander it would be the finest of all his feats in Asia if he joined them in a triumphal procession, set fire to the palaces, and permitted women’s hands in a minute to extinguish the famed accomplishments of the Persians. This was said to men who were still young and giddy with wine, and so, as would be expected, someone shouted out to form the comus and to light torches, and urged all to take vengeance for the destruction of the Greek temples. Others took up the cry and said that this was a deed worthy of Alexander alone. When the king had caught fire at their words, all leaped up from their couches and passed the word along to form a victory procession in honour of Dionysos. Promptly many torches were gathered. Female musicians were present at the banquet, so the king led them all out for the comus to the sound of voices and flutes and pipes, Thais the courtesan leading the whole performance. She was the first, after the king, to hurl her blazing torch into the palace. As the others all did the same, immediately the entire palace area was consumed, so great was the conflagration. It was most remarkable that the impious act of Xerxes, king of the Persians, against the acropolis at Athens should have been repaid in kind after many years by one woman, a citizen of the land which had suffered it, and in sport.” – Diodoros Sikeliotis, Library of History 17.72.1-6

Diodoros Sikeliotis, Library of History 4.3.2-5

“And the Boiotians and other Greeks and the Thracians, in memory of the campaign in India, have established sacrifices every other year to Dionysos, and believe that at that time the god reveals himself to human beings. Consequently in many Greek cities every other year Bacchic bands of women gather, and it is lawful for the maidens to carry the thyrsos and to join in the frenzied revelry, crying out ‘Euai!’ and honouring the god; while the matrons, forming in groups, offer sacrifices to the god and celebrate his mysteries and, in general, extol with hymns the presence of Dionysos, in this manner acting the parts of maenads who, as history records, were of old the companions of the god. He also punished here and there throughout all the inhabited world many men who were thought impious, the most renowned among the number being Pentheus and Lykourgos. And since the discovery of wine and the gift of it and because of the greater vigour which comes to the bodies of those who partake of it, it is the custom, they say, when unmixed wine is served during a meal to greet it with the words, ‘To the Good Deity!’ but when the cup is passed around after the meal diluted with water, to cry out ‘To Zeus Saviour!’ For the drinking of unmixed wine results in a state of madness, but when it is mixed with the rain from Zeus the delight and pleasure continue, but the ill effect of madness and stupor is avoided.” – Diodoros Sikeliotis, Library of History 4.3.2-5

Tacitus, Annals 11.31.2

“Messalina meanwhile, more wildly profligate than ever, was celebrating in mid-autumn a representation of the vintage in her new home. The presses were being trodden; the vats were overflowing; women girt with skins were dancing, as Bacchanals dance in their worship or their frenzy. Messalina with flowing hair shook the thyrsus, and Silius at her side, crowned with ivy and wearing the buskin, moved his head to some lascivious chorus.” – Tacitus, Annals 11.31.2