AR201 Lecture Notes - Timbrel, Pythian Games, Dithyramb

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Dionysos and Apollo: Irrational versus Rational. These two Olympian deities
appear to be opposites of each other, each of which needs to be honoured by
mortals in order to sustain “normal” human life. Demonstrate which of their
myths best illustrate their opposition, what its nature is, and how the myths
suggest it should be resolved.
Birth in Ovid's Metamorphoses
Zeus disguised as a mortal impregnated Semele; was killed by Zeus, appearing in
his real form, after instigations of disguised Hera to Semele (wanted him to appear to
her as he did to Hera)
Hermes saves the fetus and gives it to Zeus to sew it into his thigh
Dionysus born 3 months later (twice born - diplogennemenos)
Although he had a male mother he was not seen as merely a demi-god
Kantharos: drinking cup
Crown of ivy
Thyrsos: staff with pine cone on top
In some areas known as dendrites "he of the trees"
Feline attributes: panther/leopard
Wine = ambivalent - for enjoyment but cause mental debilitation
Bacchae - women possessed by Dio; sometimes called maenads
Satyrs - male devotees of Dionysos
Festival of Anthesteria, Athens: associated with the new wine each year and a
springtime arrival of Dio from across the sea
God of: drama, wine, intoxication, and creative ecstasy
Evidence of Irrationality
He was sensitive to those who resisted him as a god and resisted his cult/teachings
Myth of Lykourgas, in Thrace: driven mad and eaten/torn apart by horses
Tried to take Dio prisoner but Dio took refuge with Thetis’ mother Nereid; then
Dio returns to Thrace and drives Lykourgas mad to the point where he cuts
off the legs of his own son
Minyads (daughters of king Minyas) of Orchomenos, Boetia
Minyads refused to participate in the worship of Dio; criticized those who did
Guys and girls warned the Minyads of their falling
Dio turned into a panther, lion, and bull right before their eyes; filled with the
sound of drums and symbols
Threads of the loom turned into vines; Minyads turned on one child and ate her;
they remained wing monsters - like bats or owls
In Homeric Hymn to Dionysos
Dio is kidnapped by pirates who do not believe he is a god
Turned himself into a lion and a bear; the sailors are so frightened that they jump
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