The Library of History

Page 128

Page 128 carry * Javelins deckt with Flowers, and run about like Furies, hollowing and setting forth the Praises of the God. The Married Women likewise run to these Sacrifices, and fill the Air with loud and solemn Hymns to Bacchus, as if he were then present amongst them, in imitation of the Menades, which heretofore (as is said) went along with Bacchus. Amongst many others who were impious and wicked, he especially inflicted Punishment upon Pentheus and Lycurgus. But because the invention and use of Wine is very grateful to Manboth for its pleasant relish, and its strengthening and inlivening of the Body, it is the Custom at Supper-time, when pure and unmixt Wine is freely offer'd to all, to call upon the Good Genius; but after Supper, when the Wine is mixt with Water, to call upon Jupiter Soter: For from pure and unmixt Wine, many times proceeds Madness; but temper'd and allay'd with the Liquor that descends from Jove, it truly chears and refreshes the Spirits, and cures Men of their Madness and Intoxication. Amongst all the Gods (they say) Bacchus and Ceres deserve most to be honour'd by Mankind, because they were by their good Inventions most benefited: For he found out the most pleasant Drink, and she the most strengthening Food.

They report that there was another Bacchus or Dionysus, much ancienter than this, the Son of Jupiter and Proserpina, call'd by some Sabazius, at whose Birth Sacreds and Sacrifices were celebrated in secret, and in the Night, by reason of the filthy Commixtures that were then among them. It's said, he was of a very sharp Wit, and was the first that taught how to yoke Oxen, and by them how to Plow and Sow the Ground; whence they feign him to have Horns. They say likewise, that the Son of Semele was of later times; of a slender and delicate shape of Body, and most comly Feature, exceeding Amorous, and addicted to the Sports of Venus: That he carry'd about with him, multitudes of Women in his Army, furnish'd with Launces wrapt about with all sorts of Flowers: And that the Muses attended him in his Expedition, Virgins excellently learn'd, who by their melodious Singing, Dancing and other pleasant Diversions, exceedingly delighted the God.

Selenus, its said was his Master, his Fauster Father, and Associate in his Wars; and was an excellent Instructor and Teacher, and contributed much to the improvement of Bacchus in Virtue, and the advancement of his Reputation and Honour.

In the time of Battel, he was furnish'd with warlike Weapons, and a Coat of Mail cover'd with a Panther's Skin; in time of Peace, when he celebrated Solemn Festivals, and came into the General Assemblies, he was cloathed with splendid and delicate Apparel; and to prevent the Head-ach by drinking of too much Wine, he wore a Mitre upon his Head, and was call'd Mitrophorus. This gave occasion to Kings afterwards to wear Diadems.

They say, he was call'd Bimater, because both Dionysus's had one Father, but several Mothers; but the Younger succeeded the Elder in the like remarkable Actions, and therefore Posterity through ignorance of the Truth, and being both had one and the same Name, concluded that there was but one Dionysus.

They attribute to him the carrying of a Rod, for the Reasons following: When Wine was first found out, it was drunk pure, not mix'd with Water, so that in many Meetings and solemn Festivals, many times Men drunk to that Excess, that they grew Mad and Furious, and beat one another with Clubs and Staves, insomuch as some were grievously wounded, and others were kill'd; at which Dionysus was much offended; and though he did not altogether forbid the drinking of unmixt Wine, because it was so pleasant and delicious, yet instead of Clubs, he order'd the use of Wanns and small Rods.

Men have given him many Sirnames, according to the several Acts or Circumstances of his Life. For he's call'd Bacchaeus, from the Bacchae, that accompany'd him. Leneus, from pressing of the Grapes at the Winepress. Bromeus or Thunderer, because of the Crash of Thunder that was at the time of his Birth; and for the same Reason he was call'd * Fireborn: He was sirnam'd likewise Thriambus, because he was the first (of whom ever any mention was made) that Triumph'd, when he return'd loaden with many Spoils into his Country from his Indian Expedition. Many other Names were assign'd him, which would be both

Bibliotheca Historica

The first five books