The Children of Zeus: Dionysos (page 117, with art)

Chapter 2: The Olympians

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Bakchylides 5.165-73

“Is there, in the halls of battle-loving Oineus, any daughter, unsubdued by love, whose appearance is like yours? I would gladly make her my splendid bride.” And to him the soul of Meleager, steadfast in battle, answered: “I left behind at home Deianeira.” Greek Text

Hesiod, Ehoiai (Catalogue of Women) fr 25.14-17 MW – Fragmenta Hesiodea, pp. 15-16, ed. R. Merkelbach and M. L. West. Oxford 1967.

Dark-eyed Althaia bore these other children to Oineus, [15] horse-taming Phereus and Agelaos armed with a good ashen spear, Toxeus and king Klymenos equal to Ares, and thick-haired Gorge, and thoughtful Deianeira (Transl. E. Bianchelli)

Sophocles, Trachiniai 6

For I [Deianeira], while still dwelling in the house of my father Oeneus  Greek Text

Boston, Museum of Fine Arts 10.221a-f: six fragments of Attic red-figure psykter by Euphronios, death of Pentheus (named) at the hands of Galene (named) and other Mainades

Museum of Fine Arts

P. Hartwig, “Der Tod des Pentheus,”  Jahrbuch des Kaiserlich Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts 7 (1892), pl. 5

L.D. Caskey and J.D. Beazley, Attic Vase Paintings in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1931) no. 66

Beazley Archive Pottery Database

Hesiod, Ehoiai (Catalogue of Women) fr 131 MW – Fragmenta Hesiodea, p. 64, ed. R. Merkelbach and M. L. West. Oxford 1967.

ApB 2.2.2 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

And Acrisius had a daughter Danae by Eurydice, daughter of Lacedaemon, and Proetus had daughters, Lysippe, Iphinoe, and Iphianassa, by Stheneboea. When these damsels were grown up, they went mad, according to Hesiod, because they would not accept the rites of Dionysus, but according to Acusilaus, because they disparaged the wooden image of Hera. In their madness they roamed over the whole Argive land, and afterwards, passing through Arcadia and the Peloponnese, they ran through the desert in the most disorderly fashion. But Melampus, son of Amythaon by Idomene, daughter of Abas, being a seer and the first to devise the cure by means of drugs and purifications, promised to cure the maidens if he should receive the third part of the sovereignty. When Proetus refused to pay so high a fee for the cure, the maidens raved more than ever, and besides that, the other women raved with them; for they also abandoned their houses, destroyed their own children, and flocked to the desert. Not until the evil had reached a very high pitch did Proetus consent to pay the stipulated fee, and Melampus promised to effect a cure whenever his brother Bias should receive just so much land as himself. Fearing that, if the cure were delayed, yet more would be demanded of him, Proetus agreed to let the physician proceed on these terms. So Melampus, taking with him the most stalwart of the young men, chased the women in a bevy from the mountains to Sicyon with shouts and a sort of frenzied dance. In the pursuit Iphinoe, the eldest of the daughters, expired; but the others were lucky enough to be purified and so to recover their wits.  Greek Text

Scholion Ab at Homer, Iliad 22.29 – Scholia Graeca in Homeri Iliadem 2, pp. 232-33, ed. W. Dindorf and E. Maass. Oxford 1875.

Greek Text

Hesiod, Theogony 942

And Semele, daughter of Cadmus was joined with him in love and bore him a splendid son, joyous Dionysus,—a mortal woman an immortal son. And now they both are gods.  Greek Text

Throne of Apollo at Amyklai (known through Pausanias’ description and modern reconstructions)

Pausanias Description of Greece 3.19.3

On the altar are wrought in relief… Zeus and Hermes are conversing; near stand Dionysus and Semele, with Ino by her side (Greek Text).


Reconstruction of whole throne by A. Furtwängler, from J.G. Frazer, Pausanias’s Description of Greece, vol. III, Commentary (2nd ed. 1913), p. 352

Pindar, Olympian 2.25-27

Long-haired Semele, who died in the roar of the thunderbolt, lives among the Olympians; Pallas is her constant friend, and indeed so is father Zeus, and she is loved by her ivy-crowned son.  Greek Text

Pindar, Pythian 11.1

Daughters of Cadmus, Semele dwelling among the Olympians  Greek Text

Pausanias 2.31.2

In this temple are altars to the gods said to rule under the earth. It is here that they say Semele was brought out of Hell by Dionysus, and that Heracles dragged up the Hound of Hell. But I cannot bring myself to believe even that Semele died at all, seeing that she was the wife of Zeus.  Greek Text

ApB 3.5.3 – Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library)

and having brought up his mother from Hades and named her Thyone, he ascended up with her to heaven.  Greek Text

Naples, Museo Nazionale Stg 172: Attic black-figured cup, busts of Dionysos and Semele

Bullettino archeologico Napoletano N.S.6 (1857-1858), pl. 13

Beazley Archive Pottery Database

Berlin, Antikensammlung F1904: Attic black-figure hydria, Dionysos and Semele

E. Gerhard, Etruskische und Kampanische Vasenbilder des Königlichen Museums zu Berlin (1843), pls. 4-5

Beazley Archive Pottery Database

Homeric Hymn to Pan 19.46

Then all the immortals were glad in heart and Bacchic Dionysus in especial.  Greek Text

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#Dionysos, #Galene, #Mainades, #Pentheus, #Semele

Artistic sources edited by R. Ross Holloway, Elisha Benjamin Andrews Professor Emeritus, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, Brown Univ., and Frances Van Keuren, Prof. Emerita, Lamar Dodd School of Art, Univ. of Georgia, June 2019.

Literary sources edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, February 2021

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