« PreviousContinue »
highly celebrated in the odes of Anacreon, who constantly speaks of him as the mirth-inspiring god—the presiding deity of festive meetings.
The Bacchanalia, or orgies introduced by Danaus and his daughters into Greece, were sacred to Bacchus, and were usually commemorated with licentious rites.
Bacchus is sometimes represented as a young man, with flowing robes and hair, crowned with vine-leaves, a thyrsus in his hand, and surrounded by satyrs and nymphs, dancing to the sound of musical instruments, with garlands of ivy, vineleaves, grapes, &c.; at others, as an old man, but with nearly the same appendages. He was regarded as a beneficent deity, and taught mankind the art of agriculture, the manner of procuring honey, and, what was to him far more essential, the cultivation of the vine, from the fruit of which he drew his soul-inspiring draughts.
Thou mighty Bromius, hail! from lightning sprung!
Or listen, parent of the genial vine!
Years rolled on years, yet still a blooming boy.
Thou taught'st the tawny Indian to obey,
By thy just vengeance equally were slain.
By thee the Tuscans, who conspired to keep
OVID'S Metamorphoses, book 4.
Æolus was the reputed son of Jupiter and Sergesta, king of the winds and storms; he reigned in the Æolian Isles, the cluster now known by the name of Lipari; during the wanderings of Ulysses, after the Trojan war, he touched at Æolia, and this god bestowed upon him a bag, containing all the winds likely to obstruct his passage in his return to his beloved Ithaca; but his benevolent purpose was frustrated by the sailors, who, imagining that the bag contained treasure, opened it before they reached the port, and were in consequence driven back, and much delayed. The principal agents
of Æolus were Boreas, the god of the north wind; Eurus, of
"This happy port affords our wand'ring fleet
The tempests' lord, and tyrant of the wind;
HOMER'S Odyssey, book 10.
According to some authors, Janus was the son of Cœlus and Hecaté; others affirm that Apollo was his father, and Thessaly his birth-place; it is universally acknowledged that he was the most ancient king who reigned in Italy, where, on the banks of the river Tiber, he built the town of Janiculum, and enjoyed the sovereignty of it until Saturn being expelled from heaven by the conspiracy of his sons, sought a refuge with Janus, who kindly entertained him, and gave him a share of his dominion. By the advice of the nymph Egeria, Numa Pompilius erected a temple of brass, and dedicated it to Janus,