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Chorus Where on Nysa, which nourishes wild beasts, or on Corycian heights, do you lead with your thyrsos the bands of revelers? Perhaps in the deep-wooded lairs of Olympus, where Orpheus once playing the lyre drew together trees by his songs, drew together the beasts of the fields. Blessed Pieria, the Joyful one reveres you and will come to lead the dance in revelry; having crossed the swiftly flowing Axius he will bring the whirling Maenads, leaving Lydias, giver of wealth to mortals, the father who they say fertilizes the land of beautiful horses with fairest streams.
With regard to these two, Pan and Dionysus, one may follow whatever story one thinks most credible; but I give my own opinion concerning them here. Had Dionysus son of Semele and Pan son of Penelope appeared in Hellas and lived there to old age, like Heracles the son of Amphitryon, it might have been said that they too (like Heracles) were but men, named after the older Pan and Dionysus, the gods of antiquity; but as it is, the Greek story has it that no sooner was Dionysus born than Zeus sewed him up in his thigh and carried him away to Nysa in Ethiopia beyond Egypt; and as for Pan, the Greeks do not know what became of him after his birth. It is therefore plain to me that the Greeks learned the names of these two gods later than the names of all the others, and trace the birth of both to the time when they gained the knowledge.
These were the governments and appointments of tribute. The Persian country is the only one which I have not recorded as tributary; for the Persians live free from all taxes. As for those on whom no tribute was laid, but who rendered gifts instead, they were, firstly, the Ethiopians nearest to Egypt, whom Cambyses conquered in his march towards the long-lived Ethiopians; and also those who dwell about the holy Nysa,Probably the mountain called Barkal in Upper Nubia; this is called “sacred” in hieroglyphic inscriptions. where Dionysus is the god of their festivals. These Ethiopians and their neighbors use the same seed as the Indian Callantiae, and they live underground. These together brought every other year and still bring a gift of two choenixesThe choenix was a measure of about the capacity of a quart. of unrefined gold, two hundred blocks of ebony, five Ethiopian boys, and twenty great elephants' tusks. Gifts were also required of the Colchians and their neighbors as far as the C
For some say, at Dracanum; and some, on windy Icarus; and some, in Naxos, O Heaven-born, InsewnDionysus, after his untimely birth from Semele, was sewn into the thigh of Zeus.; and others by the deep-eddying river Alpheus that pregnant Semele bare you to Zeus the thunder-lover. And others yet, lord, say you were born in Thebes; but all these lie. The Father of men and gods gave you birth remote from men and secretly from white-armed Hera. There is a certain Nysa, a mountain most high and richly grown with woods, far off in Phoenice, near the streams of Aegyptus “and men will lay up for hersc. Semele. Zeus is here speaking. many offerings in her shrines. And as these things are three,The reference is apparently to something in the body of the hymn, now lost. so shall mortals ever sacrifice perfect hecatombs to you at your feasts each three years.” The Son of Cronos spoke and nodded with his dark brows. And the divine locks of the king flowed forward from his immortal head, and he made
I begin to sing of ivy-crowned Dionysus, the loud-crying god, splendid son of Zeus and glorious Semele. The rich-haired Nymphs received him in their bosoms from the lord his father and fostered and nurtured him carefully in the dells of Nysa, where by the will of his father he grew up in a sweet-smelling cave, being reckoned among the immortals. But when the goddesses had brought him up, a god oft hymned, then began he to wander continually through the woody coombes, thickly wreathed with ivy and laurel. And the Nymphs followed in his train with him for their leader; and the boundless forest was filled with their outcry. And so hail to you, Dionysus, god of abundant clusters! Grant that we may come again rejoicing to this season, and from that season onwards for many a year.
Chorus The smoky glare of torches sees you above the cliffs of the twin peaks, where the Corycian nymphs move inspired by your godhead,and Castalia's stream sees you, too. The ivy-mantled slopes of Nysa's hills and the shore green with many-clustered vines send you, when accompanied by the cries of your divine words,you visit the avenues of Thebes.