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 We have the testimony of the poets in favour of these opinions. Pindar, in the Dithyrambus, which begins in this manner; “‘formerly the dithyrambus used to creep upon the ground, long and trailing.’” After mentioning the hymns, both ancient and modern, in honour of Bacchus, he makes a digression, and says, “‘for thee, O Mother, resound the large circles of the cymbals, and the ringing crotala; for thee, blaze the torches of the yellow pine;’” where he combines with one another the rites celebrated among the Greeks in honour of Dionysus with those performed among the Phrygians in honour of the mother of the gods. Euripides, in the Bacchæ, does the same thing, con joining, from the proximity of the countries,1 Lydian and Phrygian customs. “"Then forsaking Tmolus, the rampart of Lydia, my maidens, my pride, [whom I took from among barbarians and made the partners and companions of my way, raise on high the tambourine of Phrygia, the tambourine of the great mother Rhea,] my invention. ‘Blest and happy he who, initiated into the sacred rites of the gods, leads a pure life; who celebrating the orgies of the Great Mother Cybele, who brandishing on high the thyrsus and with ivy crowned, becomes Dionysus' worshipper. Haste, Bacchanalians, haste, and bring Bromius Dionysus down from the Phrygian mountains to the wide plains of Greece.’” And again, in what follows, he combines with these the Cretan rites. “‘Hail, sacred haunt of the Curetes, and divine inhabitants of Crete, progenitors of Jove, where for me the triple-crested Corybantes in their caves invented this skin-stretched circle [of the tambourine], who mingled with Bacchic strains the sweet breath of harmony from Phrygian pipes, and placed in Rhea's hands this instrument which re-echoes to the joyous shouts of Bacchanalians: from the Mother Rhea the frantic Satyri succeeded in obtaining it, and introduced it into the dances of the Trieterides, among whom Dionysus delights to dwell.’2” And the chorus in Palamedes says, “‘Not revelling with Dionysus, who together with his mother was cheered with the resounding drums along the tops of Ida.’”
2 The literal translation has been preserved in the text for the sake of
the argument. The following is Potter's translation, in which, however,
great liberty is taken with the original.
To whom the mysteries of the gods are known,
By these his life he sanctifies,
And, deep imbibed their chaste and cleaning lore,
Hallows his soul for converse with the skies.
Enraptur'd ranging the wild mountains o'er,
The mighty mother's orgies leading,
He his head with ivy shading,
His light spear wreath'd with ivy twine,
To Bacchus holds the rites divine.
Haste then, ye Bacchæ, haste.
Attend your god, the son of heaven's high king.
From Phrygia's mountains wild and waste
To beauteous-structur'd Greece your Bacchus bring
O ye Curetes, friendly band,
You, the blest natives of Crete's sacred land,
Who tread those groves, which, dark'ning round,
O'er infant Jove their shelt'ring branches spread,
The Corybantes in their caves profound,
The triple crest high waving on their head,
This timbrel framed, whilst clear and high
Swelled the Bacchic symphony.
The Phrygian pipe attemp'ring sweet,
Their voices to respondence meet,
And placed in Rhea's hands.
The frantic satyrs to the rites advance,
The Bacchæ join the festive bands,
And raptur'd lead the Trieteric dance.
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