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Peace, profane men! Let the basket-bearer1 come forward, and thou Xanthias, hold the phallus well upright.2

Daughter, set down the basket and let us begin the sacrifice.

Mother, hand me the ladle, that I may spread the sauce on the cake.

It is well! Oh, mighty Bacchus, it is with joy that, freed from military duty, I and all mine perform this solemn rite and offer thee this sacrifice; grant that I may keep the rural Dionysia without hindrance and that this truce of thirty years may be propitious for me.

Come, my child, carry the basket gracefully and with a grave, demure face. Happy he, who shall be your possessor and embrace you so firmly at dawn,3 that you belch wind like a weasel. Go forward, and have a care they don't snatch your jewels in the crowd.

Xanthias, walk behind the basket-bearer and hold the phallus well erect; I will follow, singing the Phallic hymn; thou, wife, look on from the top of the terrace.4 Forward!

1 The maiden who carried the basket filled with fruits at the Dionysia in honour of Bacchus.

2 The emblem of the fecundity of nature; it consisted of a representation, generally grotesquely exaggerated, of the male genital organs; the phallophori crowned with violets and ivy and their faces shaded with green foliage, sang improvised airs, call ‘Phallics,’ full of obscenity and suggestive ‘double entendres.’

3 The most propitious moment for Love's gambols, observes the scholiast.

4 Married women did not join in the processions.

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  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Raphael Kühner, Bernhard Gerth, Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache, KG 3.5.2
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