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ἐξηγησάμενος, ‘taught’; cf. κατηγησάμενος inf.

ἀτρεκέως refers to whole clause, not to any special word; translate ‘to speak accurately’.

σοφισταί: his descendants, e.g. Amphiaraus, and still more the Orphic teachers (cf. 81 n.) of Greece, e.g. Onomacritus.

Melampus was placed in the fourth generation after Hellen. According to later writers he was an Egyptian or had travelled in Egypt; H. does not carry his rationalization of the myth so far.

ποιεῦσι τὰ ποιεῦσι: an euphemism for the obscenities of the Dionysia, which Heraclitus (fr. 127) had called ἀναιδέστατα.


συστῆσαι. H. excludes the miraculous elements of the story (e.g. in Apollodorus i. 9. 11), which make Melampus learn his lore from young snakes and from meeting Apollo. H.'s argument is as follows: the similarity of Dionysiac worship in Greece and Egypt might be explained by three hypotheses (cf. ἂν ἦν below for one apodosis): (a) the Greeks might have borrowed from the Egyptians; (b) the resemblance might be accidental (cf. συμπεσεῖν, ‘agree by mere chance’); (c) the Egyptians might have borrowed from Greece. Having accepted (a), H. proceeds to refute (b) and (c); (b) is rendered impossible by the facts that Dionysiac rites were not ‘like any other Greek rites, ὁμότροπα, and were known to have been ‘introduced lately’ (νεωστί); (c) he rejects without argument (οὐ μὲν οὐδὲ φήσω).

τοῖς Ἕλλησι = τοῖς τῶν Ἑλλήνων τρόποις.

νεωστί. The recent origin of the rites was shown by legends like those of Lycurgus and of Pentheus; that Dionysus was a later element in the Greek pantheon is usually accepted by scholars; cf. Farnell, G. C. v. 87-92.


Cadmus was usually placed three generations earlier than Melampus; he was the grandfather of Dionysus. Perhaps it was this which determined H.'s choice of legend; he wished to make the introduction of the new rite into Greece coincide in time with the birth of the god. Cadmus, as Stein says, was said to be (iv. 147 nn.) a Phoenician, not an Egyptian; but H. obviously thinks Cadmus must have known the rites of Egypt, as it was a neighbour of Tyre; so (c. 116. 1, 2) he proves that Homer knew Paris had been in Egypt, because he mentions his visit to Sidon.

καλεομένην: cf. Thuc. i. 12. 3 for the Greek tradition that Boeotia did not receive its name till sixty years after the fall of Troy, i.e. long after the time of Cadmus.

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