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 Megasthenes, and a few others, think the stories respecting Hercules and Bacchus to be credible, but the majority of writers, among whom is Eratosthenes, regard them as incredible and fabulous, like the Grecian stories. Dionysus, in the Bacchæ of Euripides, makes this boasting speech: “But now from Lydia's field,
With gold abounding, from the Phrygian realm
And that of Persia scorch'd by torrid suns,
Pressing through Bactrian gates, the frozen land
Of Media, and through Araby the Blest,
With Asia's wide extended continent—
” In Sophocles, also, a person is introduced speaking the praises of Nysa,1 as being a mountain sacred to Bacchus: “'whence I beheld the famed Nysa, the resort of the Bacchanalian bands, which the horned Iacchus makes his most pleasant and beloved retreat, where no bird's clang is heard,"” and so on. [He is called also Merotraphes.]2 Homer also mentions Lycurgus the Edonian in these words, “‘who formerly pursued the nurses of the infuriate Bacchus along the sacred mountain Nysa.’3” So much respecting Bacchus. But with regard to Hercules, some persons say, that he penetrated to the opposite extremities on the west only, while others maintain that he also advanced to those of the east.
1 Many cities and mountains bore the name of Nysa; but it is impossible to confound the mountain Nysa, spoken of by Sophocles, with the Nysa of India, which became known to the Greeks by the expedition only of Alexander, more than a century after the death of the poet.
2 Probably interpolated
3 Il. vi. 132. Nysa in India was unknown to Homer, who here refers to Mount Nysa in Thrase.
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