Apotropaic – averting bad luck/evil
influence (you find it at crossroads, doorways etc)
Marking territory and asserting superiority
Visual assertion of male dominance in
In a Dionysiac context it has been
suggested it just symbolizes sexual arousal for its own sake, especially when
the phalli were magnified and paraded around. Satyrs in a state of arousal –
due to wine and women?! Physiological result of Dionysiac powers?
Ancient doctors referred to intercourse as
‘the Divine Act’ so Dionysos associated with sexual urges – causing them?
Obviously Aphrodite was assoc with the actual act, but D to the run-up?
Embodying high emotion.
Satyrs = humans reduced to their most basic
Transcendental? Mythic figures mixed with
Often we see many satyrs and a single
The Francois vase has three labeled silenoi
The women are labeled as nymphs – word had
a sexual connotation
Nymphs vs Maenads
A Maenad has ritual dress, snake or
thyrsus, never nude
Nymphs are clothed or nude but have no
Maenads can be shown by themselves - maenads are a term from literature
Maenadism is temporary - in the play it is involuntary, too. In cult it would have been by choice but no less impermanent.
No silens in Bakkhai.
NB the chorus devoted to D from a foreign land - they are bakkhai.