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This point is supported by the occurrence of a winged female in other depictions of the unveiling of the Dionysiac sacra , in which at the moment of revelation of the sacra she is turning away or even running away, and making a defensive gesture with her left hand (and it appears that the crouching woman revealing the sacra may be trying to restrain her). Now we notice that the winged female in our fresco too is making the same defensive gesture with the left hand towards the sacra. ....Agnoia because Ignorance would be put to flight by the revelation. Both these deities might be regarded as embodying the initiand's emotion lust before the sacra are revealed to her. In most pictures of the revelation the sacra have been revealed; our fresco, on the other hand, depicts the moment just before revelation. Ignorance is still in command. The candidature of Agnoia (Ignorance) has been made even more plausible by further iconographical parallels adduced by Karl Lehmann
On a fourth-century AD mosaic in Algeria a female makes towards the revelation of the Dionysiac sacra a defensive gesture reminiscent of those we have already seen, and very similar to the gesture made by another female in a second-century AD tomb-painting from Hermoupolis in Egypt (Plate 8 (d)). This latter female appears to be urging Oedipus to kill his father Laios; and the letters above her head identify her as AGNOlA, Ignorance.
Agnoia is the deity who speaks the prologue of Menander's Perikeiromene. Lehmann's identification of her with the winged flagellator of the fresco has so far as I know been neither accepted nor refuted. But consider how appropriate she is here. Firstly, she is winged: when all is suddenly revealed, Ignorance is just as suddenly nowhere: she has taken flight. Secondly, being Ignorance, she must reject knowledge of the sacra. Thirdly, she tortures the initiand. The ignorance of the initiand, just before the final moment of revelation, her fear and trembling, are regarded as an ordeal.
The evolution of Dionysianism continued in the Roman Empire with the Bacchic Mysteries (as they were known in Italy after their arrival in 200 BC). Dionysus merged with the local fertility god Liber (whose consort, Libera, inspired the Statue of Liberty). The Roman Bacchic cult emphasised sexuality, inventing terrifying ordeals for its Mystery initiation. It was this aspect which caused the cult to be banned by Roman authorities in 186 BC, for sexual abuse and other criminal activities (including murder). Whether these charges were true is unknown; there may have been individual cases of corruption but there is no evidence of widespread abuse. Scholarly opinion is that these were trumped-up charges levelled against a cult perceived as a danger to the state. The Roman Senate sought to ban Dionysian rites throughout the Empire, restricting their gatherings to a handful of people under special license in Rome. However, this only succeeded in pushing the cult underground.
n contrast with the daytime festivities of the Athenian Dionysia were the biennial nocturnal rites of the Tristeria, held on Mount Parnassus in winter. These celebrated the emergence of Dionysus from the underworld, with orgies (orgia) in the mountains. The first day was presided over by the Maenads in their state of Mainomenos (madness), during which animals—and perhaps humans—were hunted, torn apart with bare hands and eaten raw. This was the Sparagmos, once associated with goat sacrifice and marking the harvest (and trampling) of the vine. The second day saw the Bacchic nymphs in their Thyiadic (or raving) state. Although still orgiastic, this was a more sensual and benign bacchanal (assisted by satyrs). Mythographers claim that the Maenads (or wild women) resisted the Bacchic urge and were driven mad, while the Thyiades (or ravers) accepted the Dionysian ecstasy and kept their sanity.
Originally posted by skalla
reply to post by Kantzveldt
no, they were like that when i found them!
i'll get my coat
SnF, splendid OP
Originally posted by Kantzveldt
reply to post by KilgoreTrout
I guess Euripedes favoured sober intellectualism over drunken genius but i'm sure there's something to be said for both.