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Dionysus the Drama and the Wine by Roberto Calasso Dionysus’s

Dionysus the Drama and the Wine by Roberto Calasso Dionysus’s

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Published by antonio negrao
mythology of Dionysus ,creation of the Greek Drama and the Wine.
mythology of Dionysus ,creation of the Greek Drama and the Wine.

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Published by: antonio negrao on Nov 13, 2009
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05/11/2014

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DIONYSUS THE DRAMA AND THE WINEBy Roberto CalassoDionysus’s first love was a boy. His name was Ampelos. He played with the young godand the satyrs on the banks of the Pactolus in Lydia. Dionisyus notice the way his longhair fell on his neck, the light that glowed from this body as he climbed out of the water.When he saw him wrestling with a satyr and their feet became knotted together , he was jealous. He wanted to be the only one to fight with Ampelos. They were – eroticathletes- They threw each other to the ground, and Dionysus loved it when Ampelos gothim down and sat on his naked belly. Then they would wash the dust and sweat fromtheir skins, swimming in the river. They invented new games . Ampelos always won.He plaited a crown of snakes and put it on his head the way he’d seen his friend do . Healso imitated Dionysus by wearing a mottled tunic. He learned to talk to bears, lions ,and tigers. Dionysus encouraged him , but there came the day when he warned him too :you needn’t fear any wild beast, he said , but watch out for the horns of the cruel bull.Dionysus was alone one day when he witnessed a scene he felt must be an omen. Ahorned dragon appeared among the rocks. On his back he was carrying a deer. Hetipped the creature off onto a stone altar and plunged a horn into its defenseless body. A pool of blood formed on the stone. Dionysus watched and felt grieved, but along withhiss grieving came an overwhelming desire to laugh, as if his heart wer3e being split intwo. Then he found Ampelos again , and they went on wandering about and huntingtogether as usual. Ampelos used to like playing his reed pipes , and he played badly.But Dionysus never tired of praising him, because while he praised he would watchhim. Sometimes Ampelos would remember Dionysus warning about the bull, but itmade less and less sense. By now he knew all the wild animals , and they were all hisfriends: why on earth shouldn’t the bull be a friend too :::;;;And one day , when he wasout on his own , he met a bull among the rocks. The animal was thirsty, its tonguehanging out. The bull drank, then stared at the boy, then belched, and a stream of salivadribbled from his mouth. Ampelos tried to stroke his horns. He made himself a rushwhip and a sort of bridle. He arranged a mottled pelt over the bull’s back and mountedit. For a few moments he experienced a sense of elation no other animal had ever givenhim. But Selene was jealous. She saw him from a high and sent a gadfly. Irritated , the bull began to gallop, trying to escape that awful sting. Ampelos could no longer controlthe beast. At last jolt trew him to the ground. There was a dry, cracking sound as hisneck snapped. The bull dragged him on, its horn sinking deeper and deeper into the boy’s flesh.Dionysus found Ampelos in the dust, covered in blood, but still beautiful. Gathered in acircle, the satyrs began to mourn over him . But Dionysus couldn’t join in with them. Itwasn’t in his nature to weep. And he realized that he wouldn’t be able to followAmpelos into Hades , because he was immortal. Over and over he promised himself he’d kill the whole bull species with his thyrsus. Eros, who had disguised himself as ashaggy satyr, came over to console him. He told him a love sting could only be cured bythe sting of another love. So he should look elsewhere. When a flower has been cut, thegardener plants another one. But now Dionysus was crying for Ampelos. It was a signthat something had happened that would change his nature , and the nature of the world.At that moment the Hours were hurrying toward the house of Helios , the sun. Therewas a sense that something new was about to take palace on the celestial wheel. It wastime to consult the tablets of Harmony , where Phane’s primordial hand had inscribedthe events of this world in their order. Helios pointed to them where they hung on a wallof his house. The Hours looked at the fourth tablet ; it showed the Lion and the Virgin ,
 
and Ganymed holding a cup. They interpreted the image. Ampelos would become thevine. He who had brought tears to the god who never wept would also bring delight tothe world. Upon hearing which, Dionysus recovered. When the grapes born fromAmpelo’s body were mature, he picked the first bunches and, with a gesture he seemedto know of old, squeezed them gently in his hands. He watched as a red stain spreadacross his fingers. Then he licked them. He thought , Ampelos your end demonstratesthe splendor of your body. Even in death you haven’t lost your rosy color. No other god , let alone Athena with her sober olive , or Demeter with her nourishing bread, had ever had anything that could vie with that liquor. It was exactly what had been missing from life, what life had been waiting for > INTOXICATION.Bursting with youth, his Bacchants buzzing all around him, Dionysus stormed over to Naxos to appear before the abandoned Ariadne. Eros daring about him like a weethornet. The women following the god were holding leafy thyrsus, bloody shreds of young bull’s flesh , baskets of sacred objects . Dionysus had come from Attica , wherehe had done something no one world ever forget ; he had revealed the secret of wine toman. Behind him he was leaving an extraordinary new drink and the body of another abandoned girl. On his departure, Erigone had hung herself from a tree. But here was noroyal frame to put her story in, and it was not to be handed down from one rhyme to thenext by a chain of poets. Erigone wouldn’t find her poets until much later, two scholarsof the latter days of the ancient world , who, oppressed like others by the times in whichthey lived , felt almost obliged to write about secrets hitherto left untold. They wereEratosthenes and Nonnus, tow Egyptians’.The secret of bread had been revealed by Demeter in Attica , and a holy place, Eleusis,had been established to celebrate the event. The secret of wine had been revealed inAttica by Dionysus , to common people, but that day was to be commemorated only bya ceremony with masks, dolls , and swings. There was something very obscure aboutthe whole business, and the ritual commemoration suggested an aura of playfulness atonce childish and sinister.Dionysus had turned up in the role of Unknown Guest in the house of an old Atticangardener , Icarius , who lived with his daughter Erigone and loved to plant new types of trees. His house was a poor one. All the same , he welcomed the Stranger with the samegesture with which Abrahan welcomed the angel , by keeping a place in his mind emptyand ready for his guest. It was from that gesture that every other gift would derive.Erigone immediately went off to milk their goat for the guest. Sweetly , Dionysusstooped her from making what a philologist would one day describe as ‘an adorablefaux pas’ He was about to reveal to her father ‘’ as a reward for his fair-mindedness anddevotion’’ something that no one had ever known before ; wine . And now Erigone was pouring cup after cup of the new drink for her father. Icarius felt good. Then Dionysusexplained that this new drink was perhaps even more powerful than the bread Demeter had revealed to other farmers, because it could both wake a man up and put him tosleep, dissolve the pains that afflicted the heart and make them liquid and fleeting. Nowit was Icarius’s job to pass this revelation on to others, as Triptolemus had passed onrevelation of grain.Icarius obeyed Dionysus orders. He got onto his cart and se off around Attica to show people this plant with the wondrous juice. One evening he was drinking with a fewshepherds. Some of them fell into a deep sleep. It seemed they would never wake up.The shepherd began to suspect Icarius was up to something. Maybe he’d come to poisonthem and steal their sheep ::: They felt the impulse to kill. They surrounded Icarius .One picked up a sickle , another a spade, a third an ax , a fourth a big stone. They all hitout at the old man. Then , to finish the job, they ran him through with their cooking spit.

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