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"Dionysos Mystes" by G. Rizzo; Zagreus, Studi sull' Orfismo by V. Macchioro Review by: E.

Douglas van Buren The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 9 (1919), pp. 221-225 Published by: Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies Stable URL: . Accessed: 28/08/2012 18:48
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By G. an Ennodius. the humanities owe more than is commonly acknowledged to mediaeval monkish Latin. restored a living interest in thought. and by the illumination of books. This probably helped forward an appreciation of art by the decoration of church buildings with mosaics and frescoes. " DIONYSOS MYSTES " (in Mem. There were other respects in which the old academic teaching was humanized. amplified by representationson gems. the Celtic backgroundin the Gauls . relying largely upon the description furnished by Nonnus. pp. 221 in the old system was that in its exclusive cult of memory it starved thought to death. By V. Many subjects are discussed in these pages which can here receive no more than a bare mention: the extent to which the Visigoths and Frankswere affected by Roman culture . All these things the reader will find sufficiently treated within the limits permitted in a small volume. pp. In the end the men of broader minds. much as the development of choirs was good for music. lire i6. Accad. which gave it a leading place in the Roman system. vases and reliefs. The work of a Rhodes scholar now on the teaching staff of the University of Capetown. It also brought history back into an honest connexion with fact. the threads or narrow ribbons hanging from the fingers of the woman in B must be the woollen K&6KLVOL rTzoVes. Laterza. H. the authors read and the teaching of Greek. MACCHIORO. pl. The Church. ProfessorMacchioro. I913. 39-102. They were first made known to readers of this Journal by Miss Mudie-Cooke (7.NOTICES OF RECENT PUBLICATIONS. but most centuries had their Tertullians and their Martins ready to declare the way to polite learning the broad path to damnation. Rizzo considers that the winged figure is about to chastise the kneeling woman who sacrilegiously uncovers the liknon and that the scene in F is quite separate from E. The paintings of the Villa Item at Pompeii appear to furnish endless material for discussion. rough but firm. Professor Rizzo believes that these pictures illustrate the education of Dionysos and depict him especially as the first. The Church. by forcing men to think. Price It. Rizzo. iii. I are mere genre scenes. STUDI SULL' ORFISMO. on the contrary. ZAGREUS. an Augustine. He points out that if one enters straight from room I6 (see his plan) by the small door in the corner. The monastic training brought handicrafts within the sphere of education. I918). The last three panels G. I920. thinks one should begin with these scenes. arch. and set it on the path. and neither mythology nor panegyric.R. along which progress in the barbariankingdomswas alone possible. 157-174. Bari. the typical initiate. had been an extraordinary dearth of men able to concentrate on any real or new problem.' drew it from the slough of retrospection. the book is one among many signs of the benefits conferred by the Rhodes Trust on the higher education of the empire. the usual quiet close to the passion and movement of a Greek drama. the result of all the Virgilian paraphrasing. the education of women . but they were history. viii-xiv) whose valuable observations pointed out the line of investigation which other scholars have since carried further with remarkable results. the first scene which greets the eye is that on the wall opposite. all the dictiones ethicae and artificial disputations. the favourable position of the province in the fourth and fifth centuries. symbolical of purification. Napoli. 269. the first ecclesiastical chronicles were dull. a Jerome. To prove this interpretation he draws upon a vast store of literary and figurative material. discipline in schools. a Hilary of Poitiers triumphed.50. Thus in the first scenes Mystis herself reveals ra &eLKv/4ceva to the young Dionysos. iii. By doing this the monastic schools redeemed much of their own seeming barbarism. The merit of the wide views held by the greater churchmen was the higher in that the adoption of so much from pagan culture was not carried without a struggle. G of Rizzo's enumeration: the . pp. by using humanism in the service of its ' forwardideals. the first of a series illustrating the whole sequence of rites of the Lesser Mysteries performed at Agrae as an introduction to the Greater Mysteries at Eleusis.S.

not himself. v. she who in G is robed as the mystic bride. The only non-human beings are Dionysos and Kore. The argument is as follows: the whole cycle tells the story of one woman. she approaches the reading child in A. and this annunciation is the most important of the ceremonies. as a sign that the god was present. as is shown by the numerous vase paintings where Satyrs sit upon a double plinth (Reinach. There is no special scene setting. and the single plinth must derive from the ayXac-7ro5 precpa of Demeter. the mere sight of which sufficedto throw the neophyte into an ecstasy. and was. because the Lesser Mysteries at Agrae were sacred to Kore alone. I and 5. Dion. flees thence in terror at what she sees or hears in D. but Nonnus (Dion. not lekanomancy. p.H. the monstrificum of Pliny. because the environment was suggested by symbols. i) accuses the Valentinians of imitating the mysteries at Eleusis he refers to the unveiling of the liknon. The youth approaches the magic mirror in the expectation of the supernatural and beholds-not himself-but a Seilenic mask which gazes at him strangely. 201. p. I29). but the mask shown in Dionysiac scenes upon altars. An important detail is the plinth found in almost all these scenes. Here the Satyr sees. beginning of a chain linked together in almost every instance by a figure on the extreme right who does not participate in the action depicted within the same panel but moves or looks towards the scene which comes next in order. The Seilenos who holds the bowl repeats the message to the terrified maiden. and all the acts and facts are human. that he is no longer man but god. for by its means the initiate becomes conscious of her destiny. xxiv. 8-12). however. ed. The winged divinity is Telete herself. and the myrtle with which many of the figures are crowned was a nuptial plant. A mirror was often used to foretell the future. 699 ff. Macchioro. The Andania inscription (I. 2. daughter of Dionysos and Nikaia. probably a stone used from the earliest times with magic intent. like a poculum in shape. resigned to her fate. . but it is presented as a sacred drama. similar to those mirrorsdedicated in the temple at Smyrna (Plin. Whosoever was flagellated in the mysteries of Zagreus died like him.. These plinths are frequent in Eleusinian and Dionysiac rites. like him. and the Silenoi and Satyrs are merely actors disguised in these roles. for she wears the sindone.. Koechly) relates that Dionysos was slain by the Titans while gazing in the mirror at his distorted face-obviously a concave mirror. Rep. not to Demeter and Kore. 129 ff. personification of the mystic ceremonies and following of Dionysos (Nonnus. xvi. thus typifying by an allegory the rebirth of the initiate. B shows the agapewhich precedes the initiation. which served was the first. and the rod falls upon the back of the initiate who is the same person. The last scene shows the rebirth of the neophyte. C signifiesthe communion or rebirth of Zagreus: Euripides in the Bacchae. describes such a scene. reborn. Therefore where also we find the legend and cult of the a-yeXao-rog 7rETpa the companion of Dionysos is Kore. Vasesii. a rite strictly connected with Agrae. passes on to B carrying a dish. 400). hides her face in the lap of the priestess in F and finally dances as a Bacchant. can only be obtained by suffering.G. Valent. The neophyte kneels before the winged figure in E and by her action in uncovering the liknon implores the sacred union with the god which.222 NOTICES OF RECENT PUBLICATIONS.for the bowl is white to denote silver. When Tertullian (Adv. the hierophant and the terrified maiden: the rest are mute. N. 303. and her Bacchic state is indicated by her unbound locks. In D is a scene of katoptromancy. strange in shape and without architectonic or decorativeelements. The Satyr and Satyriska are seated upon a plinth and she is intent upon suckling a fawn which here symbolises the child Dionysos attracted by the sound of the mystic syrinx. Only two persons are portrayed as speaking. uncovers the liknon in E. etc. conceived as invisibly watching the mime which is performed before them. He believes he is about to be transformed into the Seilenos. of Demeter. figs. The double as thronos in the initiation ceremonies of which the p6povwoL plinth-upon which sits the Seilenos in D and the woman in F-was Dionysiac. I390) teaches us that the headdress worn by the seated woman in B and the kneeling figure in E is the ritual 7rZXos. xxxiii. It is therefore a human story.

I put back in the basket and from the basket into the chest. whereas these women wear a soft o-dKKOS. I drank the kykeon. whilst the onlookers. so that there might be no mistake as to his identity. and. illumined by torches: the liturgy accomplished. For this is a pantomime in successive pictures. backed up by a wealth of references both literary and figurative. I took from the basket. These are the essential points of Professor Macchioro's argument. and no indication of preparation for. for it cannot have been designed to shed more light upon the proceedingsas Macchiorosuggests. but it was certainly the natural and obvious thing to do. It is certainly more logical to begin with G which thus falls into place in the cycle. an article of faith which promised to initiates eternal bliss. To designate the head-dress worn by two of the figures as a 7rXos seems rather a misnomer: that term signifies a peaked cap or stiff head-gear. gathered without in the portico E and looked through the large window space at the doings within. The large window presents a difficulty. the hieratic seated figure of I has an almost exact counterpart in a painting from Herculaneum (Herrmann-Bruckmann. Moreover. pp. ii. from the evidence of the legends. is negatived by reliefs depicting his education where he appears in various stages of growth. I915. and it was only the processions and such public or exoteric functions which took place by day. rather than the raging Fury who purifies by castigation and is more probably A1&bs. where also a priestess enthroned watches her attendants who. I8) : ' I fasted. and certainly convincing in its main thesis that the pictures represent successive scenes in a liturgy. They are too esoteric to be appropriate decoration for a triclinium. Les Mysteres d'Eleusis. and scenes of sacrifice. Mitt. 1899. because in D he is represented as fully grown. then any . although his objection to the identification as Dionysos. 46-54). Bacchants. In the child reading from the scroll M. v. Foucart. the words of the Andania inscription are : 8ifpous 8 gxovro aT lepct. when it unrolled a story in the continuous method. the ministrants who had entered through the small door from 1. Paris I912.NOTICES OF RECENT PUBLICATIONS. Arch. 342.becauseinitiation ceremonieswere alwaysperformed at night. 325) sees Iacchos. Rubensohn. already initiated. for a stone seat is both hard and chilly. the neophyte takes no part. Neither can one argue that art does not distinguish between the real and the feigned. portrayedthe hero each time in the same guise. 223 with closed lips and inexpressive faces. as for example in the scenes of the fury of Herakles or the amours of Zeus. was an outcrop of the natural rock upon which the goddess rested (P. or by their theatrical costumes. above all.ytAXa-Tos irrpa which.. but it is hard to believe that the single plinth typified the a. since it was sometimes made of skin. In his instructress perhaps we should see Telete rather than Mystis with Rizzo : for on the Thyrea relief Telete is seated in very similar fashion and it would seem more appropriate that she who reveals r& 5eLKv'6jLeva to the neophyte should be the personificationof the mysteries. and Macchioro's view that the room in question was an Orphic basilica or private chapel is strengthened by the nature of the decoration in the preceding rooms.modest reverence. Pottier (Rev. wreathed in myrtle.' The monuments cited by Macchioro certainly appear to prove that the double plinth had some significance in scenes taken from the Satyric cycle. a meal. If the fawn in C suckled by the Satyriska is a personification of Zagreus. as on the Pronomos vase in Naples. To cover such seats with a clo h or mantle may have been enforced. But we cannot agree that the same woman is the protagonist in each scene : for ancient art.6passed out in procession by the main entrance on to the terrace F. subjects of Satyrs. sign of. p. The scene is best explained by the sacred formula (Clem. priestesses. The great objection to seeing in B an agape is the fact that there is no. Ser. . 3). ii. 15 and I6. Protrept. p. Alex. founded upon a theological dogma. for whenever in ancient art the subject is a performanceby actors the fact is made clear by the masksthey hold in their hands. It is probable that only the actual participants in the rite stood within the room. pl. prepare for the sacred rites. although it is not uncommon in country villas. Ath.. and there is no mention of plinths.

Upon the sacred plinth sits Iacchos. and the literary evidence he quotes refers to lekanomancy. and there is not a sign of shrinking or terror. why should the bridegroom sit upon the threshold in a state of heroic nudity ? Interpreted as part of a series representing the mysteries.224 NOTICES OF RECENT PUBLICATIONS. but a being who alights after a flight rests upon the tips of her toes like the Nike of Paionios. and the latter. It cannot be upon her that the lash falls: her attitude is calm. for one who is not yet really of the elect to come thus into contact with the sacred symbols. Rizzo thinks she has just alighted. dancing in ecstasy. In either case.' Interpreted as a marriage rite. for here also myrtle-wreathed attendants minister to the priestess who performs the ritual lustration. The neutral background typifies the temple precinct or basilica: to the left we have the counterpart of the Villa Item scene B. and is therefore appropriatelyintroduced here as foreshadowing the progress of the initiate from earthly care to mystic felicity. was looked upon as a symbol of the human soul. not'his own. The gesture of repulsion made by the winged figure is often found on gems. The composition is one frequently used for portraying Dionysos and Ariadne. was reborn. to profane the mysteries in such a way would be sacrilege unspeakable. Why should the ceremony take place under the open sky ? Above all. here not very happily telescoped by the artist in order to link together the two scenes. possibly as invisible witness for the due performance of the mysteries. the shunning of the sacra and the mystic flagellation. Kore Ariadne and even Demeter. But it is the fate of the maiden. A connexion with Kore would imply a chthonic character which Dionysos in this aspect did not possess. of course. These considerationssuggest that the figure is a contaminatiofrom at least two different scenes. not with the front foot treading upon the back one. wild animal suckled by a Bacchant would be the embodiment of the divinity. but in every instance she is in the act of fleeing and does not hold the whip. these puzzling details fall into place. Miss Mudie-Cooke's opinion that the primary purpose of ritual flagellation was purification and the expulsion of evil is better supported by evidence drawn from -comparative religion than Macchioro's theory that ' whoever was flagellated in the mysteries of Zagreus died like him and. and possibly to avoid the introduction of two winged beings juxtaposed in a cycle where all the other personagesare without wings : perhapshe was also hampered by want of space. probably as guardian of the threshold 'betweenthe profane and the full joys of the initiated who are shown to the right. In the painting her figure is perhaps the least successful artistically of the whole series : the feet are most awkwardlyplaced. since at this stage she has not been fully initiated. terra-cotta reliefs. many of the elements are incomprehensible. a vision materialised in the bowl.' An interesting parallel to these scenes is furnished by the painting which its ' seventeenth-century discoverers named the Aldobrandini Marriage. the wings are absolutely inorganic. But to ProfessorMacchioro belongs the merit of having . like him. In the centre those who are fully initiated encourage the neophyte to endure the ordeal before her. The companion of Dionysos has been called Semele. a presage of bliss but also of suffering in the attainment. The pictorial evidence noted by Macchioro of mirrorsused in Dionysiac rites displays an ordinary flat mirror. although under the influence of the divine madness they did not nourish gentle fawns only. which the young Satyr sees and announces by the medium of the Seilenos. not katoptromancy. It is incredible that the woman who unveils the liknon can be the initiate pleading by this action for union with the god. and a person poised to strike a powerful blow stands with the feet a little apart to give balance. a mortal raised from desolation to union with a divine lover. Each scholarwho has discussed these enigmatical paintings has contributed something towards their interpretation : probably a study of all the scenes of ritual and sacred drama would reveal even more.. etc. bnt wolf-cubs and panthers. As she wears a costume and head-dresssimilar to that of the priestess in B she may be a priestess engaged in one of the sacred offices or one of the higher order of initiates-a fully evolved Bacchant. the result would be the same.

19I2. The lower part of the statue of the god was found in the ' cella. M/agdalenian. but now shown to have existed in the Mediterranean during the early part of the quaternary period. Another rare specimen found is the Pleurotoma undatiruga. are written in the Catalan language. was thickly inhabited during the neolithic period. in which he makes special reference to the traces of the temples then discovered. which is twelve metres deep.which have afforded evidence of their use during the Mousterian. and that it was consequently one of the oldest in Catalufia. Most of the articles. The soil on which they stood is full of pottery sherdsof the well-known Campanianware of the third and second centuries B.). for several yearspast and has yielded much material of considerable archaeologicalvalue.' It has been found possible to reconstitute it with the fragments of the 1 Discovered by D. The deposit. A further volume of this excellent publication. abounds in red-figure pottery of the fifth and fourth centuries preceding the Christian era. Lluis M.the series of pottery which includes examples of Greek ceramic art of the finest period. as usual. beginning with the preparationfor initiation and culminating in the care-freeemancipationof perfect spiritual knowledge. and neolithic periods. systematically and carefully. believed by many naturalists to have disappearedfrom the marine fauna in late tertiary times. in every way worthy of its predecessors.while the underlying stratum. in French. . literary and jurisprudential. We propose to touch only upon the archaeologicalsection in these notes. A plan of the excavations. divided into sections. An interesting point in connexion with M. I9Ii. Puig ascribes the temples to the second or Hellenistic period of the city. to judge by the large number of caves containing debris of pottery and polished stone implements.NOTICES OF RECENT PUBLICATIONS. the most notable being. that of the Greek city proper. as is only natural. Amador Romani in I909. Vidal's investigations was the discovery in the Magdalenian stratum of the shell of Mitra striatula. The district explored by M. Some of the pottery illustrated in the article shows evidence of trading relations between the then inhabitants of Catalufia and some of the Portuguese tribes. the principal of which are the historical.which now only occurs on the Algerian coast. Vidal contributes an exhaustive study of the Abris sous roche and caves at Capelladesand Santa Creu d'Olorde. M.C. but there are several in Spanish and one.. which has led him to the conclusion that there was an important factory of flint implements of the Mousterian period at l'Abrich Romanil at Capellades. points to habitation during a very long period. of which that dedicated to Aesculapiusis the best preserved.C. a logical sequence of ritual acts. Vidal. In ' Els Temples d'Empuries' (the Temples at Ampurias)M. E. and the time of their construction to the Roman occupation of the north-eastern portion of the peninsula. It is. The Emporion site has been excavated. A very good series of plates illustrate a large number of the finds among which those from the Magdalenian and Mousterian strata at l'Abrich Romani predominate. this volume constitutes an historical and archaeologicalwork of very high order. has recently been issued. perhaps. Puig y Cadafalchgives a carefully considered account of the work carried on during I9Io-II by the Museums Commission on the site of the ancient city of Emporion (founded about 550 B. INSTITUT D'ESTUDIS CATALANS. 225 shown that the whole series depicts a liturgy. of considerable importance. Both in the interest of the subjects treated and in the typographical and illustrative sections. DOUGLAS VAN BUREN. M. Vidal carefully sifts the evidence brought to light by his investigations. in the province of Barcelona. which would have been rendered more instructive had some indication been given as to the meaning of the dark and lighter drawn portions. shows the site of the temples. The flint implements found at Estacio Agut bear considerable resemblance to those from the Mousterian deposits at La Ferrassie in France. ANUARI. archaeological. M.