Page images

of Bacchus, by which a judgment may be formed of the magnificence of the test.

The procession began with a troop of Sileni, some habited in purple, others in robes of a deep red; their employment was to keep off the crowd, and

make way.

Next the Sileni came a band of satyrs, composed of twenty in two ranks, each carrying a gilded lamp.

These were succeeded by the victories, with golden wings, carrying vases nine feet high, steaming with kindled perfumes, partly guilt, and partly adorned with the leaves of ivy. Their habits were embroidered with the figures of animals, and every part of them glittered with gold.

After these came a double altar, nine feet in height, and covered with a luxuriant foliage of ivy, intermixed with ornaments of gold. It was also beautified with a golden crown, coniposed of vine leaves, and adorned on all sides with certain white fillets.

An hundred and twenty youths advanced next, clothed in purple vests ; each of them supporting a golden vase of incense, myrrh, and saffron.

They were followed by forty satyrs, wearing crowns of gold which represented the leaves of ivy; and in the right hand of each was another crown of the same metal, adorned with vine leaves. Their habits were diversified with a variety of colours.

In the rear of these marched two Sileni, arrayed in purple mantles, and white drawers; one of them wore a kind of hat, and carried a golden caduceus in his hand; the other had a trumpet. Between these two was a man, six feet in height, masked and habited like a tragedian. He also carried a golden cornucopia, and was distinguished by the appellation of The Year.

This person preceded a very amiable woman, as tall as himself, dressed in a magnificent manner, and glittering all over with gold. She held, in one hand, a crown composed of the leaves of the peach-tree,

and in the other a branch of palm. She was called Penteteris *.

The next in the procession were the Genii of the four seasons, wearing ornainents by which they were distinguished, and supporting two golden vases of odours, adorned with ivy leaves. In the midst of them was a square altar of gold.

A band of satyrs then appeared, wearing golden crowns, fashioned like the leaves of ivy, and arrayed in red habits. Some bore vessels filled with wine, others carried drinking cups.

Immediately after these were seen Philiscus, the poet and priest of Bacchus, attended by comedians, musicians, dancers, and other persons of that class.

Two tripods were carried next, as prizes for the victors at the athletic combats and exercises. One of these tripods, being thirteen feet and a half in height, was intended for the youths; the other, which was eighteen feet high, was designed for the men.

An extraordinary large chariot followed these. It had four wheels , was twenty-one feet in length, and twelve in breadth, and was drawn by one hundred and eighty men. In this chariot was a figure representing Bacchus, fifteen feet in height, and in the attitude of performing libations with a large cup of gold. He was arrayed in a robe of brocaded purple, which flowed down to his feet. Over this was a transparent vest of a saffron-colour, and above that a large purple mantle embroidered with gold. Before him was a great vessel of gold, formed in the Laconic manner, and containing fifteen measures, called metretes. This was accompanied with a

* This word signifies the space of five years, because, at the expiration of


the feast of Barchus was celebrated at the beginning of the next, which was the fifth.

+ All chariots in general, of which mention will be made in the sequel of this relation, had also four wheels.

1 This word is frequently used in the present description; it is the name of a Greek measure, which corresponds most with the Roman amphora, but was somewhat larger. It contained ning gallons.

golden tripod, on which were placed a golden vase of odours, with two cups of the same metal full of cinnamon and saffron. Bacchus was seated in a shade of ivy and vine leaves, intermixed with the foliage of fruit-trees; and from these hung several crowns, fillets, and thyrsi, with timbrels, ribbands, and a variety of satiric, comic, and tragic masks. In the same chariot were the priests and priestesses of that deity, with the other ministers, and interpreters of mysteries, dancers of all classes, and women bearing vans*.

These were followed by the Bacchantes, who marched with their hair dishevelled, and wore crowns composed, some of serpents, others of branches of the yew, the vine, or the ivy. Some of these women carried knives in their hands, others grasped serpents.

After these advanced another chariot, twelve feet in breadth, and drawn by sixty men. In this was the statue of Nyssa, or Nysa, sitting t, twelve feet high, and clothed with a yellow vest embroidered with gold, over which was another Laconic habit. The statue rose by the aid of some machines that were not touched by any person, and after it had poured milk out of a golden cup, it resumed its former seat. Its left hand held a thyrsus adorned with sibbands, and wore a golden crown, on the top of which were represented various leaves of ivy, with clusters of grapes, composed of gems. It was covered with a deep shade, formed by a blended foliage, and a gilded lamp hung at each corner of the chariot.

After this came another chariot, thirty-six feet in length, and twenty-four in breadth, and drawn by three hundred men. On this was placed a winepress, also thirty-six feet long, and twenty-two and a half broad; this was full of the produce of the vintage. Sixty satyrs trod the grapes, to the sound

Mystica Vannus lacchi. Virc. + She is thought to have been the nurse of Bacchus,

of the flute, and sung such airs as corresponded with the action in which they were employed. Silenus was the chief of the band, and streams of wine flowed from the chariot, throughout the whole progress.

Another chariot of the saine magnitude, was drawn by six hundred men. This carried a fat of a prodigious size, made of leopard skins sewed together. The vessel contained three thousand measures, and shed a constant effusion of wine during the procession.

This chariot was followed by an hundred and twenty crowned satyrs and Sileni, carrying pots, flaggons, and large cups, all of gold.

This troop was immediately succeeded by a silver fat, containing six hundred metretes, and placed on a chariot drawn by the same number of men. The vessel was adorned with chased work, and the rim, together with the two handles and the base, were embellished with the figures of animals. The middle part of it was encompassed with a golden crown adorned with jewels.

Next appeared two silver bowls, eighteen feet in diameter, and nine in height. The upper part of their circumference was adorned with studs, and the bottom with several animals, three of which were a foot and a half high, and many more of a lesser size.

These were followed by ten great fats, and sixteen other vessels, the largest of which contained thirty metretes, and the least five : there were likewise ten cauldrons, twenty-four vases with two handles, and disposed on five salvers; two silver wine-presses, on which were placed twenty-four goblets; a table of massy silver, eighteen feet in length, and thirty more of six; four tripods, one of which was of massy silver, and had a circumference of twenty-four feet; the other three that were smaller, were adorned with precious stones in the middle.

Then came twenty Delphic tripods, all of silver,

and something less than the preceding. They were likewise accompanied with twenty-six beakers, sixteen flaggons, and an hundred and sixty other vessels, the largest of which contained six metretes, and the smallest two. All these vessels were of silver.

After these came the golden vessels; four of which, called Laconics, were crowned with vine leaves : there were likewise two Corinthian vases, whose rims and middle circumference were embellished with the figures of animals; these contained eight metretes : a wine-press, on which ten goblets were placed : two other vases, each of which contained five metretes : and two more that held a couple of measures: twenty-two vessels for preserving liquors cool, the largest of which contained thirty metretes, and the least one: four golden tripods of an extraordinary size : a kind of golden basket, intended as a repository for vessels of the same metal; this was enriched with jewels, and was five feet in length; it was likewise divided into six partitions, one above another, and adorned with various figures of animals, above three feet in height; two goblets, and two glass bowls with golden ornaments: two salvers of gold, four cubits in diameter, and three others of less dimensions : ten beakers; an altar four feet and a half high; and twenty-five dishes.

After this rich equipage, marched sixteen hundred youths, habited in white vests, and crowned, some of them with ivy, others with branches of the pine. Two hundred and fifty of this band carried golden vases, and four hundred of them vases of silver. Three hundred more carried silver vessels, made to keep liquors cool.

After these appeared another troop bearing large drinking vessels, some of which were of gold, fifty of silver, and three hundred diversified with various colours.

There were likewise several tables, six feet in length, and supporting a variety of remarkable ob. jects. On one was represented the bed of Semele,

« PreviousContinue »