In a poem that speaks of sexual confusion, critics have been startled all the same by the unorthodox use of the masculine gender for the "cher Bacchant
Clothed in the leopard skin of a Bacchant
, the figure of Anaitis deliberately represents bestial female sexuality, sexual rapacity, and sado-masochism.
The senate made no effort to extirpate the cult but did impose restrictions: from then on women alone were allowed to be cult priests, while a male citizen had to request permission in order to become a bacchant
The spectacle he presented not only placed him beyond the pale of masculinity but also threatened to unman his male viewer by dislocating him to the farthest possible extreme of socially acceptable male roles: "Beware lest you become some Lydian woman or a bacchant
, you who were hitherto a man" [LANGU AGE NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Salt.
Certainly, this would depend on each individual Bacchant
and the degree of her psychological maturity, but to search for answers in Nonnus's poem would be in vain.
Giraudet plausibly supposes that Nonnus' attribution of a desire to protect the Bacchants
' virginity to the snakes of the Bacchants
The passage from Metamorphoses tells how King Pentheus sought to rid his kingdom of worshipers of Bacchus, and is torn limb from limb and his head torn off by Bacchants
, including his mother and sisters in a divinely-induced trance.
Dionysius disguises himself as a stranger and brings along a band of bacchants
, freedom-loving women, who help Dionysius lure the crafty Theban king to his end.
II (Manchester: Manchester University Press 1921), 241, the adjectives pofiipav ('of fear') and ftccvixtfv ('[of] frenzy'), which are attributed to [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] ('internal motion') (791 A), correlate to the sleeplessness of the infants and to the Bacchic frenzy: 'The children it puts to sleep; the Bacchants
, who are awake, it brings into a sound state of mind instead of a frenzied condition ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 791 A7-791 B2).
In a move reminiscent of the Bacchants
descending on Pentheus, the villagers emerge from the alleys like scavengers circling for carrion.
This association with Nature probably accounts for the bacchants
wearing animal skins, engaging in bestiality, rending animals and eating their raw flesh.
Thus, reading Euripides' Bacchants
after Donna Tartt's The secret history, for instance, the reader will find it difficult not to associate the Theban sparagmos scene with a manslaughter committed by misguided college students on a cold New Hampshire night.
Verrall, "The Bacchants
of Euripides," in "The Bacchants
of Euripides" and Other Essays (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1910), 1-160.
Several groups of satyrs punctuate the ranks, but the bacchants
appear only once within this lavish retinue.
Where am I going, how do I stumble, bereft of my children, torn apart by these Bacchants