A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

(Βασσαρεύς), a surname of Dionysus (Hor. Carm. 1.18. 11; Macr. 1.18), which, according to the explanations of the Greeks, is derived from βασσάρα or βασσαρίς, the long robe which the god himself and the Maenads used to wear in Thrace, and whence the Maenads themselves are often called bassarae or bassarides. The name of this garment again seems to be connected with, or rather the same as, βασσαρίς, a fox (Hesych. s. v. βασσάραι), probably because it was originally made of fox-skins. Others derive the name Bassareus from a Hebrew word, according to which its meaning would be the same as the Greek προτρύγης, that is, the precursor of the vintage. On some of the vases discovered in southern Italy Dionysus is represented in a long garment which is commonly considered to be the Thracian bassara.