Euripides. The Tragedies of Euripides. Vol. I. Buckley, Theodore Alois, translator. London: Henry G. Bohn, 1850.

  1. Autonoe, the mother of Actaeon. And having bound them in iron fetters, I will soon stop them from this ill-working revelry. And they say that some stranger has come, a sorcerer, a conjuror from the Lydian land,
  2. fragrant in hair with golden curls, having in his eyes the wine-dark graces of Aphrodite. He is with the young girls day and night, alluring them with joyful mysteries. If I catch him within this house,
  3. I will stop him from making a noise with the thyrsos and shaking his hair, by cutting his head off. That one claims that Dionysus is a god, claims that he was once stitched into the thigh of Zeus—Dionysus, who was burnt up with his mother by the flame of lightning,
  4. because she had falsely claimed a marriage with Zeus. Is this not worthy of a terrible death by hanging, for a stranger to insult me with these insults, whoever he is? But here is another wonder—I see Teiresias the soothsayer in dappled fawn-skins
  5. and my mother’s father—a great absurdity—raging about with a thyrsos. I shrink, father, from seeing your old age devoid of sense. Won’t you cast away the ivy? Grandfather, will you not free your hand of the thyrsos?
  6. You persuaded him to this, Teiresias. Do you wish, by introducing another new god to men, to examine birds and receive rewards for sacrifices? If your gray old age did not defend you, you would sit in chains in the midst of the Bacchae,
  7. for introducing wicked rites. For where women have the delight of the grape-cluster at a feast, I say that none of their rites is healthy any longer.
Chorus Leader
  1. Oh, what impiety! O stranger, do you not reverence the gods and Kadmos who sowed the earth-born crop?
  2. Do you, the child of Echion, bring shame to your race?
  1. Whenever a wise man takes a good occasion for his speech, it is not a great task to speak well. You have a rapid tongue as though you were sensible, but there is no sense in your words.
  2. A man powerful in his boldness, one capable of speaking well, becomes a bad citizen in his lack of sense. This new god, whom you ridicule, I am unable to express how great he will be throughout Hellas. For two things, young man,
  3. are first among men: the goddess Demeter—she is the earth, but call her whatever name you wish; she nourishes mortals with dry food; but he who came afterwards, the offspring of Semele, discovered a match to it, the liquid drink of the grape, and introduced it
  4. to mortals. It releases wretched mortals from grief, whenever they are filled with the stream of the vine, and gives them sleep, a means of forgetting their daily troubles, nor is there another cure for hardships. He who is a god is poured out in offerings to the gods,
  5. so that by his means men may have good things. And do you laugh at him, because he was sewn up in Zeus’ thigh? I will teach you that this is well: when Zeus snatched him out of the lighting-flame, and led the child as a god to Olympus,
  6. Hera wished to banish him from the sky, but Zeus, as a god, had a counter-contrivance. Having broken a part of the air which surrounds the earth, he gave this to Hera as a pledge protecting the real[*](A line of text has apparently been lost here.)Dionysus from her hostility. But in time,
  7. mortals say that he was nourished in the thigh of Zeus, changing the word, because a god he had served as a hostage for the goddess Hera, and composing the story. [*](The account given in lines 292f. of the development of this legend is based on the similarity between the Greek words for hostage (ὅμηρος) and thigh (μηρός).) But this god is a prophet—for Bacchic revelry and madness have in them much prophetic skill.
  8. For whenever the god enters a body in full force, he makes the frantic to foretell the future. He also possesses a share of Ares’ nature. For terror sometimes flutters an army under arms and in its ranks before it even touches a spear;
  9. and this too is a frenzy from Dionysus. You will see him also on the rocks of Delphi, bounding with torches through the highland of two peaks, leaping and shaking the Bacchic branch, mighty throughout Hellas. But believe me, Pentheus;
  10. do not boast that sovereignty has power among men, nor, even if you think so, and your mind is diseased, believe that you are being at all wise. Receive the god into your land, pour libations to him, celebrate the Bacchic rites, and garland your head. Dionysus will not compel women
  11. to be modest in regard to Aphrodite, but in nature modesty dwells always you must look for that. For she who is modest will not be corrupted in Bacchic revelry. Do you see? You rejoice whenever many people are at your gates,