II-III d.C.

FILOSTRATO, Imago I, 14.

Testo tratto da: Fairbanks A (a cura di), Filostrato, Imagines, William Heinemann Ltd, Londra 1931

Bronte stern of face and Astropè flashing light from her eyes and raping fire from heaven that has laid hold of a king’s house, suggest the following tale if it one you know. A cloud of fire encompassing thebes breaks into the dwelling of Cadmus as Zeus comes wooing Semele; and Semele apperently is destroyed, dut Dionysus is born by Zeus, so I believe, in the presence of the fire. And the form of Semele is dimly seen as she goes to the heavens, where the Muses willi hymn her praises: but Dionysus leaps farth as his mother’s womb is rent apart and he makes the flame look dim, so brillantly does he shine like a radiant star. The flame, dividing, dimly outlines a cave for Dyonisus more charming that any in Assyria and Lidia; for sprays of ivy grow luxuriantly about it and cluster of ivy berries and now grape. Vines and stalks of thyrsus which spring up from the willing earth, so that some grow in the very fire. We must not be surprised if in honour of Dyonisus the fire is crowned by Earth for the Earth will take apart with the fire in the Bacchic revel and will make it possible for the revellers to take winw from springs and to draw milk from clods of earth or from a rock as from living breast . Listen to Pan, how he seems to be hymning Dionysus on the crests of Cithaeron as he dances an Evian fling. And Cithaeron in the form of man laments the woes soon to occur on his slapes, and he wears an ivy crown aslant on his head – for he accepts the crown most unwillingly – and Magaera causes a fir to shoot up beside him and brings to the light a spring of water in taken, I fancy, of the blood of Acteon and Pentheus.