ecstatics, they were the thyrsus
and the stylus, the healthy narcissus.
That "Michael Field" subsequently took the Bacchic staff of the Maenads, the thyrsus
pole, as the emblem for the covers of their works affirms Bradley and Cooper's devotion to what Ahmed calls a stray's philosophy.
The director's requirement were that the duplicate head 1) needed to be a believable replica of the actor playing Pentheus, both from a distance and up close, 2) needed to appear to be screaming, 3) needed to "sound like wet meat" when dropped, and 4) needed to bleed onstage on demand (when the thyrsus
23) Ovid, in fact, makes no mention of knives in the death of Pentheus, although Agave hurls a thyrsus
, or pinecone-topped fennel staff, at him.
A glance at the OED shows that these objects are not identical: caduceus is defined as "The fabled wand carried by Hermes or Mercury as the messenger of the gods; usually represented by two serpents twined around it," while thyrsus
is defined as "a staff or spear tipped with an ornament like a pine-cone, and sometimes wreathed with ivy or vine branches; borne by Dionysus (Bacchus) and his votaries.
In desert moonlight, I see David Cohen, naked and clasping his Dionysian thyrsus
, leading 200 Radical Faeries up a mysterious desert ravine to a circle outlined with a hundred hurricane candles with a blazing fire at the center.
From all sides the familiar shout is raised and Achilles once more brandishes the thyrsus
12, 413: caulem autem medium fruticem, qui uulgo thyrsus
An image of classical sensuality that defiantly substitutes a thyrsus
for a cross ("une bacchante qui tient un thyrse au lieu de la croix").
Wallace's passage stated, "from the floor where he had fallen, a youth was brought forward, so effeminately beautiful he might have passed for the drinking-god himself--only the crown would have dropped from his head, and the thyrsus
from his hand" (235-36).
The "ivy" Aurora eventually chooses she gives an unusual significance: that it is "as good to grow on graves / As twist about a thyrsus
," aligning the usual symbol of Bacchus to the "graves," we might argue, of her predecessors.