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Beginning of The Bacchae · 3463 dagen geleden by Ad van den Ende

The Bacchae, also known as The Bacchantes, is an ancient Greek tragedy written by the Athenian playwright Euripides during his final years in Macedonia. It premiered posthumously at the Theatre of Dionysos in 405 BC, and Euripides’ son or nephew probably directed it. It won first prize in the City Dionysia festival competition.

The Bacchae is concerned with two opposite sides of man’s natures: There is the rational and civilized side, which is represented by the character of Pentheus, the king of Thebes, and then there is the instinctive side, which is represented by Dionysus. This side is sensual without analysis, it feels a connection between man and beast, and it is a potential source of divinity and spiritual power.
In Euripides’ plays the gods represent various human qualities, allowing the audience to grapple with considerations of the human condition. The Bacchae seems to be saying that it is perilous to deny or ignore the human desire for Dionysian experience; those who are open to the experience will find spiritual power, and those who suppress or repress the desire in themselves or others will transform it into a destructive force.

The tragedy is based on the Greek myth of King Pentheus of Thebes and his mother Agava and their punishment by the god Dionysus (who is Pentheus’ cousin). The god Dionysus appears at the beginning of the play and proclaims that he has arrived in Thebes to avenge the slander, which has been repeated by his aunts, that he is not the son of Zeus. In response, he intends to introduce Dionysian rites into the city, and he intends to demonstrate to the king, Pentheus, and to Thebes that he was indeed born a god.
However, as the play proceeds Dionysus encounters what he considers newly occurring reasons to be angry, and in his capriciousness, the audience watches his revenge grow out of proportion. By the end of the play, there is the horrible and gruesome death of the king and the wrecking of the city of Thebes by the destruction of its ruling party and by the exiling of its entire population. Dionysus will further cause the plundering of a number of other cities.

In The Bacchae there are two completely different versions of Dionysus. First there is the god as he is described by the chorus, which is the god of wine and uninhibited joy and instinct. However, Dionysus as he appears as a character on the stage, has come for revenge, and is never like this. He is instead deliberate, plotting, angry and vengeful.

The Bacchae is considered to be not only Euripides’ greatest tragedy, but one of the greatest ever written, modern or ancient. The Bacchae is distinctive for the fact that the chorus is integrated into the plot, and the god is not a distant presence, but is a character in the play, he is in fact the protagonist.


The Dionysus in Euripides’ tale is a young god, angry that his mortal family, the royal house of Cadmus, has denied him a place of honor as a deity. His mortal mother, Semele, was a mistress of Zeus; while pregnant she was killed, through trickery, by Hera, who was jealous of her husband’s affair. When Semele died, her sisters said it was Zeus’ will and accused her of lying; they also accused their father, Cadmus, of using Zeus as a coverup.

Most of Semele’s family refuse to believe Dionysus is the son of Zeus, and the young god is spurned in his home. He has traveled throughout Asia and other foreign lands, gathering a cult of female worshipers (Maenades or Bacchantes). At the play’s start he has returned, disguised as a stranger, to take revenge on the house of Cadmus. He has also driven the women of Thebes, including his aunts, into an ecstatic frenzy, sending them dancing and hunting on Mount Kithaeron, much to the horror of their families. Complicating matters, his cousin, the young king Pentheus, has declared a ban on the worship of Dionysus throughout Thebes.

The play begins in front of the palace of Thebes, with Dionysus telling the story of his origin and his reasons for visiting the city. Dionysus explains that he was born prematurely, when Hera made Zeus send down a lightning bolt, killing the pregnant Semele and causing the birth.
Some in Thebes, he notes, don’t believe this story. In fact, Semele’s sisters — Autonoe, Agave, and Ino – claim it is a lie intended to cover up the fact that Semele became pregnant by some mortal; they say Zeus’ lightning was a punishment for the lie. Dionysus reveals that he has driven the women of the city mad, including his three aunts, and has led them into the mountains to observe his ritual festivities. He explains that while he is appearing, at the moment, disguised as a mortal, he will vindicate his mother by appearing before all of Thebes as a god, the son of Zeus, and establishing his permanent cult of followers.

Dramatis personae:

(also known as Bromius, Bacchus, Evius )
(Prophet of Thebes)
(Founder and former king of Thebes)
(King of Thebes, Kadmos’ grandson)
(Pentheus’ mother)
The royal palace of Thebes. 
Two or three steps separate the palace from the ground.
Night.  Behind the curtains we hear flutes, tambourines
and drums playing “eastern” (Lydian/Persian) music. 
The percussion is made by swords banging upon drums,
as we’ll see later.
Female shouts of “ecstasy” and joyful rage, the signifiers
of Dionysiac festival.
Thunder and Lightning interrupt  the music and the festive shouts.
The Lightning briefly reveals a tomb at Stage Right
and back, close to the palace wall.  Dionysos the god
is standing behind the tomb and is seen through the lightening.
He has come to Earth in the guise of a human.
A brief silent pause before Dawn slowly lights up the stage.
In front of the tomb and with his back to the audience,
stands Dionysos.
The tomb is made of stones and a thin curlicue of smoke
is slowly rising from above it.
He is carefully and reverently placing some grape vines
upon it and around it.
In the surrounding ground, we will see shoots of fennel.
He is holding a tall thyrsus.
Dionysos is a young, handsome, gentle man with a boyish
(if not effeminate) appearance and with long, soft, blond plaits.
On his head is a garland of ivy, again fashionably and
fastidiously placed, and his clothes are brightly coloured
(thus showing he’s a foreigner and from the east). His beard is red.
The ivy garland, I would have it, forms a long but soft drape
that hangs plaited within his hair from the top of the back
of his head to almost the ground.
He addresses the audience.  Gently, softly and with dignity.
Dionysos: Looks around him, examining the “land”

1 ἥκω Διὸς παῖς τήνδε Θηβαίων χθόνα
I, the son of Zeus, have come to this land of the Thebans
Διόνυσος, ὃν τίκτει ποθ᾽ ἡ Κάδμου κόρη Σεμέλη
Dionysus, whom once bore Semele, Kadmos’ daughter,
λοχευθεῖσ᾽ ἀστραπηφόρῳ πυρί:
delivered by a lightning-bearing flame.
μορφὴν δ᾽ ἀμείψας ἐκ θεοῦ βροτησίαν
And having taken a mortal form instead of a god’s,
5 πάρειμι Δίρκης νάματ᾽ Ἰσμηνοῦ θ᾽ ὕδωρ.
I am here at the fountains of Dirke and the water of Ismenus.
Again turns and points at the tomb.
ὁρῶ δὲ μητρὸς μνῆμα τῆς κεραυνίας
And I see the tomb of my thunder-stricken mother
τόδ᾽ ἐγγὺς οἴκων καὶ δόμων ἐρείπια
here near the palace, and the remnants of her house,
τυφόμενα Δίου πυρὸς ἔτι ζῶσαν φλόγα,
smouldering with the still living flame of Zeus’ fire,
ἀθάνατον Ἥρας μητέρ᾽ εἰς ἐμὴν ὕβριν.
the everlasting insult of Hera against my mother.

10 αἰνῶ δὲ Κάδμον,
I praise Kadmos,
ἄβατον ὃς πέδον τόδε τίθησι,
who has made this place impassible,
θυγατρὸς σηκόν; ἀμπέλου δέ νιν
the shrine of his daughter; with of the vine
πέριξ ἐγὼ ‘κάλυψα βοτρυώδει χλόῃ.
the cluster-bearing leaf I have covered it all around,
λιπὼν δὲ Λυδῶν τοὺς πολυχρύσους γύας
having left the wealthy lands of the Lydians
Φρυγῶν τε, Περσῶν θ᾽ ἡλιοβλήτους πλάκας
and of Phrygians, the sun-parched plains of the Persians,
15 Βάκτριά τε τείχη τήν τε δύσχιμον χθόνα
and the Bactrian walls, and over the wintry land
Μήδων ἐπελθὼν
of the Medes having passed,
Ἀραβίαν τ᾽ εὐδαίμονα
and blessed Arabia,
Ἀσίαν τε πᾶσαν,
and all of Asia
ἣ παρ᾽ ἁλμυρὰν ἅλα κεῖται
which lies along the salt sea,
μιγάσιν Ἕλλησι βαρβάροις θ᾽ ὁμοῦ πλήρεις
having (full of Hellenes and barbarians mingled together)
ἔχουσα καλλιπυργώτους πόλεις,
beautifully-towered cities

20 ἐς τήνδε πρῶτον ἦλθον Ἑλλήνων πόλιν,
I have come to this Hellene city first,
τἀκεῖ χορεύσας
those lands having set to dance
καὶ καταστήσας ἐμὰς τελετάς,
and having established my mysteries (there),
ἵν᾽ εἴην ἐμφανὴς δαίμων βροτοῖς.
so that I might be a visible deity among men.

πρώτας δὲ Θήβας τῆσδε γῆς Ἑλληνίδος
First I have Thebes in this land of Hellas
ἀνωλόλυξα, νεβρίδ᾽ ἐξάψας χροὸς
excited to my cry, fitting a fawn-skin to my body
25 θύρσον τε δοὺς ἐς χεῖρα, κίσσινον βέλος:
and taking a thyrsos in my hand, a missile weapon with ivy.
ἐπεί μ᾽ ἀδελφαὶ μητρός, ἃς ἥκιστα χρῆν,
For my mother’s sisters, the ones who least should,
Διόνυσον οὐκ ἔφασκον ἐκφῦναι Διός,
claimed that Dionysus was not the child of Zeus,
Σεμέλην δὲ νυμφευθεῖσαν ἐκ θνητοῦ τινος
but that Semele had been seduced by a mortal man
ἐς Ζῆν᾽ ἀναφέρειν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν λέχους,
and then to Zeus ascribed the sin of her bed,
30 Κάδμου σοφίσμαθ᾽, ὧν νιν οὕνεκα
a trick of Kadmos’, for which
κτανεῖν Ζῆν᾽ ἐξεκαυχῶνθ᾽,
they boasted that Zeus killed her,
ὅτι γάμους ἐψεύσατο.
because she had told a lie about her marriage.

τοιγάρ νιν αὐτὰς ἐκ δόμων ᾤστρησ᾽ ἐγὼ
Therefore I have goaded them from the house
μανίαις, ὄρος δ᾽ οἰκοῦσι παράκοποι φρενῶν:
in frenzy, and they dwell in the mountains, out of their wits;
σκευήν τ᾽ ἔχειν ἠνάγκασ᾽ ὀργίων ἐμῶν,
and I have compelled them to wear the outfit of my mysteries.

35 καὶ πᾶν τὸ θῆλυ σπέρμα Καδμείων, ὅσαι
And all the female offspring of Cadmaeians, as many as
γυναῖκες ἦσαν, ἐξέμηνα δωμάτων:
were women, I have driven maddened from the house,
ὁμοῦ δὲ Κάδμου παισὶν ἀναμεμειγμέναι
and they, mingled with the daughters of Kadmos,
χλωραῖς ὑπ᾽ ἐλάταις ἀνορόφοις ἧνται πέτραις.
sit beneath green pines on roofless rocks.

δεῖ γὰρ πόλιν τήνδ᾽ ἐκμαθεῖν, κεἰ μὴ θέλει,
For this city must learn, even if it don’t will.
40 ἀτέλεστον οὖσαν τῶν ἐμῶν βακχευμάτων,
that it is not initiated into my Bacchic rites,
Σεμέλης τε μητρὸς ἀπολογήσασθαί μ᾽ ὕπερ
and that I plead the case of my mother, Semele,
φανέντα θνητοῖς δαίμον᾽
in appearing manifest to mortals as a divinity
ὃν τίκτει Διί.
whom she bore to Zeus.

Κάδμος μὲν οὖν γέρας τε καὶ τυραννίδα δίδωσι
Now Kadmos has given his honor and power
Πενθεῖ θυγατρὸς ἐκπεφυκότι,
to Pentheus, his daughter’s son,
45 ὃς θεομαχεῖ τὰ κατ᾽ ἐμὲ
who fights against the gods as far as I am concerned
σπονδῶν ἄποκαὶὠθεῖ μ᾽,
and drives me away from sacrifices,
ἐν εὐχαῖς τ᾽ οὐδαμοῦ μνείαν ἔχει.
and in prayers makes no mention of me;
ὧν οὕνεκ᾽ αὐτῷ θεὸς γεγὼς ἐνδείξομαι
for which I will show him that I was born a god
πᾶσίν τε Θηβαίοισιν. ἐς δ᾽ ἄλλην χθόνα,
and to all the Thebans. And on to another land,
τἀνθένδε θέμενος εὖ, μεταστήσω πόδα,
when I have set matters here right, I will move
50 δεικνὺς ἐμαυτόν: ἢν δὲ Θηβαίων πόλις
having revealed myself. But if the city of Thebes
ὀργῇ σὺν ὅπλοις ἐξ ὄρους βάκχας ἄγειν ζητῇ,
should in anger seek to drive with arms the Bacchae out of the mountains
ξυνάψω μαινάσι στρατηλατῶν.
I will join battle (with them), commanding the Maenads,
ὧν οὕνεκ᾽ εἶδος θνητὸν ἀλλάξας ἔχω
On which account I have a mortal form, having changed it,
μορφήν τ᾽ ἐμὴν μετέβαλον εἰς ἀνδρὸς φύσιν.
and altered my shape into the nature of a man.

From both sides of the stage we hear the tambourines
and ecstatic sounds of women. It is that of the chorus
of maenads (Dionysos’ followers) and, after a short pause
they enter dancing  wildly, frenzied, noisily.
They are foreigners, “Orientals.

ἀλλ᾽, ὦ λιποῦσαι Τμῶλον ἔρυμα Λυδίας,
But, you women who have left Tmolus, the bulwark of Lydia,
θίασος ἐμός, γυναῖκες, ἃς ἐκ βαρβάρων
my sacred band, whom from among the barbarians
ἐκόμισα παρέδρους καὶ ξυνεμπόρους ἐμοί,
I have brought as assistants and companions to me,
αἴρεσθε τἀπιχώρι᾽ ἐν πόλει Φρυγῶν
take the native instruments of the city of the Phrygians,
τύμπανα, Ῥέας τε μητρὸς ἐμά θ᾽ εὑρήματα,
drums, of mother Rhea and myself the inventions,
60 βασίλειά τ᾽ ἀμφὶ δώματ᾽ ἐλθοῦσαι τάδε
and going about this palace of Pentheus
κτυπεῖτε Πενθέως, ὡς ὁρᾷ Κάδμου πόλις.
beat them, so that Kadmos’ city may see.
ἐγὼ δὲ βάκχαις, ἐς Κιθαιρῶνος πτυχὰς
I myself having gone to the folds of Kithairon,
ἐλθὼν ἵν᾽ εἰσί, συμμετασχήσω χορῶν.
where the Bacchae are, Iwill share in their dances.

Exit Dionysos

The Chorus of Maenads plays for a few moments
before one begins to speak.
Blessed is he who, being fortunate and knowing the rites of the gods,
keeps his life pure and [75] has his soul initiated into the Bacchic revels,
dancing in inspired frenzy over the mountains with holy purifications,
and who, revering the mysteries of great mother Kybele,
[80] brandishing the thyrsos, garlanded with ivy, serves Dionysus.
Go, Bacchae, go, Bacchae, escorting the god Bromius, child of a god,
[85] from the Phrygian mountains to the broad streets of Hellas—Bromius.

Whom once, in the compulsion of birth pains, [90] the thunder
of Zeus flying upon her, his mother cast from her womb, leaving life
by the stroke of a thunderbolt. Immediately Zeus, Kronos’ son,
[95] received him in a chamber fit for birth, and having covered him
in his thigh shut him up with golden clasps, hidden from Hera.
And he brought forth, when the Fates [100] had perfected him,
the bull-horned god, and he crowned him with crowns of snakes,
for which reason Maenads cloak their wild prey over their locks.

[105] O Thebes, nurse of Semele, crown yourself with ivy, flourish,
flourish with the verdant yew bearing sweet fruit, and crown yourself
in honor of Bacchus with branches of oak [110] or pine. Adorn your
garments of spotted fawn-skin with fleeces of white sheep, and sport
in holy games with insolent thyrsoi 1. At once all the earth will dance—

Put on the dappled fawn skins on your back and crown
your heads with soft curls of white wool.
Wrap holy ivy around the rebellious wand of our god
and hold it with reverence – And when our god, Dionysos, the god who bellows thunders,
arrives with his ecstatic band –there, high upon the mountain,
Upon the mountain, to where the women have escaped
from their loom and their shuttlecock-  all those women,
made wild by the frenzy Dionysos sent them, that’s when
the whole of Thebes shall dance, shall dance wildly, ecstatically!
When Dionysos arrives upon the mountain.

Home of the Kouretes!
most sacred land of Zeus!
Crete’s deepest valley!
There the three crested Corybantes invented this drum!
A piece of skin tightly drawn over a circle,
Which when in frenzy they bring together its loud beat
with that of the soft breath of the Phrygian Flutes.
This drum they’ve put in mother Rhea’s hands
for her to accompany the wild cries of the Bacchants.

Ah, but the sly Satyrs stole it from her hands and
straightaway united it with the crazy dances of Dionysos
that come every second year.
A splendid joy for the god.
Happy is that Satyr who runs freely in the valley,
dressed in the soft, holy skin of a deer, seeking
the blood of a slaughtered stag and the joy of eating
raw flesh as he charges deep into the mountains
of the Phrygians and the Lydians.

First among the blessings, Thunderous Dionysos!
In the valley flows the milk and the sweet wine.
In the valley the nectar from the bees runs freely
and so do the smoky smells that are like Syrian incense.
And there the god, holding a fennel torch, lit high,
jumps and runs, jumps and runs until he urges his maenads
into the mystic dance and with his cries makes them wild.
Look there how he lets his curly tresses loose to the whims
of the wind’s breath.
And then, triumphantly he shouts:

Blessings, blessings!
Sing for Dionysos with the heavy sounds of the drum.
Blessings, blessings to the blessed God, with
Phrygian shouts and cries, when the sweet-voiced
sacred flute plays loud songs in harmony as they
travel up the mountain, that mountain.
Joyfully then, like the filly follows her mare,
the maenad kicks her legs high.

Enter Teiresias, a blind seer, holding the hand of a boy-guide
with one hand and a thyrsus with the other.
Almost totally bald and with a thin long grey beard.
The ivy garland around his bald head, precariously situated
and askew, make him a comical figure.  He is wearing
a fawn-skin jacket.
His body is bent by his many years.



170τίς ἐν πύλαισι;
Who is at the gates?
The boy goes and knocks at the door.
Κάδμον ἐκκάλει δόμων,
Call from the house Kadmos,
Ἀγήνορος παῖδ᾽, ὃς πόλιν Σιδωνίαν
son of Agenor, who, the city of Sidon
λιπὼν ἐπύργωσ᾽ ἄστυ Θηβαίων τόδε.
having left, provided with towers this city of Thebans .
ἴτω τις, εἰσάγγελλε Τειρεσίας ὅτι
Let someone go, and tell him that Teiresias
ζητεῖ νιν: οἶδε δ᾽ αὐτὸς ὧν ἥκω πέρι
is looking for him; he knows why I have come
175ἅ τε ξυνεθέμην πρέσβυς ὢν γεραιτέρῳ,
and what I did agree, being old with a still older man;
θύρσους ἀνάπτειν καὶ νεβρῶν δορὰς ἔχειν
to twine the thyrsoi, to wear deer-skins,
στεφανοῦν τε κρᾶτα κισσίνοις βλαστήμασιν.
and to crown our heads with ivy branches.


ὦ φίλταθ᾽, ὡς σὴν γῆρυν ᾐσθόμην κλύων
Dearest friend, for your wise voice I recognised, it hearing,
σοφὴν σοφοῦ παρ᾽ ἀνδρός, ἐν δόμοισιν ὤν:
of a wise man, when I was in the palace;
180ἥκω δ᾽ ἕτοιμος τήνδ᾽ ἔχων σκευὴν θεοῦ: I come willingly, having this equipment of the god;
δεῖ γάρ νιν ὄντα παῖδα θυγατρὸς ἐξ ἐμῆς
for him, being the child of my daughter,
Διόνυσον ὃς πέφηνεν ἀνθρώποις θεὸς
[Dionysus, who has appeared to men as a god]
ὅσον καθ᾽ ἡμᾶς δυνατὸν αὔξεσθαι μέγαν.
as much as is in our power, we must extol greatly.

ποῖ δεῖ χορεύειν, ποῖ καθιστάναι πόδα
To where we have to go to dance, where to place our foot,
185καὶ κρᾶτα σεῖσαι πολιόν; ἐξηγοῦ σύ μοι
and to shake my grey head? Guide me,
γέρων γέροντι, Τειρεσία: σὺ γὰρ σοφός.
you, old man, an other old man, Teiresias, for you are wise,
ὡς οὐ κάμοιμ᾽ ἂν οὔτε νύκτ᾽ οὔθ᾽ ἡμέραν
So I shall not tire nor night nor day
θύρσῳ κροτῶν γῆν: ἐπιλελήσμεθ᾽ ἡδέως
with a thyrsus striking the earth; we have forgotten gladly
γέροντες ὄντες.
that we are old.
ταὔτ᾽ ἐμοὶ πάσχεις ἄρα:
Then the same things as me you are feeling;
190κἀγὼ γὰρ ἡβῶ κἀπιχειρήσω χοροῖς.
for I too feel young and will try to dance.

οὐκοῦν ὄχοισιν εἰς ὄρος περάσομεν;
Then in a chariot we will go to the mountain ?

ἀλλ᾽ οὐχ ὁμοίως ἂν ὁ θεὸς τιμὴν ἔχοι.
But then the god would not have equal honor.
γέρων γέροντα παιδαγωγήσω σ᾽ ἐγώ.
I, an old man, will lead you, an old man.


ὁ θεὸς ἀμοχθὶ κεῖσε νῷν ἡγήσεται
The god, without trouble, will lead both of us there. .

195μόνοι δὲ πόλεως Βακχίῳ χορεύσομεν;
Are we the only ones in the city who in Bacchus’ honor will dance?


μόνοι γὰρ εὖ φρονοῦμεν, οἱ δ᾽ ἄλλοι κακῶς.
For we alone think rightly, the others wrongly.


μακρὸν τὸ μέλλειν: ἀλλ᾽ ἐμῆς ἔχου χερός.
Long-lasting is the delay; come, take hold of my hand.


ἰδού, ξύναπτε καὶ ξυνωρίζου χέρα.
Here, take hold, and join your hand with mine.


οὐ καταφρονῶ ‘γὼ τῶν θεῶν θνητὸς γεγώς.
I do not scorn the gods, having been born mortal.


200οὐδὲν σοφιζόμεσθα τοῖσι δαίμοσιν.
In nothing we can deceive the gods,
πατρίους παραδοχάς, ἅς θ᾽ ὁμήλικας χρόνῳ
Our ancestral traditions, and those which from the ,same age
κεκτήμεθ᾽, οὐδεὶς αὐτὰ καταβαλεῖ λόγος,
we have acquired, no argument will reject them,
οὐδ᾽ εἰ δι᾽ ἄκρων τὸ σοφὸν ηὕρηται φρενῶν.
not even if some craftiness should be discovered.
ἐρεῖ τις ὡς τὸ γῆρας οὐκ αἰσχύνομαι,
Someone will say, “Aren’t you ashamed of your old age,
205μέλλων χορεύειν κρᾶτα κισσώσας ἐμόν;
going dancing, my head having wrapped in ivy?”
οὐ γὰρ διῄρηχ᾽ ὁ θεός, οὔτε τὸν νέον
For the god does not differentiate, neither the young one,
εἰ χρὴ χορεύειν οὔτε τὸν γεραίτερον,
if people have to dance, nor the old one,
ἀλλ᾽ ἐξ ἁπάντων βούλεται τιμὰς ἔχειν
but from all he wants to have reverence
κοινάς, διαριθμῶν δ᾽ οὐδέν᾽ αὔξεσθαι θέλει.
common, nobody isolating he will be honoured.


210ἐπεὶ σὺ φέγγος, Τειρεσία, τόδ᾽ οὐχ ὁρᾷς,
Because you (owing to) the daylight, Teresias, this not sees,
ἐγὼ προφήτης σοι λόγων γενήσομαι.
I will be your interpreter.
Πενθεὺς πρὸς οἴκους ὅδε διὰ σπουδῆς περᾷ,
Pentheus goes here to the palace in haste,
Ἐχίονος παῖς, ᾧ κράτος δίδωμι γῆς.
child of Echion, to whom I have given control of this land.
ὡς ἐπτόηται: τί ποτ᾽ ἐρεῖ νεώτερον;
How nervous he is! What new matter will he tell us?


215ἔκδημος ὢν μὲν τῆσδ᾽ ἐτύγχανον χθονός,
I happened to be outside of this land,
κλύω δὲ νεοχμὰ τήνδ᾽ ἀνὰ πτόλιν κακά,
when I hear of strange evils throughout this city,
γυναῖκας ἡμῖν δώματ᾽ ἐκλελοιπέναι
that women have left our homes
πλασταῖσι βακχείαισιν, ἐν δὲ δασκίοις
in so-called Bacchic rites in shadowy
ὄρεσι θοάζειν, τὸν νεωστὶ δαίμοναm
mountains rush about, this new deity

220Διόνυσον, ὅστις ἔστι, τιμώσας χοροῖς:
Dionysus, whoever he is, honoring with dances;
πλήρεις δὲ θιάσοις ἐν μέσοισιν ἑστάναι
(I hear that) full mixing-bowls stand in the midst of their assemblies,
κρατῆρας, ἄλλην δ᾽ ἄλλοσ᾽ εἰς ἐρημίαν
each (woman) creeping off different ways into secrecy
πτώσσουσαν εὐναῖς ἀρσένων ὑπηρετεῖν,
to serve the passions of men,
πρόφασιν μὲν ὡς δὴ μαινάδας θυοσκόους,
on the pretext that they are Maenads worshipping,
225τὴν δ᾽ Ἀφροδίτην πρόσθ᾽ ἄγειν τοῦ Βακχίου.
but they put Aphrodite above Bacchus.

ὅσας μὲν οὖν εἴληφα, δεσμίους χέρας
As many as I have taken prisoner, with their hands bound
σῴζουσι πανδήμοισι πρόσπολοι στέγαις:
servants keep in the public prison;
ὅσαι δ᾽ ἄπεισιν, ἐξ ὄρους θηράσομαι,
as many as are absent I will hunt from the mountains,
Ἰνώ τ᾽ Ἀγαύην θ᾽, ἥ μ᾽ ἔτικτ᾽ Ἐχίονι,
[I mean Ino and Agave, who bore me to Echion,
230Ἀκταίονός τε μητέρ᾽, Αὐτονόην λέγω.
and the mother of Actaeon, Autonoe.]
καὶ σφᾶς σιδηραῖς ἁρμόσας ἐν ἄρκυσιν
And having bound them in iron shackles
παύσω κακούργου τῆσδε βακχείας τάχα.
I will stop them from this nasty bakchos-party soon.

λέγουσι δ᾽ ὥς τις εἰσελήλυθε ξένος,
They say that some stranger has come,
γόης ἐπῳδὸς Λυδίας ἀπὸ χθονός,
a sorcerer, a conjuror from the Lydian land.