maenads and bacchantes

maenads and bacchantes

Female followers of the Greek wine-god Dionysus. The word maenad comes from the Greek, meaning “mad” or “demented.” During the orgiastic rites of Dionysus, maenads roamed the mountains and forests performing frenzied, ecstatic dances, and were believed to be possessed by the god. While under his influence they were supposed to have unusual strength; it was said they could tear animals or people to pieces (the fate met by Orpheus). As bacchantes they were named for Bacchus, the Roman counterpart of Dionysus.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on maenads and bacchantes, visit

Seen & Heard

What made you look up maenads and bacchantes? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More