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Headword: Θρίαμβος
Adler number: theta,494
Translated headword: thriambos, thriambus, triumph
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] a display of victory, a parade, and to act pompous; and upon[...].[1]
It received its name from the first verses to be written about Dionysos when he returned from India on a chariot of tigers. For they call the rapture of poets θρίασις . Or from the term θρία , the leaves of the fig dedicated to Dionysos.[2] Also because first, before masks were invented, they used to cover their faces completely with fig leaves and utter invective in iambic verse. But also the soldiers, imitating people on stage, used to cover their faces with leaves by way of ridicule and utter invective against those who were participating in the triumph.[3]
Otherwise: in certain cities, when the figs were in blossom, children used to prune off the [figs] along with the fig-leaves themselves and play with them, reciting iambic tetrameters.[4] Dionysos is also called 'Thriambos', because he rides on beasts [θηρῶν ], specifically, on lions; that is, a thriambos. Or because he is the discoverer of the fig. Or from the act of jumping [θορεῖν ], for he is prone to leaping. For he is also called Thysterios, from θύω ['to rage'] which means to stimulate. From which [also] arises the swinging tassel.[5]
Greek Original:
Θρίαμβος: ἐπίδειξις νίκης, πομπή, καὶ τὸ σεμνύνεσθαι: καὶ ἐπι. Θρίαμβος. ὠνομάσθη δὲ ἀπὸ τῶν ἐπῶν τῶν πρώτων εἰς Διόνυσον γεγραμμένων ἐξ Ἰνδίας ἐπὶ ἅρματος τίγρεων ἐπανερχόμενον. λέγουσι γὰρ θρίασιν τὴν τῶν ποιητῶν μανίαν. ἢ ἀπὸ τοῦ θρῖα, τὰ φύλλα τῆς συκῆς ἀνακειμένης τῷ Διονύσῳ. καὶ ὅτι πρῶτον πρὶν ἐπινοηθῆναι τὰ προσωπεῖα συκῆς φύλλοις ἐκάλυπτον πάντα τὰ ἑαυτῶν πρόσωπα καὶ δι' ἰάμβων ἐπέσκωπτον. ἀλλὰ καὶ οἱ στρατιῶται μιμούμενοι τοὺς ἐπὶ σκηνῆς τὰ ἑαυτῶν πρόσωπα φύλλοις συκῆς ἐν τῷ σκώπτειν καλύπτοντες σκώμματα εἰς τοὺς θριαμβεύοντας ἔλεγον. ἄλλως. ἔν τισι πόλεσιν, ὅταν ἤνθησαν αἱ συκαῖ, παῖδες περιαιροῦντες σὺν αὐτοῖς τοῖς θρίοις ἔπαιζον, προφερόμενοι ἰάμβια τετράμετρα. λέγεται δὲ καὶ Διόνυσος Θρίαμβος, διότι ἐπὶ θηρῶν, τουτέστιν ἐπὶ λεόντων, βέβηκεν, οἷον θηρίαμβος. ἢ ὅτι καὶ συκῆς ἐστιν εὑρετής. ἢ ἀπὸ τοῦ θορεῖν: πηδητικὸς γάρ. λέγεται γὰρ καὶ θυστήριος ἀπὸ τοῦ θύειν, ὅ ἐστιν ὁρμᾶν. ἀφ' οὗ καὶ τὸ αἰωρούμενον θύσανον.
[1] = Synagoge theta111 (and Photius, Lexicon theta224 Theodoridis), including the hanging ἐπι- ('upon') at the end. Clearly something has dropped out. Ms F has ἐπιδεικτικῶς ('in the manner of a show-speech'), but that is probably just a guess on the scribe's part. One could imagine ἐπιδείξις ('show') or ἐπιδεικνύεσθαι ('make a show of one's self'). In his edition of Photius, Theodoridis makes an ingenious suggestion: that the source of the Synagoge had, adjacent to this entry, one equivalent to Hesychius theta213: θεμερόν: σεμνόν. ἀφ' οὗ καὶ το σεμνύνεσθαι θεμερύνεσθαι. ('lofty: pompous. From which also to act pompous [is called] "to act lofty"'), and that the two entries were merged in transmission, perhaps on account of the presence of σεμνύνεσθαι in both. Theodoridis accordingly suggests replacing the ἐπι- with θεμερύνεσθαι. Compare the scholia on Lucian, How to Write History 31; Etymologicum Magnum 455.16, which parallels the Suda thus far and then proceeds directly to a later part of the present entry (see below).
[2] Thus far, cf. George the Monk, Chronicon 110.572; Cedrenus 1.470-471.
[3] A paraphrase of the same material up to this point is found in John of Antioch fr.167 FHG (4.602), now 250 Roberto.
[4] The Etymologicum Magnum also has this part of the entry (see n. 1), but includes the word σῦκα ('figs'), which makes for better sense: "children used to prune off the figs along with the fig-leaves themselves and play with them." After "iambic tetrameters" the Etymologicum Magnum also adds "or half-iambs." Adler also cites Anecdota Graeca (Cramer) 2.449.1 and 376.13.
[5] Much of this material occurs, with minor variations, in the Etymologicum Magnum On 'Thysterios' cf. theta 621. On 'tassels', theta 614, theta 615.
Keywords: agriculture; art history; botany; children; Christianity; clothing; comedy; daily life; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; economics; epic; food; geography; historiography; history; military affairs; meter and music; mythology; poetry; politics; religion; rhetoric; stagecraft; zoology
Translated by: William Hutton on 19 February 2008@06:35:43.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (typos; tweaks and cosmetics) on 19 February 2008@10:31:44.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 6 January 2013@08:28:11.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 11 November 2014@11:01:25.
Catharine Roth (cosmetic improvements suggested by RF) on 11 November 2014@13:02:23.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 12 November 2014@02:51:40.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 30 January 2015@03:12:39.
David Whitehead (my typo) on 15 June 2016@09:01:57.
Catharine Roth (cosmeticule) on 16 December 2018@01:35:56.


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