Baccahanalia is pronounced -- bak-uh-NAIL-yuh.
Bacchus (Roman) or Bakkhos
(Greek) is also known as Liber Pater who was the
Mythical God of Wine in Roman and Greek (Dionysus)
mythology. Bacchus was the son of Zeus and the princess
Semele. Bacchanalia's (festivals) were not only consecrated to Bacchus, but to all
the deities, whose festival was celebrated with a kind of enthusiasm. There were of three
different kinds, and called after the names of their inventors, Emmelian, Cordacian and
The most ancient of the religious dances is the Bacchic,
Bacchanals, (Baknal) which were invented by three
followers of Bacchus (Emmelian, Cordacian and Cycinnic), around 200 B.C. performed
by the satyrs and bacchants in his train. The Bacchanalia's (sanctuaries) are said to have
been introduced from southern Italy into Etruria, and from there into Rome at this time
but out-lawed by the senate around 186 BC. The major Roman carnivals
were the Bacchanalia, the Saturnalia, and the Lupercalia. Today the term Bacchanalia is
also used for a drunken or riotous celebration or is used to descibe a drunken dancer or
someone who is "under the influence of Bacchus.
According to Bonnet, in his "History of the Dance,"
the Emmelian was grave and serious, similar to those introduced on the French stage during
the last century, and known as the Sarabandes,
or the "grand style of dancing." The most majestic of the Emmelians was called
the Hyporchematic, which was executed to the lyre, and accompanied with the voice. The Cordacian
was brisk and lively, not unlike the more modern Gavots, Passepiés
and tambourin dances. The Cycinnic, so called from Cycinnis, the satyr, its inventor, was
part of the grave and lively style of dancing; something after the fashion of the more modern
Chacones, whose major is composed of bold and strong tunes; whilst
those of the minor are soft, tender and voluptuous.
The Festinalia, or Feasting Dances, were instituted by Bacchus
at his return from Egypt. After the repast, the sound of various instruments was heard,
inviting the guests to partake of another kind of entertainment. Dances of different sorts
were then performed; a kind of ball was opened, wherein mirth, dexterity, and magnificence
were profusely displayed. Authors are divided in their opinion in regard to the inventor
of these dances. Philostrates names Comus, and Diodorus, Tersyyore (Three
Jolly Fellows.) Be that as it may, certain it is, says our authority, "that
we can even so early trace the origin of our modern balls.
Pleasure has always been the constant pursuit of man; and though varied into a thousand
different shapes, it ever was the same in its end."