Satyr Sons of Hermes
THE SATYROI HERMEIDES were three satyr-messengers of the god Dionysos named Pherespondos, Lykos and Pronomos.
HERMES & IPHTHIME (Nonnus Dionysiaca 14.105)
PHERESPONDOS, LYKOS, PRONOMOS (Nonnus Dionysiaca 14.105)
CLASSICAL LITERATURE QUOTES
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 14. 105 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"[The goddess Rhea summoned rustic divinities to the army of Dinoysos for his campaign against the Indians :] The horned Satyroi (Satyrs) were commanded by these leaders [various Satyr sons of Seilenoi (Silens) are named] . . .
With Pherespondos (Pherespondus) walked Lykos (Lycus) the loudvoiced herald, and Pronomos (Pronomus) renowned for intelligence--all sons of Hermes, when he had joined Iphthime to himself in secret union. She was the daughter of Doros (Dorus), himself sprung from Zeus and a root of the race of Hellen, and Doros was ancestor whence came the Akhaian (Achaean) blood of the Dorian tribe. To these three, Eiraphiotes [Dionysos], entrusted the dignity of the staff of the heavenly herald, their father the source of wisdom."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 14. 298 ff :
"[At the start of Dionysos' war against the Indians :] Bakkhos (Bacchus) [Dionysos] sent two heralds to give proclamation of war, either to fight or to fly: and with them went goatfoot Pan, his long-haired beard shadowing his whole chest . . . The heralds of Bromios [Dionysos] departed [from the Indian camp], for Astraeis [a general of the Indian king] drew near them contemptuous, with pitiless menace on his tongue. Furiously he chased away Pan and the oxhorned Satyroi (Satyrs), despising the heralds of Dionysos when he was gently. They turned with timid foot, and made their way back in flight to Dionysos now in warlike mood."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 18. 313 ff :
"He [Dionysos] summoned Pherespondos (Bring-Libation), one of the swift like the wind, the offspring of the heavenly herald [Hermes], the clever son of Iphthime, and greeted him with friendly words : ‘Son of Hermaon (Hermes), herald that I love, go take this message to proud Deriades [King of the Indians] : "Prince, accept the gifts of Lyaios [Dionysos] without war, or fight against Bromios and you shall be like [the river-god] Orontes!"’
So he spoke, and the herald on swift shoes holding his father's rod travelled from land to land, until he made his way to the Eastern country."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 21. 200 ff :
"[King Lykourgos (Lycurgus) drove Dionysos into the sea. The god then despatched a messenger to his army in India :] While Bakkhos (Bacchus) [Dionysos] enjoyed the hospitality of the sea, the windfoot courier [one of his Satyr-messengers] of vineplanting Bromios [Dionysos] traversed the Kaukasos (Caucasus) mountains to the Indian city. He had the shape of a bull, a borrowed from bearing horns, the very image of the horns of Selene (the Moon); the skin of a mountain goat was thrown over his body, and hung over one shoulder from the collar-bone draping his right side down to the fork of the thigh; he shook a pair of long ears like the ears of an ass beside his two cheeks, and was covered with hair, with a self-wagging tail that grew out from between his loins. The swarthy Indians crowded about him laughing, until he approached the place where huge Deriades [King of the Indians], that king of men, sat in his chariot-and-pair. He checked the steps of his towering elephants and laughing spoke to the Satyros (Satyr) in words of raillery : ‘What doubleshaped men bullform Dionysos sends to Deriades! What playthings for a soldier! Monsters, not creatures having a wholly human shape! They have the form of beasts! For with a double shape they are bastards, bulls and men at once--they have the bull's body and the man's face.’
So he spoke, and made a summoning signal for war, by striking a hearty blow with his sword upon the round boss which was seen in the middle of his richly-ornamented shield: the metal struck boomed out a sound of havoc from the oxhide. Then the swiftcoursing herald of Bromios opened his amazed lips, and gave his message to the grim king : ‘Deriades, sceptred king, the god Dionysos commands the Indians to accept the wine of his care-forgetting vintage, and to pour libations to the immortals without war, without battle. If they refuse he takes up arms, until Hydaspes bend a servile knee to the wands of the Bassarides. You have heard a truthful message : now give some answer to my address, which I may deliver to Dionysos.’
When he had done, the monarch roared in furious voice : ‘Ha, what a word the bold man-beast has spoken! It would be shameful to strike down a herald with violent hand, one who comes without valiant spear and holds no oxhide shield . . . Turn your foot, if you please, to the marches of the Median land; go there and proclaim the dances of Dionysos . . . Go and give this answer to battleshy Dionysos. Go untouched, and evil go with you; go before I draw my bow, go with a curse if you would escape my spear! Arm for battle your half-and-half beasts and your uncorseleted women, and fight with Deriades! Then after our Indian victory I will drag you away along with Dionysos, the captive of my spear. But I will not make you my envoy. You cannot do such service in the house for me, but I will allow you to fan me at my table with your long ears.’
This said, he dismissed him with threatening looks, after quickly scribbling this message within a tabled with two folding sides : ‘Take arms against Deriades if you can, Dionysos.’ Such words as these the loudvoiced herald heard and departed. He found the Seilenoi in high glee: Dionysos had come up out the waters . . . They were enjoying themselves as the herald came back, safe and sound, and greatly desired by Bakkhos rejoicing. He reported the highnecked folly of Deriades, and carried the double tablets pregnant with war."
NAMES OF THE SATYRS HERMEIDES
Beast Offering (phêr, spondê)
Before the Pasture (pro-, nomos)
- Nonnus, Dionysiaca - Greek Epic C5th A.D.
A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.