AMPELOS was a handome, young Thrakian Satyros (Satyr) loved by the god Dionysos. There were two accounts of his death. In one he was slain by a wild bull and transformed by the grieving god into the first grapevine. In the other Ampelos fell from an elm tree while picking grapes and was set amongst the stars as the constellation Vindemitor or Vindiatrix (better known as Bootes).
A SATYROS & A NYMPHE (Ovid Fasti 3.407)
CLASSICAL LITERATURE QUOTES
Ovid, Fasti 3. 407 ff (trans.Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"[The constellation] Grape-Gatherer (Vindemitor) . . . Its cause, too, takes a moment to teach. Beardless Ampelos, they say, a Nympha's and a Satyrus' (Satyr's) son, was loved by Bacchus [Dionysos] on Ismarian hills [in Thrace]. He trusted him with a vine hanging from the leaves of an elm; it is now named for the boy. The reckless youth fell picking gaudy grapes on a branch. Liber [Dionysos] lifted the lost boy to the stars."
Nonnus, Dionysiaca 11. 185 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"[Ampelos the love of Dionysos rode upon the back of a wild bull :] He shouted boldly to the fullfaced Moon (Mene)--‘Give me best, Selene, horned driver of cattle! Now I am both--I have horns and I ride a bull!’
So he called out boasting to the round Moon. Selene looked with a jealous eye through the air, to see how Ampleos rode on the murderous marauding bull. She sent him a cattlechasing gadfly; and the bull, pricked continually all over by the sharp sting, galloped away like a horse through pathless tracts. [It threw the boy and gorged him to death.]"
See Book 10 of Nonnus' Dionysiaca for the complete story of Ampelos.
- Nonnus, Dionysiaca - Greek Epic C5th A.D.
- Ovid, Fasti - Latin Poetry C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
Other references not currently quoted here: the story of Ampelos is told in great detail in book 10 of Nonnus' Dionysiaca (not currently quoted here).
A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.