Greek Mythology >> Greek Gods >> Rustic Gods >> Telete


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Initiation (teletê)

TELETE was the goddess or spirit (daimona) of the initiation rites of the Bacchic Orgies. She was a daughter of the god Dionysos.


DIONYSOS & NIKAIA (Nonnus Dionysiaca 16.392)


Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 30. 1 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"[In the sanctuary of the Mousai (Muses) on Mt Helikon in Boiotia :] First [there are] images of the Mousai . . . by the side of Orpheus stands a statue of Telete, and around him are beasts of stone and bronze listening to his singing."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 16. 392 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"[The Nymphe Nikaia (Nicaea) was raped by the god Dionysos in her sleep :] She sought a remedy in death by the hanging noose, and encircled her neck with a choking throttling loop, to avert the malice of her mocking yearsmates. Unwilling she left the ancient beast-breeding forest, being ashamed after that bed to show herself to the Archeress [Artemis].
Now lined with the divine dew, the seed of Lyaios (Lyaeus) [Dionysos], she carried a burden in her womb; and when the time came for her delivery, the lifewarming Horai (Horae, Seasons) played the midwives to a female child, and confirmed the nine-circled course of Selene (the Moon). From the marriage of Bromios [Dionysos] a god-sent girl grew to flower, whom she named Telete (Consecration), one ever rejoicing in festivals, a night-dancing girl, who followed Dionysos, taking pleasure in clappers and the bang of the double oxhide."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 48. 865 ff :
"[Dionysos addresses Nikaia (Nicaea) :] ‘You who have learnt the throes of childbirth in hard necessity, by Telete your danceweaving daughter I beseech you, hasten to lift up my son [Iakkhos (Iacchus)], that my desperate Aura [mother of Iakkhos] may not destroy him with daring hands--for I know she will kill one of the two baby boys in her intolerable frenzy, but do you help Iakkhos : guard the better boy, that your Telete (Consecration) may be the servant of son and father both.’" [N.B. Iakkhos (Ritual-Cry) was the half-brother of Telete (Consecration).]




A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.