Definitions for maenadˈmi næd
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word maenad
Random House Webster's College Dictionary
a frenzied or raging woman.
Origin of maenad:
1570–80; < L Maenad- (s. of Maenas) < Gk Mainás a bacchante, lit., madwoman
an unnaturally frenzied or distraught woman
(Greek mythology) a woman participant in the orgiastic rites of Dionysus
A female follower of Dionysus, associated with intense reveling.
An excessively wild or emotional woman.
a Bacchante; a priestess or votary of Bacchus
a frantic or frenzied woman
In Greek mythology, maenads were the female followers of Dionysus, the most significant members of the Thiasus, the god's retinue. Their name literally translates as "raving ones". Often the maenads were portrayed as inspired by Dionysus into a state of ecstatic frenzy, through a combination of dancing and drunken intoxication. In this state, they would lose all self-control, begin shouting excitedly, engage in uncontrolled sexual behavior, and ritualistically hunt down and tear to pieces animals—and, at least in myth, sometimes men and children—devouring the raw flesh. During these rites, the maenads would dress in fawn skins and carry a thyrsus, a long stick wrapped in ivy or vine leaves and tipped by a cluster of leaves; they would weave ivy-wreaths around their heads or wear a bull helmet in honor of their god, and often handle or wear snakes. German philologist Walter Friedrich Otto writes that The maddened Hellenic women of real life were mythologized as the mad women who were nurses of Dionysus in Nysa: Lycurgus "chased the Nurses of the frenzied Dionysus through the holy hills of Nysa, and the sacred implements dropped to the ground from the hands of one and all, as the murderous Lycurgus struck them down with his ox-goad." They went into the mountains at night and practised strange rites.
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