All Sources -
Updated Media sources (1) About content Print Topic Share Topic
views updated

silenus (sīlē´nəs), in Greek mythology, part bestial and part human creature of the forests and mountains. Part of Dionysus' entourage, the sileni are usually represented as aged satyrs—drunken, jolly, bald, fat, bearded, and possessing horse ears. According to some myths they were prophets; but according to others they were so perpetually stupefied with drink that they were unable to distinguish truth from falsehood. In some legends only one such creature appears, Silenus, described as the oldest of the satyrs, the son of Hermes or Pan. He was the companion, adviser, or tutor of Dionysus.

views updated

Silenus in Greek mythology, an aged woodland deity, one of the sileni, who was entrusted with the education of Dionysus. He is depicted either as dignified and musical, or as an old drunkard. In general use, a silenus denotes a woodland spirit, usually depicted in art as old and having ears like those of a horse, similar to the satyrs.