1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Thyrsus
|←Thyrostraca||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 26
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THYRSUS (the latinized form of Gr. θύρσος, a stem or stalk) the wand or staff of Dionysus (Bacchus), the Bacchants and Maenads and the votaries taking part in his orgiastic rites. As commonly represented on the monuments it was a straight staff terminating in a pine cone, a ribbon or fillet being attached to the head below it. Another form terminated in a bunch of grapes and vine leaves, or ivy-berries and leaves. The pine-cone or bunch of leaves was sometimes supposed to cover the head of a spear, and the thyrsus was termed θυρσόλογχος (see Dionysus and Mystery).