Silenus

Eurasian MERBEING similar to and confused with the SATYR.

Etymology: Greek, uncertain origin; plural, Sileni. Said to mean "bubbling water."

Physical description: Bald head. Horse's ears. Snub nose. Thick lips. Long beard. Potbelly. Horse's hooves. Horse's tail.

Behavior: Lecherous. Drunken. Rides an ass when it is too drunk to walk. Has the power of prophecy. Like PAN, associated with the flute. Habitat: Springs and rivers. Distribution: Northwest Turkey (ancient Phrygia), especially around the Sakarya Valley.

Significant sightings: From the fifth century B.C., Silenus was considered the tutor and companion of the god Dionysus.

Around A.D. 70, Pliny wrote that a naturally imprinted image of Silenus had been found inside a rock in a marble quarry on the island of Paros, Greece.

Sources: Euripides, Cyclops, 5; Pliny the Elder, Natural History: A Selection, ed. John F. Healy (New York: Penguin Classics, 1991), p. 345 (XXXVI. 14); Ovid, Metamorphoses, XI. 91-109; Philostratus, Vita Apollonii, VI. 27; New Larousse Encyclopedia ofMythology (New York: Putnam, 1968), pp. 160-161, 168.

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