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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Satyr


Satyr
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Ancient Greek Satyr statuette.
In Greek mythology, satyrs (in Greek, Σάτυροι — Sátyroi) are a troop of male companions of Pan and Dionysus— "satyresses" were a late invention of poets— that roamed the woods and mountains. In mythology they are often associated with male sex drive and vase-painters often portrayed them with erections.
Contents[hide]
1 Mythology
1.1 In Greek mythology and art
1.2 In Roman mythology and art
2 Other references
3 Baby satyr
4 Satyrs and orangutan
5 In popular culture
6 See also
7 References
8 External links
//

[edit] Mythology

A bald, bearded, horse-tailed satyr balances a winecup on his erect phallus, on an Attic red-figured psykter, ca. 500-490 BC.
Their chief was called Silenus, a minor deity associated (like Hermes and Priapus) with fertility. These characters can be found in the only remaining satyr plays: Cyclops by Euripedes and Sophocles' The Searching Satyrs. The satyr play was a lighthearted follow-up attached to the end of each trilogy of tragedies in Athenian festivals honoring Dionysus. These plays would take a lighthearted approach to the heavier subject matter of the tragedies in the series, featuring heroes speaking in tragic iambic verse and taking their situation seriously as "straight men" to the flippant, irreverent and obscene remarks and antics of the satyrs. The groundbreaking tragic playwright Aeschylus is said to have been especially loved for his satyr plays, but none of them survived.
Satyrs acquired their goat-like aspect through later conflation with the Roman Faunus, a carefree nature spirit of similar temperament. Hence satyrs are most commonly described as having the upper half of a man and the lower half of a goat. They are also described as possessing a long, thick tail, either that of a goat or a horse. Mature satyrs are often depicted with goat's horns, while juveniles are often shown with bony nubs on their foreheads. Attic painted vases depict mature satyrs as being strongly built with flat noses, large pointed ears, long curly hair, and full beards, with wreaths of vine or ivy circling their balding heads. Satyrs often carry the thyrsus: the rod of Dionysus tipped with a pine cone.

Satyr on a mountain goat, drinking with women. Gandhara, 2nd-4th century.
Satyrs are described as roguish but faint-hearted folk — subversive and dangerous, yet shy and cowardly. As Dionysiac creatures they are lovers of wine, women and boys, and are ready for every physical pleasure. They roam to the music of pipes (auloi), cymbals, castanets, and bagpipes, and love to dance with the nymphs (with whom they are obsessed, and whom they often pursue), and have a special form of dance called sikinnis. Because of their love of wine, they are often represented holding winecups, and appear often in the decorations on winecups.
Satyrs are not immortal, but grow old. On painted vases and other Greek art, satyrs are represented in the three stages of a man's life: mature satyrs are bearded, and are shown as fat and balding, both a humiliating and unbecoming disfigurement in Greek culture.

[edit] In Greek mythology and art

Detail of an Attic chalice depicting a satyr with a tail and erect penis, Euphronios, end of the 6th century

Satyr and maenad, shown on a red-figure Attic cup, ca. 510 BC–500 BC., Louvre, Paris, France
In earlier Greek art, satyrs appear as old and ugly, but in later art, especially in works of the Attic school, this savage characteristic is softened into a more youthful and graceful aspect.
This transformation or humanization of the Satyr appears throughout late Greek art. Another example of this shift occurs in the portrayal of Medusa and in that of the Amazon, characters who are traditionally depicted as barbaric and uncivilized. The compassionate representation of the Satyr in a work of Praxiteles known as the Resting Satyr shows the level of Greek civilization and their desire to accept all types of people.
Older satyrs were known as sileni, the younger as satyrisci. The hare was the symbol of the shy and timid satyr. Greek spirits known as Calicantsars have a noticeable resemblance to the ancient satyrs; they have goats' ears and the feet of donkeys or goats, are covered with hair, and love women and the dance.
Although they are not mentioned by Homer, in a fragment of Hesiod's works they are called brothers of the mountain nymphs and Kuretes, strongly connected with the cult of Dionysus, and are an idle and worthless race. In the Dionysus cult, male followers are known as satyrs and female followers as maenads.
In Attica there was a species of drama known as the legends of gods and heroes, and the chorus was composed of satyrs and sileni. In the Athenian satyr plays of the 5th century BC, the chorus commented on the action. This "satyric drama" burlesqued the serious events of the mythic past with lewd pantomime and subversive mockery. One complete satyr play from the 5th century survives, the Cyclops of Euripides.
A papyrus bearing a long fragment of a satyr play by Sophocles, given the title 'Tracking Satyrs' (Ichneutae), was found at Oxyrhynchus in Egypt, 1907.

[edit] In Roman mythology and art

A Satyr depicted on a Roman mosaic in Villa Romana del Casale, an archeological site near Piazza Armerina in Sicily, Italy

This satyr gargoyle, affixed to the Cathedral of St. Vincent (Bern, Switzerland), is posed in the act of choking a mermaid.
Roman satyrs were conflated in the popular and poetic imagination with Latin spirits of woodland and with the rustic spirit Pan, called the Panes.
Roman satyrs were described as goatlike from the haunches to the hooves, and were often pictured with larger horns, even ram's horns. Roman poets often conflated them with the fauns.
Roman satire is a literary form, a poetic essay that was a vehicle for biting, subversive social and personal criticism. Though Roman satire is sometimes thoughtlessly linked to the Greek satyr plays, satire's only connection to the satyric drama is through the subversive nature of the satyrs themselves, as forces in opposition to urbanity, decorum, and civilization itself.

[edit] Other references
In the King James Version of the Bible, Isaiah 13:21 and 34:14, the English word "satyr" is used to represent the Hebrew sh'lrlm, "hairy ones". In Hebrew folklore, sh'lrlm are a type of demon or supernatural being which inhabits waste places. There is an allusion to the practice of sacrificing to the sh'lrlm (often translated as "devils") in Leviticus 17:7. They correspond to the "shaggy demon of the mountain-pass" (azabb al-akaba) of old Arab legend. Christian mythology demonised all pagan nature spirits such as satyrs by associating them with demons and devils, though they do resemble the Jewish goat-man demon Azazel to whom the scapegoats were sent.

[edit] Baby satyr

A statue of a female satyr holding two infants

A child satyr (center) depicted in Titian's painting Bacchus and Ariadne c.1520-1523
Baby satyrs, or child satyrs, are mythological creatures related to the satyr. They appear in popular folklore, classical artworks, film, and in various forms of local art.
Some classical works depict young satyrs being tended to by older, sober satyrs, while there are also some representations of child satyrs taking part in Bacchanalian/Dionysian rituals (including drinking alcohol, playing musical instruments, and dancing).
The presence of a baby or child satyr in a classical work, such as on a Greek vase, was mainly an aesthetic choice on the part of the artist. However, the role of a child in Greek art might imply a further meaning for baby satyrs: Eros, the son of Aphrodite, is consistently represented as a child or baby, and Bacchus, the divine sponsor of satyrs, is seen in numerous works as a baby, often in the company of the satyrs. A prominent instance of a baby satyr outside ancient Greece is Albrecht Dürer's 1505 engraving, "Musical Satyr and Nymph with Baby (Satyr's Family)". There is also a Victorian-era napkin ring depicting a baby satyr next to a barrel, which further represents the perception of baby satyrs as partaking in the Bacchanalian festivities. See Revivals, Reveries, and Reconstructions: Images of Antiquity in Prints from 1500 to 1800, an exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
There are also many works of art of the rococo period depicting child or baby satyrs in Bacchanalian celebrations. Some works depict female satyrs with their children; others describe the child satyrs as playing an active role in the events, including one instance of a painting by Jean Raoux (1677–1735). "Mlle Prévost as a Bacchante" depicts a child satyr playing a tambourine while Mlle Prévost, a dancer at the Opéra, is dancing as part of the Bacchanal festivities. [1]

[edit] Satyrs and orangutan
In the 17th century, the satyr legend came to be associated with stories of the orangutan, a great ape now found only in Sumatra and Borneo. Many early accounts which apparently refer to this animal describe the males as being sexually aggressive towards human women and towards females of its own species. The first scientific name given to this ape was Simia satyrus.

[edit] In popular culture
The Satyr is an oft-made reference to the Dionysian in Friedrich Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy.
In Guillermo del Toro's film Pan's Labyrinth, a young girl encounters a faun at the entrance to a magical kingdom. He gives her three challenges to determine if she is the long-lost princess of the Underworld.
The Pastoral Symphony section of Disney's Fantasia features baby satyrs.
In Disney's 1997 film Hercules, the character Phil is an amalgamation of the hero Philoctetes and the stereotypical satyr; his circumstances are those of the classical Philoctetes, but he looks like a satyr and exhibits satyr-like desires for wine and women.
In Ridley Scott's Legend, the villain Darkness bears many similarities to a satyr (both in appearance and in nature). Scott said that he wanted Darkness to be "very sexual", so wanted him to be a satyr.
The Satyr is the name of a satirical newspaper written by students of Manchester University.
Satyr is the name of the union of the four revues at the faculty of science of the university of Copenhagen.
Gnostic satyrs of both genders appear in Umberto Eco's Baudolino.
A Satyr appears in the episode The Satyr in series 2 of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.
In the God of War series of video games, Satyrs are enemies that possess great skill with the staffs they wield.
In the Warcraft series, Satyrs are a mostly hostile race of corrupted night elves who are allied with the Burning Legion.

[edit] See also

Look up satyr inWiktionary, the free dictionary.
Faun - Italian
Leszi - Slavic mythology
Panes - early Greek myth
Sileni - early Greek mythology
Torgo - one of the main characters (and by far the most popular) in the movie Manos: The Hands of Fate
Centaur - half man/half horse from Greek mythology
Urisk- Goat-Man Fairy from Scottish folklore
USS Satyr (ARL-23)

[edit] References
Harry Thurston Peck Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, 1898: "Faunus", "Pan", and "Silenus".

[edit] External links
Satyroi
Satyrs in Cryptozoology

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