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Iacchus and Dionysus[edit]

According to the article stub, the identification of Iacchus with Dionysus is uncertain. However there seems to be long-standing identification of the two according to the quotes given at Greek Mythology: IACCHUS / IAKKHOS. Is there some reason for doubting this that I'm unaware of? Fuzzypeg 00:28, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

I've posted this same question to Eleusinian Mysteries where there might be a bit more traffic. Fuzzypeg 02:15, 11 January 2006 (UTC)
From a Paean to Dionysus discovered at Delphi (Harrison, Jane Ellen. 1991. Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion, p. 541):
'With thy wine cup waving high,
with thy maddening revelry,
To Eleusis' flowery vale
Comest thou — Bacchos, Paean, hail!
Thither thronging all the race
Come, of Hellas, seeking grace
Of thy nine-year revelation,
And they called thee by thy name,
Loved Iacchos, he who came
To bring salvation,
And disclose
His sure haven from all mortal woes.'
Sophocles when recalling the nocturnal rites of the mysteries at Eleusis in Antigone repeats the name (Prolegomena pp. 541-2):
'Thou who dost lead the choir
Of stars aflame with fire,
Of nightly voices King,
Of Zeus offspring,
Appear, O Lord, with thine attendant maids
The Thyiades,
Who mad and dancing through the long night chant
Their hymn to thee, Iacchos, Celebrant.'
Fuzzypeg 22:38, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

Son of Persephone or Demeter[edit]

The article previously said Iacchus was thought by some not to be Dionysus, but a different figure, son of Persephone or Demeter. At least that's what I think it was trying to say. I've removed it because I don't know how to reword it in light of recent corrections I've made. I will however do a bit of research and see if I can re-introduce this info. Any help appreciated. Fuzzypeg 01:07, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Doubt about Dionysus[edit]

In The Frogs by Aristophanes, the Dionysus character is described, possibly irreverently, as the Son of Winejar. He could be the god Dionysus, an incarnated avatar of this god, or a mortal with the same name. The play was designed for the festival of Dionysus. (At least one English translation of The Frogs has Dionysus refer to himself as "Son of Juice", punning on both wine and Zeus.)

When Dionysus spies on the Mystae, they are chanting to "Iacchus". The stage directions are incomplete - they seem to sing to one who juggles torches before them.

So this play either indicates D is not I, or alternately this play presents I as another avatar of D, to complete the Festival of Dionysus.

The tie-breaker, during the Mystae's song, seems to be Xanthias salivating: "O holy noble daughter of Demeter, I just smelt roast pork - how sweet a smell that is."

Persephone is the daughter of Demeter, hence Xanthias is appealing to the divine mother of the character closest to the delicious dinner. This would be Iacchus, not Dionysus, who is hiding with him.

Yes, I believe Iacchos was the title of the leader of this procession, juggling the torches. However the suggestion seems to be that he was so named in symbol of the god Iacchus/Dionysus (as an avatar). Several commentators have claimed that Iacchos was the common name of Dionysus in Athens. In The Frogs Dionysus the god would therefore be watching the proceedings of festivities in his honour and providing his own irreverent commentary (a rather humorous situation).
However I can see this theory is not universally held, and I'm wondering what the arguments against it are. Many who write about the Eleusinian Mysteries don't mention Dionysus at all. I'm not enough of an expert yet in this field to navigate it on my own, so I'm looking for any pointers. Thanks, Fuzzypeg 22:47, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

sorry for not properly knowing how to edit this, I just had a question concerning etymology. could Iacchus be the source of the word laughter?JFSOCC 17:48, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

If the word were "iacchster" perhaps, or even "yachster", but "laughter"? I don't know. Best place to look is the Oxford English Dictionary and they may have a clear and convincing derivation already figured out. Fuzzypeg 06:25, 20 March 2007 (UTC)
If you fish for deception, you'll get it. "Lach-", the German root for "laughter", IS indeed quite similar. And "gh" is well-known to be pronounced "cch" in older/Celtic dialects of English (e.g., "McLaughlin"). This would then imply the nature of the associated rites, and the association with Bacchus--laughter, of an unrestrained and disturbing nature, the child of intoxication or derangement. Not sure of the intent behind the previous response, but information regarding this subject has historically been subject to extreme censorship... Might still be. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:22, 20 August 2018 (UTC)

The page at given below explicitly states that Iacchus is SOMETIMES identified with Dionysus, in a way that's similar to Artemis being identified with Hecate. In my opinion, Iacchus can be considered one ASPECT of the complex deity we call Dionysus, but differs enough from Dionysus as a whole that he is also a different entity. Dionysus is known by numerous names, and has even been identified or conflated with Hades, and even Zeus, depending on the source of the particular myth or rite. Kerenyi's book Dionysos: Archetypal Image of the Indestructible gives an exhaustive account of all the different cultures and myths that are part of the Dionysus cultus.

J. Scribester (talk) 00:59, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

Kevin Clinton, in Oxford Classical Dictionary, s.v. Iacchus, notes that "The name Iacchus, like Bacchus, was also used of Dionysus, frequently in literature, but in cult there was never confusion between the Eleusinian god of initiates and Dionysus, who was not worshipped in the mysteries. The important sanctuary of Dionysus at Eleusis caused some confusion between him and Iacchus among non-Athenian writers in antiquity and even more among modern scholars."--Morellus (talk) 11:58, 7 January 2012 (UTC)


Tere is a Greek word ἰαχή (iache) which means joyful cry. It can possibly be mentioned in the text.Jestmoon(talk) 13:07, 19 May 2017 (UTC)

Yes, I've been working on a section about the word, but i'm finding it a bit tricky. Paul August 18:05, 19 May 2017 (UTC)

Propably from ἰαχέω. However the verb is used by Homer. IakhosJestmoon(talk) 14:32, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

"Name" section[edit]


Currently this reads:

His name seems to appear in the Linear B ( Mycenean Greek) tablets as i-wa-ko or i-wa-ka. It is propably related with Iakar, a name for Sirius.[1]
  1. ^ Kerényi 1996, p. 77.


  • Kerényi, Karl 1996, Dionysos: Archetypal Image of Indestructible Life, Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691029153.

I don't have immediate access to this work (written in 1961, I think), but I believe such a connection between Iacchus and Mycenean Greek is now discounted by modern scholars. See for example, Alberto Bernabé, "Dionysos in the Mycenaean World" in Redefining Dionysos, edited by Alberto Bernabé, et al., De Gruyter, 2013, which says on p. 30:

Furthermore, throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s some proposals were made to interpret various Mycenaean terms as references to the god, which today are completely overlooked, but which I include here for curiosity value:
b) In the case of i-wa-ka, i-wa-ko, i-wa-ka-o a possible link to Ἴακχος was suggested, but it is an anthroponym carried by, among other men, a bronze worker and a deer hunter.

Unless someone objects, I'm intending to delete the section.

Paul August 14:57, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

The book is copyright 1976. I added the section, but I am not a specialist in the subject. Jestmoon(talk) 15:19, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

Yes, but Kerényi died in 1973. Paul August 17:20, 20 May 2017 (UTC)

Another source, Versnel, H. S., “ΙΑΚΧΟΣ. Some Remarks Suggested by an Unpublished Lekythos in the Villa Giulia”, Talanta 4, 1972, 23–38. PDF, which disparages Kerényi's theory as "not very promising" and says:

Kerényi even tries to prove the great age of the god by suggesting that I-wa-ko and I-wa-ka on linear-B tablest should be read as Iacchos and Iacchas respectively, though he concedes that the former is the name of a smith and that the latter denotes an owner of slaves.

I've now read a great many more sources, and have found no others who mention, let alone support, Kerényi's theory. I am going to rewrite this section to better represent (my understanding of) modern scholarly consensus.

Paul August 13:46, 16 June 2017 (UTC)

I agree with you, since modern scholars don't acceppt Kerenyi's theory. Maybe it can mentioned in the text, but you will make the decision. Jestmoon(talk) 11:44, 19 June 2017 (UTC)

If it were to be mentioned, perhaps it with, along with the criticisms above, could be given in a note. But I'm not certain that is really needed here. Paul August 13:27, 19 June 2017 (UTC)