One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(in ancient Greece and Rome) a staff or spear tipped with an ornament like a pine cone, carried by Bacchus and his followers.
- ‘Primrose is a very leafy shrub, producing small, yellowish thyrsi.’
- ‘Frenzied with wine they rushed through woods and over mountains uttering sharp cries, waving pine-cone-tipped wands (thyrsi).’
- ‘A thyrsus (thyrsos) was a sacred implement at religious rituals and festivals.’
- ‘His symbols are the phallus, the thyrsus, and the bull.’
- ‘The fabulous history of Bacchus relates that he converted the thyrsi carried by himself and his followers into dangerous weapons, by concealing an iron point in the head of leaves.’
- ‘He is dressed a maenad, with a long linen dress covered by a fawnskin, a thyrsus in his hand, a long blond wing bound with a ribbon on his head.’
Latin, from Greek thursos ‘plant stalk, Bacchic staff’.
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