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(mē`nădz), in Greek and Roman religion and mythology, female devotees of Dionysus. They roamed mountains and forests, adorned with ivy and skins of animals, waving the thyrsus. When they danced, they often worked themselves into an ecstatic frenzy, during which they were capable of tearing wild animals to pieces with their bare hands. The maenads were also called (for Bacchus) bacchantes or bacchae.


See R. S. Kraemer, Maenads, Martyrs, Matrons, Monastics (1988).

References in periodicals archive ?
nymphs, Maenads, the seasons, the vintage, and, finally, the garden of Dionysophanes, which contains paintings on Dionysiac themes.
When the Maenads tear Orpheus limb from limb, they throw his head out into the river.
Consequently, Maenads can also be seen, like the warrior-maidens of Artemis, to be dangerously transgressive figures.
Orpheus: the maenads who will come to bite your cock in half.
26) Yopie Prins, "Greek Maenads, Victorian Spinsters," Victorian Sexual Dissidence.
Delft's pale provincial light will spread 'like ink or oil' over a map of the globe, but that centrifugal spillage is opposed by the imagined chaos of Maenads who come to smash crockery 'with fire and sword', thus visiting back upon that domestic tidiness the violence and contamination it abjects.
Maenads, the priestesses of Dionysus, were the ones who tore Orpheus limb from limb--Orpheus, the Greek paragon of the poet, whose verse could make rocks weep and beasts lie down at his feet.
The women dance freely, their coiled hair reminiscent of the dancing maenads that appear in other Michael Field poems.
Some say the Maenads destroyed him, taking revenge,
What was his impious sin, That the Maenads have ceased from pursuing Cattle, with leaps and din, To compass him round, On woodland ground, With cords and faces dire,-- Cords fastened with strain, Faces hate-stretched?
The powerful, dramatic scenes that characterize him involve women and death--they are with Eurydice and the Maenads.
Hither the sound has borne us--to the realm Of Demogorgon, and the mighty portal, Like a Volcano's meteor-breathing chasm, Whence the oracular vapor is hurled up Which lonely men drink wandering in their youth And call truth, virtue, love, genius or joy-- That maddening wine of life, whose dregs they drain To deep intoxication, and uplift Like Maenads who cry loud, Evoe