MARSYAS, in Greek mythology, a Phrygian god or Silenus, son of Hyagnis.
Marsyas, as well as Midas and Silenus, are associated in legend with Dionysus and belong to the cycle of legends of Cybele.
SILENUS, a primitive Phrygian deity of woods and springs.
The story of Silenus was often the subject of Athenian satyric drama.
Just as there were supposed to be several Pans and Fauns, so there were many Silenuses, whose father was called Papposilenus ("Daddy Silenus"), represented as completely covered with hair and more animal in appearance.
The usual attributes of Silenus were the wine-skin (from which he is inseparable), a crown of ivy, the Bacchic thyrsus, the ass, and sometimes the panther.
A more dignified type is the Vatican statue of Silenus carrying the infant Dionysus, and the marble group from the villa Borghese in the Louvre.
It is hardly fair perhaps to add a reference to Suard's highly-coloured description of the short Silenus-like figure, not more than 56 in.
Pan, Silenus, the Satyrs and the Fauns were either capriform or had some part of their bodies shaped like that of a goat.
It makes Silenus, captured by Midas, say that the best of all things is not to have been born, and the next best, having been born, to die as soon as possible.
Having taken the drunken Silenus back to his youthful charge Dionysus, he was rewarded by the god with the power of transforming everything he touched into gold.
In his history of the Punic wars Caelius Antipater (c. 130 B.C.) added fresh material, drawn probably from the works of the Sicilian Greek Silenus, while Licinius Macer (70 B.C.) distinguished himself by the use he made of the ancient "linen books."
The earliest of these original sources was probably Silenus, with whom may possibly be placed, for books xxi.
It is thence that we have obtained the reposing Hermes, the drunken Silenus, the sleeping Faunus, the dancing girls, the bust called Plato's, that believed to be Seneca's, the two quoitthrowers or discoboli, and so many masterpieces more, figured by the academicians in their volume on the bronzes.