It was also a weapon that, with a fiery blast, could incapacitate or kill a target.
A thyrsus was a wand or staff of giant fennel (Ferula communis) covered with ivy vines and leaves, sometimes wound with taeniae and always topped with a pine cone. In Ancient Greek religion, the staff was carried by the votaries of Dionysos (Bacchae, Maenads). The thyrsus was a sacred instrument at religious rituals and fêtes. Bacchae were depicted and described using them as weapons. Scholars differ on the extent to which these staffs can be explained as symbols of fertility.
- 3.05 Faes Wide Shut