When someone is excessively praised or glorified, they say about this person that they sing praises to him. But what are praises and to whom should they be sung?
It turns out that praises were sung in ancient Greece after the grape harvest at celebrations dedicated to Dionysus - the god of winemaking.
During the orgy (the middle name of Dionysus, by the way Bacchus), in addition to general fun, fornication and drinking wine, they also sang praise to the god of winemaking, and sang in the so-called goat choir, often disguised as satyrs' companions of God. Such choral singing during the bacchanals was called praises.
By the way, Dionysus himself is also called Dithyramb, which in Greek means "two-gate". Apparently a logically more accurate translation would be "twice-born", since according to legend, Dionysus was born twice. As usual, the story was not without intrigue, there was great love, and jealousy, and a homeless woman on the one hand, on the other, an unfaithful husband, a stupid mistress and just retribution. And it was like this:
Zeus the Thunderer loved the beautiful Semele, daughter of the Theban king Cadmus. Once he promised her to fulfill any of her requests, whatever it was, and swore to her in this by the unbreakable oath of the gods, by the sacred waters of the underground river Styx. But the great goddess Hera hated Semele and wanted to destroy her. She said to Semele:
- Ask Zeus to appear to you in all the greatness of the god of thunder, the king of Olympus. If he really loves you, he will not refuse this request.
Hera convinced Semele, and she asked Zeus to fulfill this very request. Zeus, however, could not refuse Semele anything, because he swore by the waters of the Styx. The Thunderer appeared to her in all the greatness of the king of gods and people, in all the splendor of his glory. Bright lightning flashed in the hands of Zeus; thunderclaps shook the palace of Cadmus. Everything around flared up from the lightning of Zeus. Fire engulfed the palace, everything around it swayed and collapsed. In horror, Semele fell to the ground, the flame burned her. She saw that there was no salvation for her, that her request, inspired by the Hero, had ruined her.
And the dying Semele's son Dionysus was born, a weak child unable to live. It seemed that he, too, was doomed to perish in the fire. But how could the son of the great Zeus die? Dense green ivy rose from the ground on all sides, as if by a wave of a magic wand. He covered the unfortunate child from the fire with his greenery and saved him from death.
Zeus took the saved son, and since he was still so small and weak that he could not live, Zeus sewed him into his thigh. In the body of his father, Zeus, Dionysus got stronger, and, having got stronger, was born a second time from the thigh of the thunderer Zeus.
By the way, the first tragedies were born from praises. Over time, choral singing began to be accompanied by performances from the life of Dionysus and other ancient Greek gods. Choral songs thus divided the tragedy into parts, which in modern drama are called acts. It is interesting that the word tragedy itself consists of two parts "tragos" - a goat, and "ode" - a song.