Sileni (moon men) – In Greek mythology, creatures of the hills and woods, often confused with satyrs, having horse’s ears, flattened noses, horse’s tails or legs, or both. The most famous of the group was Silenus, teacher of Dionysus, who was made drunk by King Midas.
The Greeks compared Socrates with Silenus not only because he was a teacher, but because he was also ugly, as was Silenus. Vergil’s Sixth Ecologue, Ovid’s Metamorphoses (book 11), Pope’s Dunciad (III, 324), Swift’s “The Fable of Midas,” Shelley’s “Hymn of Pan,” and W. S. Landor’s Silenus also cite or tell of Silenus. Silenus appears in paintings of Titian, Piero di Cosimo, Rubens, and Géricault.
Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow
Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante