silenus sīlē´nəs [key], in Greek mythology, part bestial and part human creature of the forests and mountains. Part of Dionysus' entourage, the sileni are usually represented as aged satyrs—drunken, jolly, bald, fat, bearded, and possessing horse ears. According to some myths they were prophets; but according to others they were so perpetually stupefied with drink that they were unable to distinguish truth from falsehood. In some legends only one such creature appears, Silenus, described as the oldest of the satyrs, the son of Hermes or Pan. He was the companion, adviser, or tutor of Dionysus.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Folklore and Mythology