θυμίαμα πάντα πλὴν λιβάνου καὶ σπένδε γάλα.
To Amphietous, The Perennial God of Wine
Divine medium: All except libanon (frankincense) and libations of milk
Ἀμφιετῆ καλέω Βάκχον, χθόνιον Διόνυσον,
Each year we call on Bacchos, subterranean Dionysos,
ἐγρόμενον κούραις ἅμα νύμφαις εὐπλοκάμοισιν,
To awaken from pruning, as one with fair-haired Nymphs
ὃς παρὰ Περσεφόνης ἱεροῖσι δόμοισιν ἰαύων
Who slumber alongside Persephone’s sacred home,
κοιμίζει τριετῆρα χρόνον, Βακχήιον ἁγνόν.
Put to sleep in triennial time, Bacchians pure.
αὐτὸς δ' ἡνίκα τὸν τριετῆ πάλι κῶμον ἐγείρηι,
Only when triennially all who sleep awaken
εἰς ὕμνον τρέπεται σὺν ἐυζώνοισι τιθήναις
To hymns, turning with fair-girdled nursemaids
εὐνάζων κινῶν τε χρόνους ἐνὶ κυκλάσιν ὥραις.
Lulled to sleep with motion, then in time with the cycling Horai.
ἀλλά, μάκαρ, χλοόκαρπε, κερασφόρε, κάρπιμε Βάκχε,
Now, blessed green fruit, horn-borne fruit of Bacchos,
βαῖν' ἐπὶ πάνθειον τελετὴν γανόωντι προσώπωι
Dance upon the pantheon of sacred rites with rejoicing faces,
εὐιέροις καρποῖσι τελεσσιγόνοισι βρυάζων.
Holy fruits, perfect offspring, flourish in abundance.
Dionysos (Δῐόνῡσος, Διώνῡσος, Διώνουσος, Δεύνυσος, Δίνυσος, Διένυσος, Δινύσο) and Bacchos (Βάκχος) are names for the God of wine and its effects.
The imagery of this hymn suggests that it may be in concert with the Great Dionysia (Δῐονῡσια) which celebrated the reawakening of grapevines in the Spring after their annual pruning in the dormant, “sleeping,” season. Grapevine pruning consists of removing old wood each year, usually in late winter or a month or two before Spring, to encourage the growth of new wood. Vines produce the most fruit on the shoots that grow off one-year-old canes.
The art and literature of ancient Greece is rich with depictions of women who were devotees of the God of wine. They are depicted as dancing and singing without inhibition. Bacchian triennial revelers are described by one writer as “…bright-eyed women, wine-drinking, carriers of the vine branch, celebrators of the triennial festival, flower-crowned, nurses of frenzied Bacchus who rouses the dance.” Mount Parnassus was known as a site for women’s Bacchic revels.
“Drunkenness, and the boisterous music of flutes, cymbals, and drums, were…common to all Dionysiac festivals…women also took part…adorned with garlands of ivy, and bearing the thyrsus in their hands…so that the whole train represented a population inspired…” (“Dionysia,” Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, ed. William Smith, Harper & Bros., New York, 1843 p. 363.)
Nymphs (Νύμφαι) are beautiful young Goddesses who prevail over particular locations in nature. Nymphs are often depicted as dancing. Young women are often referred to as nymphs.
Persephone (Περσεφόνη, Περσεφόνεια, Φερσεφόνᾱ, Φερσοπόνη, Φερσεφονείη, Φερσεφόνεια, Περσέφασσα, Φερσέφασσα, Φερσέφαττα, Φερρέφαττα, Φερρεφάττιον, Φερρεφαττεῖον) is the immortal Goddess of the afterlife and new life in Spring. Persephone’s joyful return to life each Spring is the reason for blooms, blossoms, and budding new growth.
The Horai (Ὠραι), the “Hours," are the immortal Goddesses of the hour for something to occur in nature, such as the moment a sprout emerges or the moment a seed falls to earth. They are often equated with the agricultural Seasons.
The “horn-born fruit” may refer to using the horns of animals as wine goblets.
Triennial means every third year, but most translators and the Lexicon say that triennial means “every third year inclusive,” that is, every other year or biennial. It’s not clear as to why they make this distinction.
It is interesting to note that modern winegrowing events are held triennially in France, Germany, and Australia. In France, the 350-year old Vevey Brotherhood of Winegrowers inspects vineyards three times a year: in April/May to observe pruning, in July to examine care of vines, and in September to monitor the harvest. Every third year awards are given during a solemn ceremony called the Triennial. Germany celebrates the triennial Internationales Riesling Symposium in the Rheingau wine region. Australia holds a triennial Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference.
Although “triennial” literally means every third year, it is possible that in this hymn “triennial” may refer to the three annual feasts of Bacchos/Dionysos:
-The Anthesteria (Ἀνθεσφόρια), during the month of Anthesterion (February-March), when the new wine is first tasted;
-The Great Dionysia (Δῐονῡσια), during the month of Elaphebolion (March-April), when the buds first form;
-The Lenaea (Λήναια), during the month of Gamelion (January-February), when the vines are pruned.
 Oppian, Cynegetica (p.180), (Oppian, Colluthus, Tryphiodorus (trans. A.W. Mair)Loeb,1928. http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Oppian/Cynegetica/4*.html#230
 “Ino was on Parnassus, where she had gone for the Bacchic revels.”
The Myths of Hyginus (4), translated and edited by Mary Grant. University of Kansas Publications in Humanistic Studies, no. 34. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1960. http://www.theoi.com/Text/HyginusFabulae1.html