In Greek mythology, Comus (Ancient Greek: Κῶμος) is the god of festivity, revels and nocturnal dalliances. He is a son and a cup-bearer of the god Dionysus. He was represented as a winged youth or a child-like satyr and represents anarchy and chaos. His mythology occurs in the later times of antiquity. During his festivals in Ancient Greece, men and women exchanged clothes. He was depicted as a young man on the point of unconsciousness from drink. He had a wreath of flowers on his head and carried a torch that was in the process of being dropped. Unlike the purely carnal Pan or purely intoxicated Dionysos, Comus was a god of excess.
Comus in art
A selfish dandy, Comus Bassington, is the central character in the novel The Unbearable Bassington by Saki (H. H. Munro).
Comus is seen in modern culture with the Mistick Krewe of Comus which is a Carnival krewe. It was founded in 1856 in New Orleans, Louisiana for the Mardi Gras there and is the oldest establishment of the festivity groups.
Comus is seen in primary sources including in Philostratus of Lemnos's Imagines, describing artwork he saw.
Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 1.25:
Dionysos sails to the revels of [the island of] Andros and, his ship now moored in the harbour, he leads a mixed throng of Satyroi (Satyrs) and Bakkhantes (Bacchantes) and all the Seilenoi (Silens). He leads Gelos (Laughter) and Komos (Comus, Revelry), two spirits most gay and most fond of the drinking-bout, that with the greatest delight he may reap the river's harvest.
- Smith, William (1849). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
- Philostratus the Elder. Imagines. p. 1.25.
- Text and gallery at Theoi Greek Mythology
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. .
- Media related to Comus at Wikimedia Commons