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Pseudanor (Greek: Ψευδάνωρ pseudo- + anēr "false man", metaphorically an "effeminate man") was a Macedonian epithet applied to Dionysus. Other Macedonian appellations to the god were Agrios (Ἄγριος)[1] "wild" (as god of the countryside) and Erikryptos (Ἐρίκρυπτος) "completely hidden" (as the god hidden from the frenzied women roaming the countryside - see the Proitides and the Minyades - by the kourotrophos Kala Thea, the Beautiful Goddess, and raised as a girl: the transition to pseudanor).

All of the names of Dionysus above are attested in four inscriptions from Beroea c. 248-264 AD.[2] However the history of Pseudanor was certainly much older. The Macedonian historian Polyaenus relates an aetiological myth:

"In the reign of Argaeus, the Illyrian Taulantii under Galaurus invaded Macedonia. Argaeus, whose force was very small, directed the Macedonian virgins (parthenoi), as the enemy advanced, to show themselves from mount Ereboea ( Ἐρέβοια ). They accordingly did so; and in a numerous body they poured down , covered by wreaths, and brandishing their thyrsi instead of spears. Galaurus, intimidated by the numbers of those, whom instead of women he supposed to be men, sounded a retreat; whereupon the Taulantii, throwing away their weapons, and whatever else might retard their escape, abandoned themselves to a precipitate flight. Argaeus, having thus obtained a victory without the hazard of a battle, erected a temple to Dionysus Pseudanor; and ordered the priestesses of the god, who were before called Klοdones[3] by the Macedonians, to ever afterwards be distinguished by the title of Mimallones.[4]"

The Klodones and the Mimallones are also mentioned by Plutarch in his vita of Alexander the Great, one of his Parallel Lives. The aetiological myth in Polyaenus may have originated or been adapted in the Aitia ('Causes") of Callimachus, but Polyaenus mentions both important points: Dionysus' ambivalent sexuality and the manlike qualities of the Maenads. This female-male-female transvestite ritual (it was only natural that Dionysus presided over it)[5] of the Klodones-Mimallones probably marked the transition of the Macedonian girls to adulthood.


  1. ^ See the Agrionia of Boeotia and the Agr(i)ania of Argos.
  2. ^ [1][2][3]Epigraphical Database
  3. ^ Probably "spinners" from klotho. See Hatzopoulos (1994), p. 75-81. Some scholars connected it to klozo "cackle" from the sounds of the frenzied Maenads.
  4. ^ Μιμαλλόνες "imitators of men" Etym. Mag. (587.53) see Hesychius "mimelazein. mimeisthai" "mimelon. homoion"
  5. ^ Not uncommon in other parts of Greece: Sparta, Argos, Tegea etc.