SILENUS, a personage of Greek mythology, a drunken attendant of Bacchus and closely allied to the satyrs, of whom he appears as the leader. Elderly satyrs were called Sileni. The Sileni belong especially to the legends of Asia Minor, and particularly of Lydia and Phrygia. The stories as to the birth of Silenus were various. Some called him a son of Hermes, others of Pan and a nymph ; others said that he sprang from the drops of the blood of Sky. Sometimes he figures as the guardian of Dionysus. In spite of his dissipated habits he possessed a large stock of general information, which however, like Proteus, he only imparted on compulsion. Midas, king of Phrygia, caught him by mixing wine in the spring out of which Silenus, in a moment of weakness, had condescended to drink. The conversation which followed is fully reported by Theopompus and Aristotle (tElian, Var. Hist., iii. 18 ; Plutarch, Consol. ad Apoll., 27). Prefacing his remarks with a slight sketch of terrestrial geography and a brief reference to the fauna characteristic of the different continents, Silenus proceeded to draw an edifying picture of the pleasures of true piety as contrasted with the dreadful fate in store for the wicked, winding up with a gloomy reflexion on the vanity of human life and the expression of a wish that he had never been born. Another of his homilies has been preserved by Virgil (Eel., 6) : two shepherds surprise the sage drunk in a cave; they bind him with flowery chains, and he tells them how the world was made, with stories "of remotest eld." Apart from this gift of sermonizing, the Sileni seem to have resembled the satyrs in their love of music, wine, and women. Indeed, the Greeks appear not to have sharply distinguished between them ; for Marsyas, the mythical flute-player, is called sometimes a satyr, sometimes a Silenus. In art Silenus appears as a fat, dumpy old man, with a snub nose and a bald head, riding on an ass and supported by satyrs who keep the jolly toper from tumbling off. Or he is depicted standing or lying with his inseparable companion, a wine-skin, which again he sometimes bestrides. Sometimes he is sitting with his Pan's-pipe or flute in his hand.