ACOETES

ΑΚΟΙΤΗΣ

According to Ovid (Met. iii. 582, &c.) the son of a poor fisherman in Maeonia, who served as pilot in a ship. After landing at the island of Naxos, some of the sailors brought with them on board a beautiful sleeping boy, whom they had found in the island and whom they wished to take with them; but Acoetes, who recognised in the boy the god Bacchus, dissuaded them from it, but in vain. When the ship had reached the open sea, the boy awoke, and desired to be carried back to Naxos. The sailors promised to do so, but did not keep their word. Hereupon the god showed himself to them in his own majesty: vines began to twine round the vessel, tigers appeared, and the sailors, seized with madness, jumped into the sea and perished. Acoetes alone was saved and conveyed back to Naxos, where he was initiated in the Bacchic mysteries and became a priest of the god. Hyginus (Fab. 134), whose story on the whole agrees with that of Ovid, and all the other writers who mention this adventure of Bacchus, call the crew of the ship Tyrrhenian pirates, and derive the name of the Tyrrhenian sea from them. (Comp. Horn. Hymn. in Bacch : Apollod. iii. 5. § 3; Seneca, Oed. 449.)