Notwithstanding this, he was so despised by the Indians that they did not think it worth their while to stop his progress, having been certainly informed by their spies that his camp was destitute of warriors, and that he had only with him a crew of drunken females, a low-built, old, effeminate, sottish fellow, continually addled, and as drunk as a wheelbarrow, with a pack of young clownish doddipolls, stark naked, always skipping and frisking up and down, with tails and horns like those of young kids.
For this reason the Indians had resolved to let them go through their country without the least opposition, esteeming a victory over such enemies more dishonourable than glorious.
In the meantime Bacchus marched on, burning everything; for, as you know, fire and thunder are his paternal arms, Jupiter having saluted his mother Semele with his thunder, so that his maternal house was ruined by fire. Bacchus also caused a great deal of blood to be spilt; which, when he is roused and angered, principally in war, is as natural to him as to make some in time of peace.
Thus the plains of the island of Samos are called Panema, which signifies bloody, because Bacchus there overtook the Amazons, who fled from the country of Ephesus, and there let ’em blood, so that they all died of phlebotomy. This may give you a better insight into the meaning of an ancient proverb than Aristotle has done in his problems, viz., Why ’twas formerly said, Neither eat nor sow any mint in time of war. The reason is, that blows are given then without any distinction of parts or persons, and if a man that’s wounded has that day handled or eaten any mint, ’tis impossible, or at least very hard, to stanch his blood.
After this, Bacchus was seen marching in battalia, riding in a stately chariot drawn by six young leopards. He looked as young as a child, to show that all good topers never grow old. He was as red as a cherry, or a cherub, which you please, and had no more hair on his chin than there’s in the inside of my hand. His forehead was graced with pointed horns, above which he wore a fine crown or garland of vine-leaves and grapes, and a mitre of crimson velvet, having also gilt buskins on.
He had not one man with him that looked like a man; his guards and all his forces consisted wholly of Bassarides, Evantes, Euhyades, Edonides, Trietherides, Ogygiae, Mimallonides, Maenades, Thyades, and Bacchae, frantic, raving, raging, furious, mad women, begirt with live snakes and serpents instead of girdles, dishevelled, their hair flowing about their shoulders, with garlands of vine-branches instead of forehead-cloths, clad with stag’s or goat’s skins, and armed with torches, javelins, spears, and halberds whose ends were like pineapples. Besides, they had certain small light bucklers that gave a loud sound if you touched ’em never so little, and these served them instead of drums. They were just seventy-nine thousand two hundred and twenty-seven.