THYRSUS (the latinized form of Gr. 0&peros, a stem or stalk) the wand or staff of Dionysus (Bacchus), the Bacchants and Maenads and the votaries taking part in his orgiastic rites. As commonly represented on the monuments it was a straight staff terminating in a pine cone, a ribbon or fillet being attached to the head below it. Another form terminated in a bunch of grapes and vine leaves, or ivy-berries and leaves. The pinecone or bunch of leaves was sometimes supposed to cover the head of a spear, and the thyrsus was termed 6vp<rohtr(\os (see DIONYSUS and MYSTERY).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)