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Silenus was described as the oldest, wisest and most drunken of the followers of Dionysus, and was said in Orphic hymns to be the young god's tutor.This puts him in a company of phallic or half-animal tutors of the gods, a group that include Priapus, Hermaphroditus, Cedalion and Chiron, but also includes Pallas, the tutor of Athena.In his satire The Caesars, the emperor Julian has Silenus sitting next to the gods to offer up his comments on the various rulers under examination, including Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Augustus, Marcus Aurelius (whom he reveres as a fellow philosopher-king), and Constantine I.The Papposilenus is a representation of Silenus that emphasizes his old age, particularly as a stock character in satyr play or comedy.Around the same time Vienna Secession artist Gustav Klimt uses the irreverent, chubby-faced Silenus as a motif in several works to represent "buried instinctual forces". But the whole point about the wheel is that you needn't get on it at all. In Gargantua and Pantagruel, Rabelais referred to Silenus as the foster father of Bacchus.

In Oscar Wilde's 1890 novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, Lord Henry Wooton turns praise of folly into a philosophy which mocks "slow Silenus" for being sober. ; Greek: Σειληνός Seilēnos) was a companion and tutor to the wine god Dionysus.He is typically older than the satyrs of the Dionysian retinue (thiasos), and sometimes considerably older, in which case he may be referred to as a Papposilenus.As Silenus fell asleep, the king's servants seized and took him to their master.Silenus shared with the king a pessimistic philosophy: That the best thing for a man is not to be born, and if already born, to die as soon as possible.

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