What Is a Satyr?

By Irvin Alger

Those of you following us on Facebook get treated real well. We post daily articles, share hilarious statuses, and only sell a small portion of your user data to the U.S. government. But I’m sure many of you have a question in regard to our profile picture— why is there a penis?

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Censored for Privacy Reasons

To answer that question, we’re going to have a history lesson. Contrary to their current image as goat-men, the satyrs of Greek myth were half-horse. That’s the basis of our logo. Those of you who have taken mythology courses will remember that Greek monsters are designed as half-breeds, usually because Zeus will stick his dick in anything with a heartbeat. Unlike centaurs, Greek satyrs had only the tails, ears, and penises of a horse. If you’re bad at imagining things, just picture a Grecian forest filled with little Ron Jeremies.

Neigh.

Neigh.

The Greek satyrs served the god Dionysus, who presided over winemaking, sex, and comedy. As his heralds, satyrs were tasked with making people laugh and/or pregnant.  In regards to the former job, they were very similar to today’s Satyr staff—they were famous for parodying the Greek myths themselves. The word “satire” is actually descendant of these parodicians. Satyresses (female Satyrs) were less common in the mythos, but were well-known for pipe-playing. [Sidenote: if you have a lisp, please send us a sound file of you saying the word “satyresses.”]

Dionysus, God of Fun

Dionysus, God of Fun

Sometime around 800 B.C., the Roman Empire formed and began curb-stomping all of Europe and West Asia. Roman culture was built by blending the cultures of those they conquered. In the case of satyrs, the horse-men were mixed with Pan, a Greek nature god that had goat legs, and Latin woodland spirits. They also gained horns (available in either goat or ram-form).  Although they had the same roles as before, the Roman satyrs now focused their humorous talent on poetic essays which poked fun at sociopolitical matters of the state.

Satyr, 800BC Model

Satyr, 800BC Model

The popularity of these sexy forest spirits meant that their image spread quickly across multiple cultures. After all their time as servants, gigolos, and (worst of all) comedy writers, satyrs finally got a promotion. In cultures as disparate as Arabic and Celtic, worshipers sacrificed meat and drink to horned, goat-footed gods. Things were looking up for our happy mascots.

Started from the bottom now we’re here.

Started from the bottom now we’re here.

Unfortunately, everything changed with the Christian Church. After noticing that most of their crusades just left people dead, they decided to start converting people instead. To discredit the competing religions of the locals they defeated, the Church portrayed satyrs as the form of evil itself. Even today, you can still clearly see the satyr in Satan, as presented in Tenacious D’s music video for “Tribute” or in God’s “The Holy Bible.”

And South Park, too!

And South Park, too!

Anyway, to answer the original question: yes, that is a penis. But it’s a penis that is steeped in nearly three millennia worth of cultural history. For those of you who’ve stuck with me this far, I hope you enjoyed this look into the background of our mascot and that you have a new-found respect for whichever nerd came up with our name. Hail, Satyr!

 

Source Cited

Satyr. (1945). In Wikipedia. Retrieved October 25, 2014, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satyr. Screw you, Ms. Dermot of Ramona High School, Wikipedia should count as a source.

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