The word 'Bacchae' is the more popular Latin
word for the followers of Dionysus
. In Greek they are named 'Bakkhae', which is the feminine plural of 'bakkhos', meaning follower of or possessed
by Dionysus. There are many variations of the word 'Bacchae', both Greek
(using 'k') and Latin (using 'c'), for example:
Other names include 'Thyiades
' or 'inspired ones' and 'Maenads', from which is derived the English word 'mania
It should be noted that Theban followers of Dionysus were known as Maenads rather than Bacchae, and were more violent than the god's Lydian, Asian and African non-possessed followers - though the word 'Bacchae' refers generally to all of Dionysus' female devotees.
There are also Slavonic myths from the sixteenth century about the Bacchae. However, these women were blood-drinkers capable of changing form and are not associated with Euripides' earlier tale.