Every once in a while, I take it upon myself to introduce Gods and Goddesses my readers might not be familiar with. Today, this is the God Iakkos or Iakkhos, who is linked to the eleusinian Mysteries.

I am sure you are all well aware that Demeter and Kore are not the only Theoi overlooking the Eleusinian Mysteries. Especially during the Lesser Mysteries, there was another, usually described as the son of Demeter and Zeus who oversaw the proceedings and acted as an attendant to Demeter and Kore. His name is Iakkhos and He is the personification of the ritual cry of joy called ‘iakhe’ of the procession of the initiates.

Iakkhos was sometimes identified with the God Dionysos, in the same way that the Eleusinian Hekate was equated with Artemis. This is especially true for the Orphic Tradition. Iakkhos was depicted as a young man holding the twin torches of the Mysteries, usually in the company of Demeter, Kore and other Eleusinian Gods.

Aristophanes, in his ‘The Frogs’ has the chorus revel in Iakkhos' name, which will tell you all about Iakkos you could ever hope to learn. This play was performed at the Lenaia, one of the Festivals of Dionysus in Athens, in 405 BC, and received first place. It tells the story of the Dionysus, who, despairing of the state of Athens' tragedians, travels to the Underworld to bring the playwright Euripides back from the dead as he had died the year before. Iakkos is not a character, but chanted to by the deceased Dionysian mystics Dionysos and his slave Xanthias encounter in the underworld.

"O Iakkhos! power excelling, here in stately temples dwelling. 
O Iakkhos! O lakkhos! Come to tread this verdant level, come to dance in mystic revel, 
come whilst round thy forehead hurtles many a wreath of fruitful myrtles, 
come with wild and saucy paces mingling in our joyous dance, 
pure and holy, which embraces all the charms of all the Kharites, 
when the mystic choirs advance. 

Come, arise, from sleep awaking, come the fiery torches shaking, 
O Iakkhos! O Iakkhos! Call we now the youthful god, call him hither without delay, 
him who travels amongst his Chorus, dancing along on the Sacred Way. 
O, come with the joy of thy festival song, O, come to the goddess, 
O, mix with our throng untired, though the journey be never so long. 
O Lord of the frolic and dance, lakkhos, beside me advance!  

For fun, and for cheapness, our dress thou hast rent, through thee we may dance
to the top of our bent,  reviling, and jeering, and none will resent. 
O Lord of the frolic and dance, lakkhos, beside me advance! 
A sweet pretty girl I observed in the show, her robe had been torn in the scuffle, 
and lo, there peeped through the tatters a bosom of snow. 
O Lord of the frolic and dance, lakkhos, beside me advance!"