(κισσός) is mentioned but once in the Scriptures, and that in the Apocrypha, namely, in 2 Macc. 6:7, where it is said that the Jews were compelled, when the feast of Bacchus was kept, to go in procession carrying ivy to this deity, to whom it is well known this plant was sacred. Ivy, however, though not mentioned by name, has a peculiar interest to the Christian, as forming the "corruptible crowin" (1Co 9:25) for which the competitors at the great Isthmian games contended, and which St. Paul so beautifully contrasts with the "incorruptible crown" that shall hereafter encircle the brows of those who run worthily the race of this mortal life. In the Isthmian contests the victor's garland was either icy or pine. SEE CROWN.
The term κισσός or κιττός seems to have been applied by the Greeks in a general sense, and to have included many plants, and among them some climbers, as the convolvulus, besides the common ivy (Hedera helix), which was especially dedicated to Bacchus, and which was distinguished by the name of "Hedera poetica, Dionysia ant Bacchica, quod ex ea poettaruim coronae consuerentur." It is well known that in the Dionysia, or festivals in honor of Dionysus, and in the processions called θίασοι, with which they were celebrated, women also took part, in the disguise of Bacchee, Naiades, Nymphoe, etc., adorned with garlands of ivy, etc. (Ovid, Fasti, 3, 766). Bacchus is generally thought to have been educated in India, and the Indian Bcyghls has been supposed to be the original of the name. The fact of Baghes being a compound of two words signifying tiger and master or lord, would appear to confirm the identity, since 'Bacchus is usually represented as drawn in his chariot by a tiger and a lion, and tigers, etc., are described as following him in his Indian journey. As the ivy, however, is not a plant of India, it might be objected to its being characteristic of an Indian god. But in the mountains which bound India to the north both the ivy and the vine may be found, and the Greeks were acquainted with the fact that Mount Mero is the only part of India where ivy was produced. Indeed, Alexander and his companions are said to have crowned themselves with ivy in honor of Bacchus. The ivy, Hedera helix, being a native of most parts of Europe, is too well known to require special notice. SEE BACCHUS.