Nietzsche's term for the nature of Apollonian phenomena. Everything that we see around us is appearance, as it is only a veil behind which lies true reality. Likewise, the images in dreams represent the appearance of appearance. Nietzsche contrasts the concept of Apollonian appearance, or illusion, to the Dionysian suffering, or reality. Appearance is necessary in order to shield us from the full truth of human suffering which otherwise would crush us with its magnitude.

Greek Cheerfulness

The unflaggingly chipper optimism of the Greeks. Originally, this cheerfulness was not the superficial result of a shallow mind, but rather the Apollonian reaction in the face of Dionysian suffering. The cheerfulness is a mask, a protective measure against the dark and powerful forces of Dionysus. Nietzsche insists that these particular cheerful Greeks were in fact very serious about art, whereas the post-Socratic cheerful Greeks were an entirely different breed. The cheerful characters that we find in Euripides are shallow, and the cheerful optimism of post-Socratic culture was a disaster for both Greek myth and tragedy.

Ideal Spectator

Schlegel's term for the role of the chorus in Greek tragedy. Nietzsche disagrees with this idea on the grounds that the chorus could never have been drawn from the crowd of general spectators and so elevated to "ideal" status. Furthermore, a true spectator must be aware that he is viewing a work of art, whereas the Greek chorus acted from within the world of the tragedy, as if they were viewing real events. Nietzsche then modifies his criticism and admits that the chorus is the ideal-spectator in the sens e that it is the only "beholder" of the visionary world of the play.

Naive Artist

Term for the artist who is completely absorbed in the beauty of appearance. This state of being is a complete victory of the Apollonian illusion. Homer is the greatest naive artist, for his forms are the most beautiful. Nietzsche clearly views this form of artist as inferior to the tragic artist, but also superior to the operatic artist. The naive artist is pure one hundred percent Apollonian, which, although unbalanced, is far better than being emotive and degenerate.

Principium Individuationis

Principle of individuation. Apollo champions the unshaken faith in this principle of the individual. Nietzsche contrasts this with the Dionysian immersion in the world will, in order to show how opposite those two art-deities really are. Implicit in the concept of the principium individuationis are the boundaries that separate men from the world and from each other. These boundaries are necessary in order to ensure the healthy functioning of society. When these boundaries begin to break down, we can be sure that Dionysus is near.

Primal Unity

The universal bosom to which we can all return through the influence of Dionysus. When filled with ecstatic joy brought on by Dionysus, men forget the differences between themselves and act as a community. Furthermore, they gain access to the undercurrent of universal will that flows beneath all appearances. It is in this space that they may return to the primordial unity and be suffused with a glow of cosmic oneness. It's like going to Woodstock. This may sound like a flippant comparison, but it is not so far off the mark. Large concerts, raves, and festivals are very much in the Dionysian spirit of common revelry. It is in these venues that one can lose oneself in the common experience and transcend individual suffering for at least a short time.

Theoretical Man

The new man that emerged from the Socratic lust for knowledge. The theoretical man loves to remove the veils from the world, ripping them off with his logic and unflagging faith in the power of the human mind to discover truth. This man suffers under the profound Socratic illusion that thinking can reach to the depths of being and modify it. He strives to make existence seem intelligible, and thus justified. For him, knowledge is virtue. No part of the universe can hold its secrets in the face of his scrutiny, and there is nothing that is fundamentally beyond his logical understanding. This entire concept is an anathema to Nietzsche, as it squashes intuition and denies the existence of miracles and mysteries beyond individual man's reach.


One of the four great pan-Hellenic sanctuaries. It was a famous shrine to Apollo that produced oracles.


The most famous deme of Athens. There was a theater of Dionysus and the sanctuary of Demeter and Kore. Every year, initiates from across the Greek world came to celebrate the mysteries, about which we know almost nothing.


The deepest realm of the underworld, where evil men are punished.


A wooden staff with an acorn affixed to the top carried by the followers of Dionysus who were called Bacchants.