well, then, the night before the marriage was consummated, the bride dreamed that there was a peal of thunder and that a thunder bolt fell upon her womb, and that thereby much fire was kindled, which broke into flames that traveled all about, and then was extinguished. at a later time, too, after the marriage, philip dreamed that he was putting a seal on his wife’s womb and the device of the seal, as he thought, was the figure of a lion. the other seers, now, were led by the vision to suspect that philip needed to place a closer watch upon his marriage relations; but aristander of telmessus said that the woman was pregnant, since no seal was put upon what’s empty, and pregnant of a son whose nature would be bold and lion-like.
moreover, a serpent was once seen lying stretched out by the side of olympias as she slept, and we are told that this, more than anything else, dulled the ardour of philip’s attention to his wife, so that he came no longer to sleep by her side, either that he feared some spells or enchantments might be practiced upon him by her, or because he shrank from her embraces in the conviction that she was the partner of a superior being. but concerning these matters there is another story to this effect: all the women of these parts were addicted to the orphic rites and the orgies of dionysus from very ancient times, being called klodones and mimallones, and imitated in many ways the practices of the edonian women and the thracian women about mount heamus, from whom, as it would seem, the word “threskeuien” came to be applied to the celebration of extravagant and superstitious ceremonies.
now, olympias who affected these divine possessions more zealously than other women, and carried out these divine inspirations in wilder fashion, used to provide the revelling companies with great tame serpents, which would often lift their heads from out the ivy and the mystic winnowing baskets, or coil themselves about the wands and garlands of the women, thus terrifying the men. the boldness of a son descends from his mother.