Originally the ancient tales refer to the sileni as mythological figures who, together with the fauns, satyrs and nymphs, populated the woods. In this context, the sileni are considered spirits of water and springs. Their representation was very widespread in iconographies, both in wall paintings and sculptures and also in mosaics.
Their appearance was described as half man and half goat, a personification of wild and animal nature with strong sexual drives.
These mythological characters were part of the Dionysian procession, but among them the figure of one Silenus stands out, depicted as drunk and riding a donkey, with the appearance of a good-natured old man, with a long white beard and white hair.
According to tradition Silenus, father of the satyrs, was Dionysus’ tutor, who was entrusted to him by the nymphs while he was still a child. A demon, but a friend of men, he is considered to be a protective spirit of the home and children.