See in text (Book One: 1805 - Chapter I)
According to ancient Greek and Roman mythology, a "hydra" is a serpentine monster with multiple heads. Here the term is used as a figure of speech to describe an aggressive evil.
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"predilection for Bacchus..."
See in text (Book Two: 1805 - Chapter II)
According to ancient Greek mythology, Bacchus (or Dionysus) was the god of wine. If someone has a predilection for Bacchus, then they have a preference for wine or, taken more broadly, a tendency to drink alcohol.