Greek God of Wine & the Grape Harvest
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness, religious ecstasy and theatre. He may have been worshipped as early as 1500-100BC by Mycenean Greeks according to very old scripts inscribed with his name.
Earlier images and descriptions of Dionysus depict him as a mature male, bearded and robed holding a fennel staff tipped with a pine-cone. However, in later images the god is show to be a beardless, sensuous, naked or semi-naked androgynous youth. He is described in literature as womanly or “man-womanish”.
He was the son of Zeus and the mortal Semele, making Dionysus semi-device or a hero.
Facts about Dionysus
- Dionysus was primarily known as the God of the Vine.
- He was also referred to as Bacchus.
- Dionysus and Demeter, the Goddess of the Corn, were the supreme deities of the earth.
- Unlike the immortal gods, who were often hostile toward human beings, Dionysus and Demeter were benevolent toward mankind.
- Dionysus was the younger of the two, and little is known about how he came to take his place beside Demeter to be worshipped.
- Dionysus and Demeter were worshipped at Eleusis, a little town near Athens.
- Dionysus was a happy god during the harvest, but during the winter he languished along with the rest of the Earth.
- Dionysus was the last god to enter Olympus.
- Dionysus was the son of Zeus and the Theban princess Semele. He was the only god who had a mortal parent.
- He was born in Thebes.
- He was born of fire and nursed by rain. His birth corresponds to the development of grapes: heat ripens the fruit and water keeps it alive.
- Upon reaching adulthood, Dionysus wandered the Earth, teaching men the culture of the vine.
- Many festivals were held in honor of Dionysus: the Lesser or Rural Dionysia, the Greater or City Dionysia, the Anthesteria, and the Lenaea.
- Dionysus was variously represented in art as a full-grown bearded man, as a beast, and as a slight youth.
- Dionysus was insulted by Lycurgus, one of the kings in Thrace. Dionysus initially retreated and took refuge in the sea, but later he imprisoned Lycurgus for opposing his worship.
- Performances of tragedy and comedy were a part of the festivals thrown in his honor.
- Dionysus was also honored in lyric poetry.
- Dionysus was once captured by pirates because he looked like the son of a king. They kidnapped him, envisioning the ransom his parents would pay upon his return. Aboard the ship, the pirates were unable to confine him; the ropes fell apart when they touched Dionysus.
- Dionysus rescued the princess of Crete, Ariadne, and subsequently fell in love with her. Upon her death, Dionysus placed the crown he had given her among the stars.
- Though Dionysus was mostly a kind and generous deity, he could be cruel when necessary. Pentheus, a king of Thebes, tried to stop the frenzied worship of Dionysus. He attempted to imprison the God of Wine, while hurling insults and accusations at him. Dionysus explained his own eminence calmly, but Pentheus was unreceptive. Dionysus caused the Theban women to go mad so that they thought Pentheus a wild beast. They tore Pentheus limb from limb.
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Link will appear as Dionysus: https://greekgodsandgoddesses.net - Greek Gods & Goddesses, September 19, 2014