Dionysus was the ancient Greek god of wine, winemaking, grape cultivation, fertility, ritual madness, theater, and religious ecstasy. His Roman name was Bacchus. As wine was a major part of ancient Greek culture, Dionysus was an important and popular figure in mythology. He was one of the twelve Olympians, although he was the last to arrive, and his unusual birth and upbringing marked him as an outsider.
SYMBOLS & ATTRIBUTES
Dionysus , also spelled Dionysos , also called Bacchus or in Rome Liber Pater , in Greco-Roman religion, a nature god of fruitfulness and vegetation, especially known as a god of wine and ecstasy. The occurrence of his name on a Linear B tablet 13th century bce shows that he was already worshipped in the Mycenaean period, although it is not known where his cult originated. In all the legends of his cult, he is depicted as having foreign origins. Dionysus was the son of Zeus and Semele , a daughter of Cadmus king of Thebes. Zeus complied, but his power was too great for the mortal Semele, who was blasted with thunderbolts. However, Zeus saved his son by sewing him up in his thigh and keeping him there until he reached maturity, so that he was twice born. Dionysus was then conveyed by the god Hermes to be brought up by the bacchantes maenads , or thyiads of Nysa, a purely imaginary spot. As Dionysus apparently represented the sap, juice, or lifeblood element in nature, lavish festal orgia rites in his honour were widely instituted.
Dionysus or Dionysos is the god of the vine, grape harvest, winemaking, wine and ritual madness, religious ecstasy, theaters and fertility. He is known as the patron of arts and is the son of Zeus and Semele , although in some versions he is son of Hades or Zeus and Persephone , who also in some versions is his sister. Dionysus had an unusual birth that evokes the difficulty in fitting him into the Olympian pantheon, as his mother was Semele Daughter of Cadmus , a mortal woman, and his father Zeus , the king of the gods. Zeus's wife Hera , a jealous and vain goddess, discovered the affair while Semele was pregnant, appearing as an old crone in other stories a nurse. Hera befriended Semele, who confided in her that her husband was actually Zeus. Hera pretended not to believe her and planted seeds of doubt in Semele's mind.
He was depicted as either an older, bearded god or an effeminate, long-haired youth. His attributes included the thyrsos a pine-cone tipped staff , a drinking cup and a crown of ivy. He was usually accompanied by a troop of Satyrs and Mainades wild female devotees. Dionysos was a son of Zeus and the princess Semele of Thebes. During the course of her pregnancy, the god's jealous wife Hera tricked Semele into asking Zeus to appear before her in his full glory. Bound by oath, the god was forced to comply and she was consumed by the heat of his lightning-bolts. Zeus recovered their unborn child from her body, sewed him up in his own thigh, and carried him to term. After his birth from the thigh of Zeus, Dionysos was first entrusted to the care of Seilenos Silenus and the nymphs of Mount Nysa, and later to his aunt Ino, Semele's sister, and her husband Athamas.