Dionysus The God of Wine

 The Greek god Dionysus, also known as Bacchus by the Romans, once put in an appearance on The Smurfs. He also hit the big screen in Walt Disney’s Fantasia. 

Some myths say Dionysus was the son of Zeus and a human woman Semele.  When Zeus’ wife Hera found out Semele was pregnant with Zeus’ child  she was angry and went to Semele and then called on Zeus to appear. He did in all his glory and his fire burned up Semele. Zeus pulled Dionysus out of Semele’s womb and planted him in his thigh till he was ready to be born out of Zeus’ foot.  Other stories say Dionysus was the son of Persephone, Demeter’s daughter.  

There are lots of versions of how Dionysus was raised.  Some say he was raised by his mother’s sister who dressed him as a girl to protect him from Hera.  Others say he was raised by a group of nymphs who lived on Mount Nysa and later Dionysus rewarded them by restoring their youth and  placing them as stars in a constellation called Hyades. 

Dionysus traveled the world teaching people how to grow grapes,  On his way back to Greece pirates seized him because they thought he looked rich and figured his parents might pay a big ransom to have him returned safely. They tried to tie him to the mast of the ship but no rope could hold him. Anywhere a rope touched him it just fell apart. The helmsman realized Dionysus was a god and asked Dionysus to forgive them for what they’d done. He tried to convince the rest of the crew to let him go. But the captain said the helmsman was crazy and should keep sailing. The ship came to a dead stop and the crew saw it had quickly become overgrown with vines and was stuck. Dionysus changed into a lion and chased all the crew, save for the helmsman and they  leapt overboard and as they did they turned into dolphins. Dionysus left the boat on the island of Naxos where he discovered the beautiful Adriadne, fell in love and married her. Apparently they lived happily ever after. 

The festival for Dionysus was in spring when the grape vines began to grow. Greek plays were first written to be performed at this festival so Dionysus became known as a patron of the theatre.

The Roman god who is Dionysus counterpart is Bacchus. 

This is the second in a series of posts to help me learn about Greek and Roman mythology for the upcoming Olympus exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

 Other posts……

Looking at cereal differently

Don’t Be A Wine Snob


1 Comment

Filed under Art, History, Italy

One response to “Dionysus The God of Wine

  1. hobbyie

    What to know a similar story to Dionysus, read the answer to the question on quora “Is it wrong if I practice Hinduism with a touch of Hellenism”


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