Dionysus (/daɪ.əˈnaɪsəs/; Greek: Διόνυσος Dionysos) is
the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness,
fertility, theatre and religious ecstasy in ancient Greek
religion and myth.
Wine played an important role in Greek culture, and
the cult of
Dionysus was the main religious focus for its unrestrained
consumption. His worship became firmly established in the seventh
century BC. He may have been worshipped as early as c. 1500–1100
BC by Mycenean Greeks; traces of Dionysian-type cult have also
been found in ancient Minoan Crete. His origins are uncertain, and
his cults took many forms; some are described by ancient sources as
Thracian, others as Greek. In some cults, he arrives from
the east, as an Asiatic foreigner; in others, from
Ethiopia in the
South. He is a god of epiphany, "the god that comes", and his
"foreignness" as an arriving outsider-god may be inherent and
essential to his cults. He is a major, popular figure of Greek
mythology and religion, becoming increasingly important over time, and
included in some lists of the twelve Olympians, as the last of their
number, and the only god born from a mortal mother. His festivals
were the driving force behind the development of Greek theatre.
The earliest cult images of
Dionysus show a mature male, bearded and
robed. He holds a fennel staff, tipped with a pine-cone and known as a
thyrsus. Later images show him as a beardless, sensuous, naked or
half-naked androgynous youth: the literature describes him as womanly
or "man-womanish". In its fully developed form, his central cult
imagery shows his triumphant, disorderly arrival or return, as if from
some place beyond the borders of the known and civilized. His
procession (thiasus) is made up of wild female followers (maenads) and
bearded satyrs with erect penises; some are armed with the thyrsus,
some dance or play music. The god himself is drawn in a chariot,
usually by exotic beasts such as lions or tigers, and is sometimes
attended by a bearded, drunken Silenus. This procession is presumed to
be the cult model for the followers of his Dionysian Mysteries.
Dionysus is represented by city religions as the protector of those
who do not belong to conventional society and he thus symbolizes the
chaotic, dangerous and unexpected, everything which escapes human
reason and which can only be attributed to the unforeseeable action of
He is also known as
Bacchus (/ˈbækəs/ or /ˈbɑːkəs/; Greek:
Βάκχος, Bakkhos), the name adopted by the Romans and the
frenzy he induces is bakkheia. His thyrsus, sometimes wound with ivy
and dripping with honey, is both a beneficent wand and a weapon used
to destroy those who oppose his cult and the freedoms he represents.
As Eleutherios ("the liberator"), his wine, music and ecstatic dance
free his followers from self-conscious fear and care, and subvert the
oppressive restraints of the powerful. Those who partake of his
mysteries are possessed and empowered by the god himself.
The cult of
Dionysus is also a "cult of the souls"; his maenads feed
the dead through blood-offerings, and he acts as a divine communicant
between the living and the dead. He is sometimes categorised as a
In Greek mythology, he is presented as a son of
Zeus and the mortal
Semele, thus semi-divine or heroic: and as son of
Zeus and Persephone
or Demeter, thus both fully divine, part-chthonic and possibly
Iacchus of the Eleusinian Mysteries. Some scholars
Dionysus is a syncretism of a local Greek nature deity
and a more powerful god from
Phrygia such as
1.1 Birth, infant death and rebirth
1.2 Infancy at Mount Nysa
1.4 Other myths
1.4.7 Secondary myths
1.5 Consorts and children
Bacchus and the Bacchanalia
4 In the arts
4.1 Classical art
4.2 Art from the Renaissance on
4.3 Modern literature and philosophy
4.4 Modern film and performance art
5 Worship after Christianization of Europe
6 Parallels with Christianity
6.1 Death and Resurrection
6.2 The Trial
6.3 Sacred Food and Drink
6.4 Other parallels
10 See also
13 Further reading
14 External links
Birth, infant death and rebirth
Dionysus's mother was a mortal woman, Semele, the daughter of king
Cadmus of Thebes, and his father was Zeus, the king of the gods.
Zeus's wife, Hera, discovered the affair while
Semele was pregnant.
Appearing as an old crone (in other stories a nurse),
Semele, who confided in her that
Zeus was the actual father of the
baby in her womb.
Hera pretended not to believe her, and planted seeds
of doubt in Semele's mind. Curious,
Semele demanded of
Zeus that he
reveal himself in all his glory as proof of his godhood.
Zeus begged her not to ask this, she persisted and he agreed.
Therefore, he came to her wreathed in bolts of lightning; mortals,
however, could not look upon an undisguised god without dying, and she
perished in the ensuing blaze.
Zeus rescued the unborn
sewing him into his thigh. A few months later,
Dionysus was born on
Mount Pramnos in the island of Ikaria, where
Zeus went to release the
now-fully-grown baby from his thigh. In this version,
Dionysus is born
by two "mothers" (
Semele and Zeus) before his birth, hence the epithet
dimētōr (of two mothers) associated with his being "twice-born".
In the Cretan version of the same story, which Diodorus Siculus
Dionysus was the son of
Zeus and Persephone, the queen of
the Greek underworld, while another of Diodorus' sources identified
the mother as Demeter. A jealous
Hera again attempted to kill the
child, this time by sending Titans to rip
Dionysus to pieces after
luring the baby with toys. It is said that he was mocked by the Titans
who gave him a thyrsus (a fennel stalk) in place of his rightful
Zeus turned the Titans into dust with his thunderbolts,
but only after the Titans ate everything but the heart, which was
saved, variously, by Athena, Rhea, or Demeter.
Zeus used the heart to
recreate him in his thigh, hence he was again "the twice-born".
Other versions claim that
Zeus recreated him in Semele's womb or that
Semele by giving her the heart to eat.
His rebirth is the primary reason for the worship of
several mystery religions. Variants of the narrative are found in
Callimachus and Nonnus, who refer to this
Dionysus with the title
Zagreus, and also in several fragmentary poems attributed to
The myth of the dismemberment of
Dionysus by the Titans, is alluded to
Plato in his
Phaedo (69d) in which Socrates claims that the
initiations of the
Dionysian Mysteries are similar to those of the
philosophic path. Late Neo-Platonists such as
Damascius explore the
implications of this at length.
Dionysus extending a drinking cup (kantharos), late 6th century BC
Dionysos riding a cheetah, Macedonian mosaic from Pella, Greece, 4th
Birth of Dionysus, on a small sarcophagus that may have been made for
a child (Walters Art Museum)
Infancy at Mount Nysa
Hermes and the Infant
Dionysus by Praxiteles, (Archaeological Museum
According to the myth,
Zeus gave the infant
Dionysus to the care of
Hermes. One version of the story is that
Hermes took the boy to King
Athamas and his wife Ino, Dionysus' aunt.
Hermes bade the couple to
raise the boy as a girl, to hide him from Hera's wrath. Another
version is that
Dionysus was taken to the rain-nymphs of Nysa, who
nourished his infancy and childhood, and for their care
them by placing them as the Hyades among the stars (see Hyades star
cluster). Other versions have
Zeus giving him to Rhea, or to
Persephone to raise in the Underworld, away from Hera. Alternatively,
he was raised by Maro.
Greek mythology is a god of foreign origin, and while
Mount Nysa is a mythological location, it is invariably set far away
to the east or to the south. The
Homeric hymn to
Dionysus places it
"far from Phoenicia, near to the Egyptian stream". Others placed it in
Anatolia, or in Libya ("away in the west beside a great ocean"), in
Ethiopia (Herodotus), or
Arabia (Diodorus Siculus).
According to Herodotus:
As it is, the Greek story has it that no sooner was
Dionysus born than
Zeus sewed him up in his thigh and carried him away to Nysa in
Ethiopia beyond Egypt; and as for Pan, the Greeks do not know what
became of him after his birth. It is therefore plain to me that the
Greeks learned the names of these two gods later than the names of all
the others, and trace the birth of both to the time when they gained
— Herodotus, Histories 2.146
The Bibliotheca seems to be following Pherecydes, who relates how the
infant Dionysus, god of the grapevine, was nursed by the rain-nymphs,
the Hyades at Nysa.
Dionysus Cup, a 6th-century BC kylix with
Dionysus sailing with
the pirates he transformed to dolphins
Dionysus returning from India.
Triumph of Dionysus.
Dionysus grew up, he discovered the culture of the vine and the
mode of extracting its precious juice, being the first to do so;
Hera struck him with madness, and drove him forth a wanderer
through various parts of the earth. In
Phrygia the goddess Cybele,
better known to the Greeks as Rhea, cured him and taught him her
religious rites, and he set out on a progress through Asia teaching
the people the cultivation of the vine. The most famous part of his
wanderings is his expedition to India, which is said to have lasted
several years. According to a legend, when
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great reached
a city called Nysa near the Indus river, the locals said that their
city was founded by
Dionysus in the distant past and their city was
dedicated to the god Dionysus. These travels took something of the
form of military conquests; according to
Diodorus Siculus he conquered
the whole world except for Britain and Ethiopia. Returning in
triumph (he was considered the founder of the triumphal procession) he
undertook to introduce his worship into Greece, but was opposed by
some princes who dreaded its introduction on account of the disorders
and madness it brought with it (e.g.
Pentheus or Lycurgus).
North African Roman mosaic: Panther-
Dionysus scatters the pirates, who
are changed to dolphins, except for Acoetes, the helmsman; 2nd century
AD (Bardo National Museum)
Dionysus was exceptionally attractive. One of the Homeric hymns
recounts how, while disguised as a mortal sitting beside the seashore,
a few sailors spotted him, believing he was a prince. They attempted
to kidnap him and sail him far away to sell for ransom or into
slavery. They tried to bind him with ropes, but no type of rope could
Dionysus turned into a fierce lion and unleashed a bear on
board, killing those he came into contact with. Those who jumped off
the ship were mercifully turned into dolphins. The only survivor was
the helmsman, Acoetes, who recognized the god and tried to stop his
sailors from the start.
In a similar story,
Dionysus desired to sail from
Icaria to Naxos. He
then hired a Tyrrhenian pirate ship. However, when the god was on
board, they sailed not to Naxos but to Asia, intending to sell him as
a slave. So
Dionysus turned the mast and oars into snakes, and filled
the vessel with ivy and the sound of flutes so that the sailors went
mad and, leaping into the sea, were turned into dolphins. In Ovid's
Bacchus begins this story as a young child, found by the
pirates, but transforms to a divine adult when on board. Malcolm Bull
notes that "It is a measure of Bacchus's ambiguous position in
classical mythology that he, unlike the other Olympians, had to use a
boat to travel to and from the islands with which he is
Dionysus discovered that his old school master and foster father,
Silenus, had gone missing. The old man had been drinking, and had
wandered away drunk, and was found by some peasants, who carried him
to their king (alternatively, he passed out in Midas' rose garden).
Midas recognized him, and treated him hospitably, entertaining him for
ten days and nights with politeness, while
Silenus entertained Midas
and his friends with stories and songs. On the eleventh day, he
Silenus back to Dionysus.
Midas his choice of
whatever reward he wanted.
Midas asked that whatever he might touch should be changed into gold.
Dionysus consented, though was sorry that he had not made a better
Midas rejoiced in his new power, which he hastened to put to
the test. He touched and turned to gold an oak twig and a stone.
Overjoyed, as soon as he got home, he ordered the servants to set a
feast on the table. Then he found that his bread, meat, and wine
turned to gold. Later, when his daughter embraced him, she too turned
Midas strove to divest himself of his power (the
he hated the gift he had coveted. He prayed to Dionysus, begging to be
delivered from starvation.
Dionysus heard and consented; he told Midas
to wash in the river Pactolus. He did so, and when he touched the
waters the power passed into them, and the river sands changed into
gold. This was an etiological myth that explained why the sands of the
Pactolus were rich in gold.
Pentheus torn apart by Agave and Ino. Attic red-figure lekanis
(cosmetics bowl) lid, c. 450-425 BC (Louvre)
In the play
The Bacchae by Euripides,
Dionysus returns to his
birthplace, Thebes, which is ruled by his cousin Pentheus. Pentheus,
his mother Agave, and his aunts Ino and
Autonoe do not believe that
Dionysus is a son of Zeus. Despite the warnings of the blind prophet
Tiresias, they deny him worship; instead, they arraign him for causing
madness among the women of Thebes.
Dionysus uses his divine powers to drive
Pentheus insane, then invites
him to spy on the ecstatic rituals of the Maenads, in the woods of
Mount Cithaeron. Pentheus, hoping to witness a sexual orgy, hides
himself in a tree. The
Maenads spot him; maddened by Dionysus, they
take him to be a mountain lion, and attack him with their bare hands.
Pentheus' aunts, and his mother, Agave, are among them; they rip him
limb from limb. Agave mounts his head on a pike, and takes the trophy
to her father, Cadmus. The madness passes.
Dionysus arrives in his
true, divine form, banishes Agave and her sisters, and transforms
Cadmus and his wife Harmonia into serpents. Only
Lycurgus trapped by the vine, on the Lycurgus Cup
When King Lycurgus of
Thrace heard that
Dionysus was in his kingdom,
he imprisoned Dionysus' followers, the Maenads.
Dionysus fled and took
refuge with Thetis, and sent a drought which stirred the people into
Dionysus then drove King Lycurgus insane and had him slice his
own son into pieces with an axe in the belief that he was a patch of
ivy, a plant holy to Dionysus. An oracle then claimed that the land
would stay dry and barren as long as Lycurgus was alive. His people
had him drawn and quartered. Following the death of the king, Dionysus
lifted the curse. This story is told in Homer's epic,
In an alternative version, sometimes shown in art, Lycurgus tries to
kill Ambrosia, a follower of Dionysus, who was transformed into a vine
that twined around the enraged king and restrained him, eventually
Badakshan patera, "Triumph of Bacchus", British Museum.
Dionysus was of the few Olympians with the power to remove deceased
mortals from the underworld, and thus restore them to life.[citation
needed] He descended to the underworld (Hades) to rescue his mother
Semele, whom he had not seen since his birth, making the descent by
way of a reputedly bottomless pool on the coast of the
the prehistoric site of Lerna, and bypassing Thanatos, the god of
death. According to Clement of Alexandria,
Dionysus was guided by
Prosymnus or Polymnus, who requested, as his reward, to be Dionysus'
Semele to Mount Olympus; but
Dionysus could honor his pledge, so in order to satisfy
Dionysus fashioned a phallus from an olive branch
and sat on it at Prosymnus' tomb. This story survives in full only
in Christian sources whose aim was to discredit pagan mythology. It
appears to have served to explain the secret objects of the Dionysian
Another myth according to
Nonnus involves Ampelus, a satyr, who was
loved by Dionysus. As related by Ovid, Ampelus became the
constellation Vindemitor, or the "grape-gatherer":
...not so will the Grape-gatherer escape thee. The origin of that
constellation also can be briefly told. 'Tis said that the unshorn
Ampelus, son of a nymph and a satyr, was loved by
Bacchus on the
Ismarian hills. Upon him the god bestowed a vine that trailed from an
elm’s leafy boughs, and still the vine takes from the boy its name.
While he rashly culled the gaudy grapes upon a branch, he tumbled
Liber bore the lost youth to the stars."
Another story of Ampelus was related by Nonnus: in an accident
foreseen by Dionysus, the youth was killed while riding a bull
maddened by the sting of a gadfly sent by Atë, the Goddess of Folly.
The Fates granted Ampelus a second life as a vine, from which Dionysus
squeezed the first wine.
The winged daimon
Dionysus riding a tiger, from the House of Dionysus
in Delos, Greece, Hellenistic mosaic from the 2nd century BC
Dionysus was also said to have been one of the many famous
pupils of the centaur Chiron. According to Ptolemy Chennus in the
Library of Photius, "
Dionysus was loved by Chiron, from whom he
learned chants and dances, the bacchic rites and initiations."
Ariadne by Titian, at the National Gallery in London.
Hera to a magical chair,
Dionysus got him drunk
and brought him back to Olympus after he passed out.
A third descent by
Hades is invented by
his comedy The Frogs. Dionysus, as patron of the Athenian dramatic
festival, the Dionysia, wants to bring back to life one of the great
tragedians. After a competition
Aeschylus is chosen in preference to
Ariadne sleeping on Naxos,
Dionysus found and
married her. She bore him a son named Oenopion, but he committed
suicide or was killed by Perseus. In some variants, he had her crown
put into the heavens as the constellation Corona; in others, he
Hades to restore her to the gods on Olympus. Another
different account claims
Theseus to abandon Ariadne
on the island of Naxos for he had seen her as
Theseus carried her onto
the ship and had decided to marry her.
Psalacantha, a nymph, failed at winning the love of
Dionysus as his
main love interest at the moment was Ariadne, and ended up being
changed into a plant.
Callirrhoe was a Calydonian woman who scorned Coresus, a priest of
Dionysus, who threatened to afflict all the women of
insanity (see Maenad). The priest was ordered to sacrifice Callirhoe
but he killed himself instead. Callirhoe threw herself into a well
which was later named after her.
Consorts and children
twin of Iacchus, killed by Aura instantly upon birth
Chthonophyle (or again Ariadne)
Satyr giving a grapevine to
Bacchus as a child; cameo glass, first
half of the 1st century AD; from Italy
The bull, serpent, tiger, ivy, and wine are characteristic of
Dionysus is also strongly associated with
satyrs, centaurs, and sileni. He is often shown riding a leopard,
wearing a leopard skin, or in a chariot drawn by panthers, and may
also be recognized by the thyrsus he carries. Besides the grapevine
and its wild barren alter-ego, the toxic ivy plant, both sacred to
him, the fig was also his symbol. The pinecone that tipped his thyrsus
linked him to Cybele.
Lenaia festivals in
Athens were dedicated to
Dionysus. On numerous vases (referred to as
Lenaia vases), the god is
shown participating in the ritual sacrifice as a masked and clothed
pillar (sometimes a pole, or tree is used), while his worshipers eat
bread and drink wine. Initiates worshipped him in the Dionysian
Mysteries, which were comparable to and linked with the Orphic
Mysteries, and may have influenced Gnosticism.
Orpheus was said to have invented the Mysteries of Dionysus.
A sculpted phallus at the entrance of the temple of
Dionysus in Delos,
Dionysus was a god of resurrection and he was strongly linked to the
bull. In a cult hymn from Olympia, at a festival for Hera,
invited to come as a bull; "with bull-foot raging". Walter Burkert
relates, "Quite frequently [Dionysus] is portrayed with bull horns,
Kyzikos he has a tauromorphic image", and refers also to an
archaic myth in which
Dionysus is slaughtered as a bull calf and
impiously eaten by the Titans. In the Classical period of Greece,
the bull and other animals identified with deities were separated from
them as their agalma, a kind of heraldic show-piece that concretely
signified their numinous presence.
The snake and phallus were symbols of
Dionysus in ancient Greece, and
Bacchus in Greece and Rome. He typically wears a
panther or leopard skin and carries a
Thyrsus – a long stick or wand
topped with a pine cone. His iconography sometimes include maenads,
who wear wreaths of ivy and serpents around their hair or
Orphic tradition of ancient Greece,
Zagreus served as
its patron god connected to death and immortality, and symbolized the
one who guides reincarnation.
Bacchus and the Bacchanalia
Main article: Bacchanalia
Bacchus by Caravaggio
Bronze head of Dionysus, 50 BC -50 AD, in the British Museum
A mystery cult to
Bacchus was brought to
Rome from the Greek culture
of southern Italy or by way of Greek-influenced Etruria. It was
established c.200 BC in the Aventine grove of Stimula by a priestess
from Campania, near the temple where
Liber Pater ("The Free Father")
had a State-sanctioned, popular cult.
Liber was a native Roman god of
wine, fertility, and prophecy, patron of Rome's plebeians
(citizen-commoners) and a close equivalent to Bacchus-Dionysus
The Bacchic rituals contained omophagic practices such as pulling live
animals apart and eating the whole of them raw. This practice served
not only as a reenactment of the infant death and rebirth of Bacchus,
but also as a means by which Bacchic practitioners produced
"enthusiasm": etymologically, to let a god enter the practitioner's
body or to have her become one with Bacchus.
In Livy's account, the Bacchic mysteries were a novelty at Rome;
originally restricted to women and held only three times a year, they
were corrupted by an Etruscan-Greek version, and thereafter drunken,
disinhibited men and women of all ages and social classes cavorted in
a sexual free-for-all five times a month.
Livy relates their various
outrages against Rome's civil and religious laws and traditional
morality (mos maiorum); a secretive, subversive and potentially
revolutionary counter-culture. Livy's sources, and his own account of
the cult, probably drew heavily on the Roman dramatic genre known as
Satyr plays", based on Greek originals. The cult was
suppressed by the State with great ferocity; of the 7,000 arrested,
most were executed. Modern scholarship treats much of Livy's account
with skepticism; more certainly, a Senatorial edict, the Senatus
consultum de Bacchanalibus was distributed throughout Roman and allied
Italy. It banned the former Bacchic cult organisations. Each meeting
must seek prior senatorial approval through a praetor. No more than
three women and two men were allowed at any one meeting, Those who
defied the edict risked the death penalty.
Bacchus was conscripted into the official Roman pantheon as an aspect
of Liber, and his festival was inserted into the Liberalia. In Roman
Dionysus became virtually interchangeable
Bacchus was euhemerised as a wandering hero, conqueror
and founder of cities. He was a patron deity and founding hero at
Leptis Magna, birthplace of the emperor Septimius Severus, who
promoted his cult. In some Roman sources, the ritual procession of
Bacchus in a tiger-drawn chariot, surrounded by maenads, satyrs and
drunks, commemorates the god's triumphant return from the conquest of
India. Pliny believed this to be the historical prototype for the
In the arts
Marble table support adorned by a group including Dionysos, Pan and a
Dionysos holds a rhyton (drinking vessel) in the shape of a
panther; traces of red and yellow colour are preserved on the hair of
the figures and the branches; from an
Asia Minor workshop, 170-180 AD,
National Archaeological Museum, Athens, Greece
The god, and still more often his followers, were commonly depicted in
the painted pottery of Ancient Greece, much of which was vessels for
wine. But, apart from some reliefs of maenads, Dionysian subjects
rarely appeared in large sculpture before the Hellenistic period, when
they became common. In these, the treatment of the god himself
ranged from severe archaising or
Neo Attic types such as the Dionysus
Sardanapalus to types showing him as an indolent and androgynous young
man, often nude.
Hermes and the Infant
Dionysus is probably a
Greek original in marble, and the
Ludovisi Dionysus group is probably
a Roman original of the 2nd century AD. Well-known Hellenistic
sculptures of Dionysian subjects, surviving in Roman copies, include
the Barberini Faun, the Belvedere Torso, the Resting Satyr. The
Furietti Centaurs and
Sleeping Hermaphroditus reflect related
subjects, which had by this time become drawn into the Dionysian
orbit. The marble
Dancer of Pergamon
Dancer of Pergamon is an original, as is the
Satyr of Mazara del Vallo, a recent recovery from the
The Dionysian world by the Hellenistic period is a hedonistic but safe
pastoral into which other semi-divine creatures of the countryside
such as centaurs, nymphs, and the god Pan and Hermaphrodite have been
co-opted. Nymphs by this stage "means simply an ideal female of
the Dionysian outdoors, a non-wild bacchant". Hellenistic
sculpture also includes for the first time large genre subjects of
children and peasant, many of whom carry Dionysian attributes such as
ivy wreaths, and "most should be seen as part of his realm. They have
in common with satyrs and nymphs that they are creatures of the
outdoors and are without true personal identity." The 4th-century
BC Derveni Krater, the unique survival of a very large scale Classical
or Hellenistic metal vessel of top quality, depicts
Dionysus and his
Dionysus appealed to the Hellenistic monarchies for a number of
reasons, apart from merely being a god of pleasure: He was a human who
became divine, he came from, and had conquered, the East, exemplified
a lifestyle of display and magnificence with his mortal followers, and
was often regarded as an ancestor. He continued to appeal to the
rich of Imperial Rome, who populated their gardens with Dionysian
sculpture, and by the 2nd century AD were often buried in sarcophagi
carved with crowded scenes of
Bacchus and his entourage.
The 4th-century AD
Lycurgus Cup in the
British Museum is a spectacular
cage cup which changes colour when light comes through the glass; it
shows the bound King Lycurgus being taunted by the god and attacked by
a satyr; this may have been used for celebration of Dionysian
mysteries. Elizabeth Kessler has theorized that a mosaic appearing on
the triclinium floor of the House of Aion in Nea Paphos, Cyprus,
details a monotheistic worship of Dionysus. In the mosaic, other
gods appear but may only be lesser representations of the centrally
imposed Dionysus. The mid-Byzantine
Veroli Casket shows the tradition
Constantinople around 1000 AD, but probably not very well
Art from the Renaissance on
The Triumph of Bacchus, Diego Velázquez, c. 1629
The triumph of
Bacchus by Cornelis de Vos.
Bacchic subjects in art resumed in the Italian Renaissance, and soon
became almost as popular as in antiquity, but his "strong association
with feminine spirituality and power almost disappeared", as did "the
idea that the destructive and creative powers of the god were
indissolubly linked". In Michelangelo's statue (1496–97)
"madness has become merriment". The statue aspires to suggest both
drunken incapacity and an elevated consciousness, but this was perhaps
lost on later viewers, and typically the two aspects were thereafter
split, with a clearly drunk
Silenus representing the former, and a
Bacchus often shown with wings, because he carries the mind
to higher places.
Ariadne (1522–23) and The Bacchanal of the
Andrians (1523-26), both painted for the same room, offer an
influential heroic pastoral, while
Diego Velázquez in The Triumph
Bacchus (or Los borrachos - "the drinkers", c. 1629) and Jusepe de
Ribera in his Drunken
Silenus choose a genre realism. Flemish Baroque
painting frequently painted the Bacchic followers, as in Van Dyck's
Silenus and many works by Rubens;
Poussin was another regular
painter of Bacchic scenes. Depictions of the proverb Sine Cerere
et Baccho friget
Venus were a particular feature of Northern
Mannerism, but the subject was also painted several times by Rubens.
Because of his association with the vine harvest,
Bacchus became the
god of autumn, and he and his followers were often shown in sets
depicting the seasons.
Modern literature and philosophy
Bacchus by Paulus Bor.
Dionysus has remained an inspiration to artists, philosophers and
writers into the modern era. In
The Birth of Tragedy
The Birth of Tragedy (1872), the
Friedrich Nietzsche proposed that a tension between
Apollonian and Dionysian
Apollonian and Dionysian aesthetic principles underlay the development
of Greek tragedy;
Dionysus represented what was unrestrained chaotic
and irrational, while
Apollo represented the rational and ordered.
Nietzsche claimed that the oldest forms of Greek
Tragedy were entirely
based on suffering of Dionysus. In Nietzsche's 1886 work Beyond Good
and Evil, and later works The Twilight of the Idols, The Antichrist
and Ecce Homo,
Dionysus is conceived as the embodiment of the
unrestrained will to power.
In The Hellenic Religion of the Suffering God (1904), and
Dionysianism (1921), the poet Vyacheslav Ivanov elaborates the
theory of Dionysianism, tracing the origins of literature, and tragedy
in particular, to ancient Dionysian mysteries. Károly Kerényi
Dionysus as representative of the psychological life
force (Greek Zoê). Other psychological interpretations place
Dionysus' emotionality in the foreground, focusing on the joy, terror
or hysteria associated with the god. Sigmund Freud
specified that his ashes should be kept in an Ancient Greek vase
painted with Dionysian scenes from his collection, which remains on
Golders Green Crematorium
Golders Green Crematorium in London.
In CS Lewis'
Prince Caspian (part of The Chronicles of Narnia),
Bacchus is a dangerous-looking, androgynous young boy who helps Aslan
awaken the spirits of the Narnian trees and rivers.
Rick Riordan's series of books Percy Jackson & The Olympians
Dionysus as an uncaring, childish and spoiled god.[citation
needed] In the novel
Household Gods by
Harry Turtledove and Judith
Tarr, Nicole Gunther-Perrin is a lawyer in the 20th century. She makes
a libation to
Liber and Libera, Roman equivalents of
Persephone, and is transported back in time to ancient Rome.
The Secret History
The Secret History by Donna Tartt, a group of classics students
reflect on reviving the worship of
Dionysus during their time in
Modern film and performance art
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Walt Disney uses a modernised version of Silenus,
Dionysus or Bacchus
in the "Pastoral" segment of the animated film Fantasia. In 1969, an
The Bacchae was performed, called
Dionysus in '69. A film
was made of the same performance. The production was notable for
involving audience participation, nudity, and theatrical
innovations. In 1974, Stephen Sondheim and Burt Shevelove adapted
The Frogs into a modern musical, which hit
broadway in 2004 and was revived in London in 2017. The musical keeps
the descent of
Hades to bring back a playwright, however
the playwrights are updated to modern times, and
Dionysus is forced to
George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw and William Shakespeare.
Worship after Christianization of Europe
Though the last known worshippers of Greek gods were converted before
1000 AD, there were instances of revived worship of Dionysus
afterwards, and finally with the rise of neopaganism, worship of the
god has once again been revived.
Easter in 1282 in Scotland, the parish priest of Inverkeithing
led young women in a dance in honor of Dionysus. He danced and sang at
the front, carrying a representation of the phallus on a pole. He was
killed by a Christian mob later that year. The late medieval
Gemistus Pletho secretly advocated in favor of a
return to paganism in medieval Greece.
In the 18th century,
Hellfire Clubs sprung up in Britain and Ireland.
Though activities varied between the clubs, some of them were very
pagan, and included shrines and sacrifices.
Dionysus was one of the
most popular deities, alongside deities like
Venus and Flora. Today
one can still see the statue of
Dionysus left behind in the Hellfire
In 1820, Ephraim Lyon founded the Church of
Bacchus in Eastford,
Connecticut. He declared himself High Priest, and added local drunks
to the list of membership. He maintained that those who died as
members would go to a
Bacchanalia for their afterlife.
Modern followers of
Dionysus may offer the god wine, grapes, ivy, and
various forms of incense. They may also celebrate Roman festivals such
Liberalia (March 17, close to the Spring Equinox) or
Bacchanalia (Various dates), and various Greek festivals such as the
Anthesteria, Lenaia, and the Greater and Lesser Dionysias, calculated
by lunar calendar.
Parallels with Christianity
Sculpture excavated at the
Villa of the Papyri
Villa of the Papyri depicting Dionysus,
Plato, or possibly Poseidon
Main article: Jesus Christ in comparative mythology
Numerous scholars have compared narratives surrounding the Christian
figure of Jesus with those associated with Dionysus.
Death and Resurrection
Some scholars of comparative mythology identify both
Jesus with the dying-and-returning god mythological archetype. On
the other hand, it has been noted that the details of Dionysus' death
and rebirth are starkly different both in content and symbolism from
Jesus. The two stories take place in very different historical and
geographic contexts. Also, the manner of death is different; in the
most common myth,
Dionysus was torn to pieces and eaten by the titans,
but "eventually restored to a new life" from the heart that was left
Another parallel can be seen in
The Bacchae where
Pentheus on charges of claiming divinity, which is
compared to the New Testament scene of Jesus being interrogated by
Pontius Pilate. However, a number of scholars dispute this
parallel, since the confrontation between
Pentheus dying, torn into pieces by the mad women, whereas the
trial of Jesus ends with him being sentenced to death. The
discrepancies between the two stories, including their resolutions,
have led many scholars to regard the
Dionysus story as radically
different from the one about Jesus, except for the parallel of the
arrest, which is a detail that appears in many biographies as
Sacred Food and Drink
Other elements, such as the celebration by a ritual meal of bread and
wine, also have parallels. The omophagia was the Dionysian act of
eating raw flesh and drinking wine to consume the god. Within Orphism,
it was believed that consuming the meat and wine was symbolic of the
Titans eating the flesh (meat) and blood (wine) of
Dionysus and that,
by participating in the omophagia, Dionysus' followers could achieve
communion with the god. Powell, in particular, argues that precursors
to the Catholic notion of transubstantiation can be found in Dionysian
E. Kessler has argued that the Dionysian cult developed into strict
monotheism by the 4th century AD; together with
Mithraism and other
sects, the cult formed an instance of "pagan monotheism" in direct
Early Christianity during Late Antiquity.
Scholars from the 16th century onwards, especially Gerard Vossius,
also discussed the parallels between the biographies of
Moses (Vossius named his sons Dionysius and
Isaac). Such comparisons surface in details of paintings by
Terracotta vase in the shape of Dionysus' head, ca. 410 BC; on display
Ancient Agora Museum
Ancient Agora Museum in Athens, housed in the Stoa of Attalus
The over-life size 2nd-century AD Ludovisi Dionysus, with panther,
satyr and grapes on a vine, Palazzo Altemps, Rome
Dionysus mosaic, from the Villa of
Dionysus (2nd century
AD) in Dion, Greece, Archeological Museum of Dion
A Roman fresco depicting
Bacchus with red hair, Boscoreale, c. 30 BC
The dio- element has been associated since antiquity with Zeus
(genitive Dios). The earliest attested form of the name is Mycenaean
Greek 𐀇𐀺𐀝𐀰, di-wo-nu-so, written in
Linear B syllabic
script, presumably for /Diwo(h)nūsoio/. This is attested on two
tablets that had been found at Mycenaean
Pylos and dated to the 12th
or 13th century BC, but at the time, there could be no certainty on
whether this was indeed a theonym. But the 1989–90
Greek-Swedish Excavations at Kastelli Hill, Chania, unearthed, inter
alia, four artefacts bearing
Linear B inscriptions; among them, the
inscription on item KH Gq 5 is thought to confirm Dionysus's early
Later variants include Dionūsos and Diōnūsos in Boeotia;
Dien(n)ūsos in Thessaly; Deonūsos and Deunūsos in Ionia; and
Dinnūsos in Aeolia, besides other variants. A Dio- prefix is found in
other names, such as that of the Dioscures, and may derive from Dios,
the genitive of the name of Zeus. The second element -nūsos is
associated with Mount Nysa, the birthplace of the god in Greek
mythology, where he was nursed by nymphs (the Nysiads), but
according to Pherecydes of Syros, nũsa was an archaic word for
Nonnus, in his Dionysiaca, writes that the name
"Zeus-limp" and that
Hermes named the new born
Dionysus this, "because
Zeus while he carried his burden lifted one foot with a limp from the
weight of his thigh, and nysos in Syracusan langugage means
limping". In his note to these lines,
W. H. D. Rouse writes "It
need hardly be said that these etymologies are wrong". The Suda, a
Byzantine encyclopedia based on classical sources, states that
Dionysus was so named "from accomplishing [διανύειν ] for each
of those who live the wild life. Or from providing [διανοεῖν
] everything for those who live the wild life.”
R. S. P. Beekes has suggested a
Pre-Greek origin of the name.
The cult of
Dionysus was closely associated with trees, specifically
the fig tree, and some of his bynames exhibit this, such as Endendros
"he in the tree" or Dendritēs, "he of the tree". Peters suggests the
original meaning as "he who runs among the trees", or that of a
"runner in the woods". Janda (2010) accepts the etymology but proposes
the more cosmological interpretation of "he who impels the
(world-)tree". This interpretation explains how Nysa could have been
re-interpreted from a meaning of "tree" to the name of a mountain: the
axis mundi of
Indo-European mythology is represented both as a
world-tree and as a world-mountain.
Dionysus was variably known with the following epithets:
Acratophorus, ("giver of unmixed wine"), at
Phigaleia in Arcadia.
Acroreites at Sicyon.
Adoneus, a rare archaism in Roman literature, a Latinised form of
Adonis, used as epithet for Bacchus.
Aegobolus ("goat killer") at Potniae, in Boeotia.
Aesymnetes ("ruler" or "lord") at Aroë and Patrae in Achaea.
Agrios ("wild"), in Macedonia.
Briseus ("he who prevails") in Smyrna.
Bromios ("Roaring" as of the wind, primarily relating to the central
death/resurrection element of the myth, but also the god's
transformations into lion and bull, and the boisterousness of
those who drink alcohol. Also cognate with the "roar of thunder",
which refers to Dionysus' father,
Zeus "the thunderer".)[citation
Choiropsalas χοιροψάλας ("pig-plucker": Greek χοῖρος
= "pig," also used as a slang term for the female genitalia). A
reference to Dionysus's role as a fertility deity.
Chthonios ("the subterranean")
Dendrites ("he of the trees"), as a fertility god.
Dithyrambos, used at his festivals, referring to his premature birth.
Eleutherios ("the liberator"), an epithet shared with Eros.
Endendros ("he in the tree").
Enorches ("with balls," with reference to his fertility, or "in
the testicles" in reference to Zeus' sewing the baby
his thigh", understood to mean his testicles). used in
Erikryptos ("completely hidden"), in Macedonia.
Euius (Euios), in Euripides' play, The Bacchae.
Iacchus, a possible epithet of Dionysus, associated with the
Eleusinian Mysteries. In Eleusis, he is known as a son of
Demeter. The name "Iacchus" may come from the Ιακχος (Iakchos),
a hymn sung in honor of Dionysus.
Liknites ("he of the winnowing fan"), as a fertility god connected
with mystery religions. A winnowing fan was used to separate the chaff
from the grain.
Lyaeus, or Lyaios (Λυαῖος, "deliverer", literally "loosener"),
one who releases from care and anxiety.
Melanaigis ("of the black goatskin") at the
Morychus (Μόρυχος, "smeared") in Sicily, because his icon was
smeared with wine lees at the vintage.
Oeneus, as god of the wine press.
Pseudanor (literally "false man", referring to his feminine
qualities), in Macedonia.
In the Greek pantheon,
Dionysus (along with Zeus) absorbs the role of
Sabazios, a Thracian/Phrygian deity. In the Roman pantheon, Sabazius
became an alternative name for Bacchus.
Dionysus' family tree
Bacchus and the Choir of Nymphs (1888)
by John Reinhard Weguelin
Dionysus (Sardanapalus) (Museo Palazzo Massimo Alle Terme,
Bacchus (1623) Guido Reni
Bacchus themed table. The top was made in Florence (c. 1736) and the
gilded wood base in Britain or Ireland, c. 1736–1740.
Hendrick Goltzius (1592).
Greek mythology portal
Apollonian and Dionysian
Theatre of Dionysus
^ Another variant, from the Spanish royal collection, is at the Museo
del Prado, Madrid: illustration.
^ Hedreen, Guy Michael. Silens in Attic Black-figure Vase-painting:
Myth and Performance. University of Michigan Press. 1992.
ISBN 9780472102952. page 1
^ James, Edwin Oliver. The Tree of Life: An Archaeological Study.
Brill Publications. 1966. page 234. ISBN 9789004016125
^ Gately, Iain (2008). Drink. Gotham Books. p. 11.
^ Ferguson, Everett (2003). Backgrounds of Early Christianity. Wm. B.
Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 9780802822215.
^ He appears as a likely theonym (divine name) in
Linear B tablets as
di-wo-nu-so (KH Gq 5 inscription)
^ a b Raymoure, K.A. (November 2, 2012). "Khania Linear B
Transliterations". Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B.
Deaditerranean. "Possible evidence of human sacrifice at Minoan
Chania". Archaeology News Network. 2014. Raymoure, K.A. "Khania
Linear B Series". Minoan Linear A & Mycenaean Linear B.
Deaditerranean. "KH 5 Gq (1)". DĀMOS: Database of Mycenaean at
Oslo. University of Oslo.
^ Kerenyi 1976.
^ Thomas McEvilley, The Shape of Ancient Thought, Allsworth press,
2002, pp. 118–121. Google Books preview
^ Reginald Pepys Winnington-Ingram, Sophocles: an interpretation,
Cambridge University Press, 1980, p.109 Google Books preview
^ Zofia H. Archibald, in Gocha R. Tsetskhladze (Ed.) Ancient Greeks
west and east, Brill, 1999, p.429 ff.Google Books preview
^ Sacks, David; Murray, Oswyn; Brody, Lisa R. (2009-01-01).
Encyclopedia of the Ancient Greek World. Infobase Publishing.
ISBN 9781438110202. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
^ a b c d e Burkert, Walter, Greek Religion, 1985 pp. 64, 132
^ Otto, Walter F. (1995).
Dionysus Myth and Cult. Indiana University
Press. ISBN 0-253-20891-2.
^ Gods of Love and Ecstasy, Alain Danielou p.15
^ In Greek "both votary and god are called Bacchus". Burkert, Greek
Religion 1985:162. For the initiate as Bacchus, see Euripides,
Bacchantes 491. For the god, who alone is Dionysus, see Sophocles,
Oedipus Rex 211 and Euripides, Hippolytus 560.
^ Sutton, p.2, mentions
Dionysus as The Liberator in relation to the
Dionysia festivals. In Euripides, Bacchae 379–385: "He holds
this office, to join in dances,  to laugh with the flute, and to
bring an end to cares, whenever the delight of the grape comes at the
feasts of the gods, and in ivy-bearing banquets the goblet sheds sleep
over men." 
^ Xavier Riu, Dionysism and Comedy, Rowman and Littlefield, 1999,
^ Diorodus V 75.4, noted by Karl Kerényi, Dionysos: Archetypal Image
of Indestructible Life (Princeton University Press) 1976, "The Cretan
core of the
Dionysos myth" p 110 note 213 and pp 110-114.
^ Diodorus III 64.1, also noted by Kerény (110 note 214).
^ Damascius, Commentary on the Phaedo, I, 170, see in translation
Westerink, The Greek Commentaries on Plato's Phaedo, vol. II (The
Prometheus Trust, Westbury) 2009
^ Damascius, Commentary on the Phaedo, I, 1-13 and 165-172, see in
translation Westerink, The Greek Commentaries on Plato's Phaedo, vol.
Prometheus Trust, Westbury, 2009
^ "Sarcophagus Depicting the Birth of Dionysus". The Walters Art
^ Apollodorus, The Library, with an English Translation by Sir James
George Frazer, F.B.A., F.R.S. in 2 Volumes. Cambridge, MA, Harvard
University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1921. Includes
Frazer's notes. ISBN 0-674-99135-4, ISBN 0-674-99136-2
^ Bull, 255
^ Arrian, Anabasis, 5.1.1-2.2
^ Bull, 253
^ "Theoi.com" Homeric Hymn to Dionysus". Theoi.com. Retrieved
^ Bull, 245-247, 247 quoted
^ Euripides. The Bacchae.
Greek text available at
British Museum - The Lycurgus Cup". britishmuseum.org.
^ Clement of Alexandria, Protreptikos, II-30 3-5
^ Arnobius, Against the Gentiles 5.28 (Dalby 2005, pp. 108–117)
^ Ovid, Fasti, iii. 407 ff. (James G. Frazer, translator).
^ Nonnus, Dionysiaca, x. 175–430; xi, xii. 1–117 (Dalby 2005,
^ Photius, Library; "Ptolemy Chennus, New History"
Hesychius of Alexandria
Hesychius of Alexandria s. v. Priēpidos
Scholia on Theocritus, Idyll 1. 21
^ Strabo, Geography, 10.3.13, quotes the non-extant play Palamedes
which seems to refer to Thysa, a daughter of Dionysus, and her (?)
mother as participants of the Bacchic rites on Mount Ida, but the
quoted passage is corrupt.
^ Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca Library and Epitome, 1.3.2. "Orpheus
also invented the mysteries of Dionysus, and having been torn in
pieces by the
Maenads he is buried in Pieria."
^ James Charlesworth (2010). The Good And Evil Serpent: How a
Universal Symbol Became Christianized. Yale University Press.
pp. 222–223. ISBN 978-0-300-14273-0.
^ Walter Friedrich Otto; Robert B. Palmer (1965). Dionysus: Myth and
Cult. Indiana University Press. pp. 164–166.
^ Leo Steinberg (2014). The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance Art and
in Modern Oblivion. University of Chicago Press. pp. 47, 83 with
footnotes. ISBN 978-0-226-22631-6.
^ Jennifer R. March (2014). Dictionary of Classical Mythology. Oxbow.
pp. 164, 296. ISBN 978-1-78297-635-6.
^ Csapo, Eric (1997). "Riding the
Phallus for Dionysus: Iconology,
Ritual, and Gender-Role De/Construction". Phoenix. 51 (3/4):
256–257, 253–295. doi:10.2307/1192539.
^ Dietrich, B. C. (1958). "
Dionysus Liknites". The Classical
Quarterly. Cambridge University Press. 8 (3-4): 244–248. Retrieved
^ Norman C. McClelland (2010). Encyclopedia of
Karma. McFarland. pp. 76–77. ISBN 978-0-7864-5675-8.
British Museum - statue". British Museum.
^ Russell, Bertrand. History of Western Philosophy.Routledge, 1996, p.
^ Kraemer, Ross S. "Ecstasy and Possession: The Attraction of Women to
the Cult of Dionysus." The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 72 60
^ ..."the Bacchic passages in the Roman drama, taken over from their
Greek models, presented a pejorative image of the Bacchic cult which
predisposed the Romans towards persecution before the consul denounced
the cult in 186." Robert Rouselle, Liber-
Dionysus in Early Roman
Drama, The Classical Journal, 82, 3 (1987), p. 193.
^ "Certainly it is hard to imagine anything less consistent with Roman
mos maiorum than the anarchic hedonism of satyrs. It was precisely
libido, that morally subversive aspect of the Bacchic cult, that led
to its brutal suppression..." Wiseman, T.P., "
Satyrs in Rome? The
Background to Horace's Ars Poetica," Journal of Roman Studies, 1988,
p. 1.  (accessed November 19, 2017)
^ Pliny attributes the invention of the triumph to "Father Liber" (who
by Pliny's time was identified with
Bacchus and Dionysus): see Pliny,
Historia Naturalis, 7.57 (ed. Bostock) at Perseus: Tufts.edu
^ Smith, 127–129
^ as in the
Dionysus and Eros, Naples Archeological Museum
^ Smith, 127–154
^ Smith, 127, 131, 133
^ Smith, 130
^ Smith, 136
^ Smith, 127
^ Smith, 128
^ Kessler, E., Dionysian
Monotheism in Nea Paphos, Cyprus,
^ Bull, 227-228, both quoted
^ Bull, 228-232, 228 quoted
^ Bull, 235-238, 242, 247-250
^ Bull, 233-235
^ Bull, 255-256
^ Kerenyi, K., Dionysus: Archetypal Image of Indestructible Life
^ Jeanmaire, H. Dionysus: histoire du culte de Bacchus, (p.106ff)
^ Johnson, R. A. 'Ecstasy; Understanding the Psychology of Joy'
^ Hillman, J. '
Dionysus Reimagined' in The Myth of Analysis
(pp.271-281) HarperCollins (1972); Hillman, J. '
Dionysus in Jung's
Writings' in Facing The Gods, Spring Publications (1980)
^ Thompson, J. 'Emotional Intelligence/Imaginal Intelligence' in
Mythopoetry Scholar Journal, Vol 1, 2010
^ Lopez-Pedraza, R. '
Dionysus in Exile: On the Repression of the Body
Chiron Publications (2000)
^ Johnson, Sarah. "Household Gods". Historical Novel Society.
Historical Novel Society. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
^ Horton, Rich. "Household Gods". SF Site. SF Site. Retrieved 2 August
^ Kakutani, Michiko. "Books of The Times; Students Indulging In Course
of Destruction". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 3
^ Greenspun, Roger (March 23, 1970). "Screen::De Palma's '
69'". New York Times. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
^ Murray, Matthew. "The Frogs". Talkin' Broadway. Talkin' Broadway.
Retrieved 2 August 2017.
^ Maxwell, Herbert (1913). The Chronicle of Lanercost, 1272-1346.
Glasgow, Scotland: Glasgow : J. Maclehose.
pp. 29–30. access-date= requires url= (help)
^ Clogg, Richard (Jan 2005). "Woodhouse, Christopher Montague, fifth
Baron Terrington (1917–2001)". Oxford Dictionary of National
Biography. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
^ Ashe, Geoffrey (2000). The Hell-Fire Clubs: A History of
Anti-Morality. Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing. p. 114.
access-date= requires url= (help)
^ Bayles, Richard (1889). History of Windham County,
^ "Dionysus". Neokoroi.org. Neokoroi. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
^ Detienne, Marcel.
Dionysus Slain. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1979.
^ Evans, Arthur. The God of Ecstasy. New York: St. Martins' Press,
^ Wick, Peter (2004). "Jesus gegen Dionysos? Ein Beitrag zur
Kontextualisierung des Johannesevangeliums". Biblica. Rome: Pontifical
Biblical Institute. 85 (2): 179–198. Retrieved 2007-10-10.
^ a b c Powell, Barry B., Classical Myth. Second ed. With new
translations of ancient texts by Herbert M. Howe. Upper Saddle River,
New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1998.
^ Studies in Early Christology, by Martin Hengel, 2005, p. 331
^ Dalby, Andrew (2005). The Story of Bacchus. London: British Museum
^ E. Kessler, Dionysian
Monotheism in Nea Paphos, Cyprus. Symposium on
Monotheism in the Roman Empire, Exeter, 17–20 July 2006
Abstract Archived 2008-04-21 at the Wayback Machine.)
^ Bull, 240-241
^ John Chadwick, The Mycenaean World, Cambridge University Press,
1976, 99ff: "But
Dionysos surprisingly appears twice at Pylos, in the
form Diwonusos, both times irritatingly enough on fragments, so that
we have no means of verifying his divinity."
Linear B word di-wo-nu-so". Palaeolexicon. Word study tool of
^ This is the view of Garcia Ramon (1987) and Peters (1989),
summarised and endorsed in Janda (2010:20).
^ Fox, p. 217, "The word
Dionysos is divisible into two parts, the
first originally Διος (cf. Ζευς), while the second is of an
unknown signification, although perhaps connected with the name of the
Mount Nysa which figures in the story of Lykourgos: (...) when
Dionysos had been reborn from the thigh of Zeus,
Hermes entrusted him
to the nymphs of Mount Nysa, who fed him on the food of the gods, and
made him immortal."
^ Testimonia of Pherecydes in an early 5th-century BC fragment, FGrH
3, 178, in the context of a discussion on the name of Dionysus:
"Nũsas (acc. pl.), he [Pherecydes] said, was what they called the
^ a b Nonnus,
Suda s.v. Διόνυσος .
^ R. S. P. Beekes, Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Brill, 2009, p.
^ see Janda (2010), 16-44 for a detailed account.
^ Pausanias, 8.39.6.
^ Stephanus of Byzantium, s.v. Ακρωρεία
^ Used thus by Ausonius, Epigrams, 29, 6, and in Catullus, 29; see Lee
M. Fratantuono, NIVALES SOCII: CAESAR, MAMURRA, AND THE SNOW OF
CATULLUS C. 57, Quaderni Urbinati di Cultura Classica, New Series,
Vol. 96, No. 3 (2010), p. 107, Note 2.
^ Aego'bolus entry in William Smith, A Dictionary of Greek and Roman
biography and mythology, London, John Murray, 1848, citing Pausanias,
ix. 8. § 1. Online at perseus.tufts.edu (accessed 15 February 2017)
^ For a parallel see pneuma/psuche/anima The core meaning is wind as
^ Bulls in antiquity were said to roar.
^ McKeown, J.C. A Cabinet of Greek Curiosities: Strange Tales and
Surprising Facts from the Cradle of Western Civilization, Oxford
University Press, New York, 2013, p. 210)
^ Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Greeks, 92: 82-83, Loeb
Classical Library (registration required: accessed 17 December 2016)
^ Kerenyi, C. (1967). Eleusis: Archetypal Image of Mother and
Daughter. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-01915-0; Kerenyi
1976). Dionysos: Archetypal Image of Indestructible Life. Princeton
^ Janda (2010), 16-44.
^ Kerenyi 1976:286.
^ Jameson 1993, 53. Cf.n16 for suggestions of Devereux on "Enorkhes,"
Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek-English Lexicon
^ Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek-English Lexicon
^ Mentioned by
Erasmus in The Praise of Folly
^ Rosemarie Taylor-Perry, The God Who Comes: Dionysian Mysteries
Revisited. Algora Press 2003, p.89, cf. Sabazius.
^ According to Homer,
Aphrodite was the daughter of
Odyssey 8.308, 320) and Dione (
Iliad 5.370–71), see Gantz,
^ According to Homer,
Iliad 1.570–579, 14.338,
Hephaestus was apparently the son of
Hera and Zeus, see Gantz, p. 74.
^ According to Hesiod's
Theogony 886–890, of Zeus' children by his
Athena was the first to be conceived, but the last to be
Zeus impregnated Metis then swallowed her, later
gave birth to
Athena "from his head", see Gantz, pp. 51–52, 83–84.
^ According to Hesiod,
Aphrodite was born from
Uranus' severed genitals, see Gantz, pp. 99–100.
^ According to Hesiod,
Hephaestus was produced by
Hera alone, with no father, see Gantz, p. 74.
Bull, Malcolm, The Mirror of the Gods, How Renaissance Artists
Rediscovered the Pagan Gods, Oxford UP, 2005, ISBN 9780195219234
Dalby, Andrew (2005). The Story of Bacchus. London: British Museum
Press. ISBN 0-7141-2255-6.
Farnell, Lewis Richard, The Cults of the Greek States, 1896. Volume V,
cf. Chapter IV, "Cults of Dionysos"; Chapter V, "Dionysiac Ritual";
Chapter VI, "Cult-Monuments of Dionysos"; Chapter VII, "Ideal
Fox, William Sherwood, The
Mythology of All Races, v.1, Greek and
Roman, 1916, General editor, Louis Herbert Gray.
Gantz, Timothy, Early Greek Myth: A Guide to Literary and Artistic
Sources, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996, two volumes:
ISBN 978-0-8018-5360-9 (Vol. 1), ISBN 978-0-8018-5362-3
Hesiod, Theogony, in The
Homeric Hymns and Homerica with an English
Translation by Hugh G. Evelyn-White, Cambridge, MA., Harvard
University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1914. Online version
Perseus Digital Library.
Iliad with an English Translation by A.T. Murray, Ph.D. in
two volumes. Cambridge, MA., Harvard University Press; London, William
Heinemann, Ltd. 1924. Online version at the
Perseus Digital Library.
Odyssey with an English Translation by A.T. Murray, PH.D.
in two volumes. Cambridge, MA., Harvard University Press; London,
William Heinemann, Ltd. 1919. Online version at the
Janda, Michael, Die Musik nach dem Chaos, Innsbruck 2010.
Jameson, Michael. "The Asexuality of Dionysus." Masks of Dionysus. Ed.
Thomas H. Carpenter and Christopher A. Faraone. Ithaca: Cornell UP,
1993. ISBN 0-8014-8062-0. 44-64.
Kerényi, Karl, Dionysos: Archetypal Image of Indestructible Life,
(Princeton: Bollingen) 1976.
Nonnus, Dionysiaca; translated by Rouse, W H D, I Books I–XV. Loeb
Classical Library No. 344, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press;
London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1940. Internet Archive
Sara Peterson, An account of the Dionysiac presence in Indian art and
culture. Academia, 2016
Pickard-Cambridge, Arthur, The
Theatre of Dionysus
Theatre of Dionysus at Athens, 1946.
Powell, Barry B., Classical Myth, 5th edition, 2007.
Ridgeway, William, Origin of Tragedy, 1910. Kessinger Publishing (June
2003). ISBN 0-7661-6221-4.
Ridgeway, William, The Dramas and Dramatic Dances of non-European
Races in special reference to the origin of Greek Tragedy, with an
appendix on the origin of Greek Comedy, 1915.
Riu, Xavier, Dionysism and Comedy, Rowman and Littlefield Publishers
(1999). ISBN 0-8476-9442-9.
Seaford, Richard. "Dionysos", Routledge (2006).
Smith, R.R.R., Hellenistic Sculpture, a handbook, Thames & Hudson,
1991, ISBN 0500202494
Smith, William, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology,
1870, article on Dionysus
Sutton, Dana F., Ancient Comedy, Twayne Publishers (August 1993).
Library resources about
Resources in your library
Resources in other libraries
Livy, History of Rome, Book 39:13, Description of banned Bacchanalia
Rome and Italy
Dionysos at Large, tr. by Arthur Goldhammer, Harvard
University Press, 1989. ISBN 0-674-20773-4. (Originally in French
Dionysos à ciel ouvert, 1986)
Albert Henrichs, Between City and Country: Cultic Dimensions of
Athens and Attica, (April 1, 1990). Department of
Classics, UCB. Cabinet of the Muses: Rosenmeyer Festschrift. Paper
Sara Peterson, An account of the Dionysiac presence in Indian art and
culture. Academia, 2016
Dionysos (Gods and Heroes of the Ancient World).
Oxford: Routledge, 2006 ISBN 0-415-32487-4.
Taylor-Perry, Rosemarie The God Who Comes: Dionysian Mysteries
Revisited. New York: Algora Press, 2003 ISBN 0-87586-214-4.
Frazer, James "The Golden Bough"
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