Dionysus-Bacchus


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Description

Dionysus is the god of wine, agriculture, and the fertility of nature. Dionysus had learned how to make wine when he lived in a valley, and traveled around to spread his knowledge. Dionysus had many followers, humans and animals both. The most famous of his followers were the maenads. They were the women that would follow him into the forest and live there almost savagely. They became very close with nature, and comfortable with it, so they would run around, and skip around, putting vines in their hair, and more. In fits of savagery, the maenads would go out and hunt. When they would come upon creatures, they would perform a group attack, and rip the limbs off the creature one by one. They killed people this way as well.

Family

Dionysus' father is the god Zeus, and his mother was a mortal named Semele, making Dionysus a semi-god. When Semele was pregnant with Dionysus, she was hit by Zeus' lightning bolts and died. She was consumed by them when Zeus revealed to her that he was a god. Dionysus, however, was saved by Hermes. Zeus put Dionysus in his thigh, and Dionysus developed there. When Dionysus was "born" out of the thigh, his father gave him to nymphs to be raised by them. He had the nymphs take Dionysus to a valley to keep him from Hera, Zeus' wife. In the valley, Dionysus learned how to make wine.(That is the most common story.) Since Zeus was the father of other gods and goddesses as well, Dionysus was related to them too.

Anectdotes

1) In the story about the minotaur, two lovers, Ariadne and Theseus, escape the minotaur with 12 other young men and women to the island of Naxos. When they were there, Dionysus told Theseus in a dream that he had to leave Ariadne at the island. This was because Dionysus wanted Ariadne for himself, and therefor threatened Theseus. Theseus did as he was told, and Ariadne was quite upset when she found that the ship with her love on it had left without her. Dionysus played the role of the savior swooping in, and comforted the depressed Ariadne. Eventually, Ariadne fell in love with Dionysus.

2) There once was a man named Orion, and he was the sun of Poseidon, god of the sea. He fell in love with the princess of Chios, Merope. Her father did not want her to leave him so he tried to find ways to make him unavailable in some way. After trying a variety of things, the king called upon Dionysus to give him alot of wine. (In other word, Dionysus was supposed to get Orion as drunk as it took to make him pass out.) Once Orion was unconscious, the king blinded him and threw him onto a beach. The king eventually got his wish, and Orion and Merope never married

Works Cited

Coolidge, Olivia. Greek Myths. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1949.

Low, Alice. Greek Gods and Heroes. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1985

Gross, Rachel and Grote, Dale. Dionysus. 16 Oct. 2007. www.pantheon.org/articles/d/dionysus.html