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God of the Vine, Grape Harvest, Winemaking, Wine, Ritual Madness, Religious Ecstasy, and Theatre.
—Hesiod src

Dionysus, also known as Mr Wine[1] is a character in Hesiod and Homer's myth. He débuts, with his appearance in around 700 B.C. and usually ends at around the 9th Century.

Dionysus is the greek god of wine in Greek Mythology.

HistoryEdit

Dionysus is a deity[2], previously a demigod[2] and the son of Zeus and Semele. When the Olympian gods defeated the titans in the titanomachy, the titans were destroyed and Mount Olympus was made.

Dionysus had a strange birth that evokes the difficulty in fitting him into the Olympian pantheon. His mother was a mortal woman, Semele, the daughter of king Cadmus of Thebes, and his father was Zeus, the king of the gods. Zeus' wife, Hera, 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 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.

Though 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 Dionysus by 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 follows, Dionysus was the son of Zeus and Persephone, the queen of the Greek underworld. Diodorus' sources equivocally 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 sceptre. 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 the womb of Semele, or gave Semele the heart to eat to impregnate her.

The rebirth in both versions of the story is the primary reason why Dionysus was worshipped in mystery religions, as his death and rebirth were events of mystical reverence. This narrative was apparently used in several Greek and Roman cults, and variants of it are found in Callimachus and Nonnus, who refer to this Dionysus with the title Zagreus, and also in several fragmentary poems attributed to Orpheus.

The myth of the dismemberment of Dionysus by the Titans, is alluded to by Plato in his Phaedo 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 later married the Mistress of the Labyrinth; Goddess of Vegetation, Mazes, Paths, Fertility, Wine, Labyrinths, Snakes, and Passion, Ariadne.

FamilyEdit

URANUS †---------------------------------------------------------------------------GAIA

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CRONUS †---------------------------------------------------------------------------RHEA

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HESTIA _______DEMETER_________ HERA________ HADES______ POSEIDON______ZEUS--SEMELE

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                                                              DIONYSUS

Notes:

  • Solid lines denote parent-child blood relationships
  • Dashed lines denote marriage relationships that result in offspring
  • denotes the deceased
  • Zeus and Semele were never married.

TriviaEdit

NotesEdit

  • Dionysus had only one consort but [possibly] many lovers.
    • His consort is Ariadne.

AppearancesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. The other Olympians would always call Dionysus, Wine or Mr. Wine.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Semele (his mother) begged Zeus to make Dionysus one of the gods. Not a demigod that would eventually die.