She usually had a small shrine near the wine press and often her figure would appear on the spout where the grape juice flowed into the receiving tank. She is sometimes joined by Ernutet , the Egyptian goddess of plenty, in blessing the grape harvest. What is intriguing about these wine goddesses is how little is known about them, whereas Dionysus and Bacchus have much more coverage in the literature. It is possible that this is because they are more recent. However, the concept of Dionysus, as a child god who was born of a mortal woman and a god, is very ancient and can be traced back years.
These depictions however — which are amazingly similar to the images of Mother Mary with the Baby Jesus — do not include wine. Dionysus as a wine god came later. Indeed, another legend says that Dionysus came from the lands near Sumeria to the islands of Greece. Is Dionysus somehow connected with Gestin, Paget and Siduri? So what are the implications of these ancient connections between women and wine?
Why have the ancient wine goddesses been lost in the history of time? Is it because the culture changed towards a more masculine image, which gave rise to the male wine gods?
Is this why in the period of the Roman Empire, women were banned from drinking wine? Indeed, a husband who caught his wife drinking wine could legally kill her on the spot. And the depiction of the raging Bacchanalia rites, in which women chased after Bacchus in drunken ecstasy while they tore animals to shreds is hardly flattering to women. So perhaps it is time to resurrect the image of the ancient wine goddesses, and the blessings of a plentiful harvest and the joy that wine can bring in moderation.
After all, the cultural tides of the world have changed again, and today in wine-drinking countries, women are the primary purchasers of wine. The connection between women and wine has always been there. Today it is growing stronger, with a focus on friendship, romance, health and balance. Gurney, pp. Asiatic Mythology. London: George G. The Story of Wine. UK: Octopus Publishing Group.
NJ: Princeton University Press. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. She has received numerous recognition awards for her work, and has traveled widely throughout Europe and Asia to attend art workshops. Vivian holds a B. I love the story. Fascinating the women would begin Wine and then march to end the use of all alcohol later in history.
Received another intersting email regarding this article that I wanted to share here. Special thanks to George:. Your short article gives credit to the hunter gatherers discovering wine. This story was told in Homer's epic, Iliad 6.
"El Mundo Visible es Sólo un Pretexto" / "The Visible World is Just a Pretext".-
A better-known story is that of his descent to Hades to rescue his mother Semele, whom he placed among the stars. He was guided by Prosymnus or Polymnus, who requested, as his reward, to be Dionysus' lover. Prosymnus died before Dionysus could honor his pledge, so in order to satisfy Prosymnus' shade, Dionysus fashioned a phallus from an olive branch and sat on it at Prosymnus' tomb. It appears to have served as an explanation of the secret objects that were revealed in the Dionysian Mysteries. Another myth according to Nonnus involves Ampelos , a satyr.
Foreseen by Dionysus, the youth was killed in an accident riding a bull maddened by the sting of an Ate 's gadfly. The Fates granted Ampelos a second life as a vine, from which Dionysus squeezed the first wine. Young 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, "Dionysius was loved by Chiron, from whom he learned chants and dances, the bacchic rites and initiations.
When Hephaestus bound Hera to a magical chair, Dionysus got him drunk and brought her back to Olympus after he passed out. 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 Euripides. When Theseus abandoned 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 descended into Hades to restore her to the gods on Olympus. Callirrhoe was a Calydonian woman who scorned a priest of Dionysus who threatened to afflict all the women of Calydon with 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. Acis , a Sicilian youth, was sometimes said to be Dionysus' son.
They point to the symbolism of wine and the importance it held in the mythology surrounding both Dionysus and Jesus Christ;   though, Wick argues that the use of wine symbolism in the Gospel of John , including the story of the Marriage at Cana at which Jesus turns water into wine, was intended to show Jesus as superior to Dionysus. Additionally, some scholars of comparative mythology argue that both Dionysus and Jesus represent the " dying-and-returning god " mythological archetype. Another parallel can be seen in The Bacchae wherein Dionysus appears before King Pentheus on charges of claiming divinity is compared to the New Testament scene of Jesus being interrogated by Pontius Pilate.
Kessler in a symposium Pagan Monotheism in the Roman Empire , Exeter, July , argues that Dionysian cult had developed into strict monotheism by the 4th century CE; together with Mithraism and other sects the cult formed an instance of "pagan monotheism" in direct competition with Early Christianity during Late Antiquity. The god appeared on many kraters and other wine vessels from classical Greece. His iconography became more complex in the Hellenistic period, between severe archaising or Neo Attic types such as the Dionysus Sardanapalus and types showing him as an indolent and androgynous young man and often shown nude see the Dionysus and Eros , Naples Archeological Museum.
The 4th century 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 Thrace being taunted by the god and attacked by a satyr. 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. Dionysus has remained an inspiration to artists, philosophers and writers into the modern era.
In The Birth of Tragedy , the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche contrasted Dionysus with the god Apollo as a symbol of the fundamental, unrestrained aesthetic principle of force, music, and intoxication versus the principle of sight, form, and beauty represented by the latter.
Nietzsche also claimed that the oldest forms of Greek Tragedy were entirely based on suffering of Dionysus. Nietzsche continued to contemplate the character of Dionysus, which he revisited in the final pages of his work Beyond Good and Evil. This reconceived Nietzschean Dionysus was invoked as an embodiment of the central will to power concept in Nietzsche's later works The Twilight of the Idols , The Antichrist and Ecce Homo. The Russian poet and philosopher Vyacheslav Ivanov elaborated the theory of Dionysianism , which traces the roots of literary art in general and the art of tragedy in particular to ancient Dionysian mysteries.
Ovid, Metamorphoses, 3.511-733
Inspired by James Frazer , some have labeled Dionysus a life-death-rebirth deity. The mythographer Karl Kerenyi devoted much energy to Dionysus over his long career; he summed up his thoughts in Dionysos: Archetypal Image of Indestructible Life Bollingen, Princeton Dionysus is the main character of Aristophanes' play The Frogs , later updated to a modern version by Burt Shevelove libretto and Stephen Sondheim music and lyrics "The time is the present.
The place is ancient Greece. In the play, Dionysus and his slave Xanthius venture to Hades to bring a famed writer back from the dead, with the hopes that the writer's presence in the world will fix all nature of earthly problems. The Romanised equivalent of Dionysus was referenced in the plantation literature novel Aunt Phillis's Cabin is alive , which featured a character named Uncle Bacchus, who was so-named due to his excessive alcoholism. Both Eddie Campbell and Grant Morrison have utilised the character. Morrison claims that the myth of Dionysus provides the inspiration for his violent and explicit graphic novel Kill Your Boyfriend , whilst Campbell used the character in his Deadface series to explore both the conventions of super-hero comic books and artistic endeavour.
Walt Disney has depicted the character on a number of occasions. In keeping with the more fun-loving Roman god, he is portrayed as an overweight, happily drunk man wearing a tunic and cloak, grape leaves on his head, carrying a goblet of wine, and riding a drunken donkey named Jacchus " jackass ".
He is friends with the fauns and centaurs , and is shown celebrating a harvest festival. Other portrayals have appeared in both the Disney movie and spin-off TV series of Hercules. He was depicted as an overweight drunkard as opposed to his youthful descriptions in myths.
He has bright pink skin and rosy red cheeks hinting at his drunkenness. He always carries either a bottle or glass of wine in his hand, and like in the myths, wears a wreath of grape leaves upon his head. He is known by his Roman name in the series 'Bacchus', and in one episode headlines his own festival known as the 'Bacchanal'. In music Dionysius together with Demeter was used as an archetype for the character Tori by contemporary artist Tori Amos in her album American Doll Posse , and the Canadian rock band Rush refer to a confrontation and hatred between Dionysus and Apollo in the Cygnus X-1 duology.
In literature, Dionysius has proven equally inspiring. In Fred Saberhagen 's novel, God of the Golden Fleece, a young man in a post-apocalyptic world picks up an ancient piece of technology shaped in the likeness of the Dionysus. Here, Dionysus is depicted as a relatively weak god, albeit a subversive one whose powers are able to undermine the authority of tyrants.
A version of Bacchus also appears in C. Lewis' Prince Caspian , part of the Chronicles of Narnia. Lewis depicts him as dangerous-looking, androgynous young boy who helps Aslan awaken the spirits of the Narnian trees and rivers. He does not appear in the film version. In the poet Stephen Howarth and veteran theatre producer Andrew Hobbs collaborated on a play entitled Bacchus in Rehab with Dionysus as the central character. The authors describe the piece as "combining highbrow concept and lowbrow humour". The second season of True Blood involves a plot line wherein a maenad , Maryann, causes mayhem in the Louisiana town of Bon Temps in attempt to summon Dionysus.
Dionysus - Wikipedia
Sign In Don't have an account? Start a Wiki. This article is about the Greco-Roman deity. For other uses of the names "Dionysus" and "Dionysos", see Dionysos disambiguation. For other uses of the theophoric name "Dionysius", see Dionysius disambiguation. Contents [ show ]. Dionysos satyr Altemps Inv Dionysos mosaic from Pella. Dionysos riding a leopard, 4th century BC mosaic from Pella. They sought to bound him with rude bonds, but these would not hold him, and the ropes fell far away from his hands and feet: and he sat with a smile in his dark eyes.
What god is this whom you have taken and bind, strong that he is? Not even the well-built ship can carry him. Surely this is either Zeus or Apollo who has the silver bow, or Poseidon, for he looks not like mortal men but like the gods who dwell on Olympus. As for this fellow we men will see to him; I reckon he is bound for Egypt or for Cyprus or to the Hyperboreans or further still. But soon strange things were seen among them. First of all, sweet, fragrant wine ran streaming throughout all the black ship and a heavenly smell arose, so that all the seamen were seized with amazement.
And all at once a vine spread out both ways along the top of the sail with many clusters hanging down from it, and a dark ivy-plant twined about the mast, blossoming with flowers, and with rich berries growing on it; and all the thole pins were covered with garlands. When the pirates saw all this, then at last they bade the helmsman to put the ship to land.
But the god changed into a dreadful lion there on the ship, on the bow, and roared loudly: amidships also he showed his wonders and created a shaggy bear which stood up ravening, while on the forepeak was the lion glaring fiercely with scowling brows. And so the sailors fled to the stern and crowded terrified about the right-minded helmsman, until suddenly the lion sprang upon the master and seized him; and when the sailors saw it they leapt out overboard one and all into the bright sea, escaping from a miserable fate, and were changed into dolphins.
He who forgets you can in no wise order sweet song. There is the heterogeneous crowd of Thebans who, having fallen under the spell of Bacchus, rush to perform his rites 3. There are the henchmen whom Pentheus sends out to capture Bacchus and who return, blood-spattered, with someone identifying himself as Acoetes 3.
We may also add the old senes and young men iuvenes of Thebes whom Pentheus tries to rally against Bacchus 3. Amidst this kaleidoscopic assortment of dramatis personae , four principal figures stand out: Tiresias, Pentheus, Bacchus, and Acoetes. Or perhaps we should say three, since the last two may in fact be one and the same figure. He makes his earliest literary appearance in Odyssey 11, as the seer whom Odysseus seeks out in the Underworld in order to receive advice on his homecoming.
If Homeric epic and Attic tragedy foreground his privileged access to divine knowledge late in life or even after death , other texts put the emphasis elsewhere, not least to explain how Tiresias acquired the gift of foresight in the first place. Here another aspect of his mythical CV comes to the fore: his unusual proclivity for sex changes.
Tradition has it that the perambulating Tiresias once struck copulating snakes with his staff, whereupon he mysteriously morphed from male to female — only to return to his original sex when he did likewise several years later. Forbidden by cosmic law to undo the punishment inflicted by his wife, the well-pleased Jupiter granted Tiresias the gift of prophecy in recompense. Our earliest witness for this tale is pseudo-Hesiodic Melampodia , a fragmentary epic poem probably dating to the 6th century BCE. When first encountering him midway through Book 3, we get the tale of copulating snakes, sex changes, and erotic expertise, with the ensuing loss of sight and gain of fore-sight Met.
He is dismayed by the inability of the citizenry to stand up to what he regards as a feeble and unworthy foe. The very idea that a group of revellers known for orgiastic noise, magical tricks, female ululations, alcoholic excess, and sexual license can overpower the population of a city descended from a dragon of Mars offends his martial pride 3. In his vain exhortation to his fellow Thebans he goes so far as to adduce the dragon of Mars, which his grandfather Cadmus slew, as a paragon of virtue that bravely gave its life in defence of its lair, fighting valiantly against overwhelming odds 3.
- The History Of Scotland - Volume 12: From Jacobite Leaders To The End Of Jacobitism;
- Swiss in Wisconsin (People of Wisconsin);
So, for example, the response of Pentheus to the caterwauling of the Maenads on Mount Cithaeron is likened to that of a warhorse hearing the trumpeter of an army giving the signal to fight 3. But Pentheus here fashions Cadmus himself as an Aeneas avant la lettre , a leader of an exiled people, profugi from the East, who traversed the sea to settle his people and their penates in a new homeland. The Romanizing touches continue with the characterization of Thebans as a proles Mavortia 3.
This scene, with its emphasis on theatrical cross-dressing and gender-bending is crucial and emblematic for Euripides. Instead, after the lengthy inset narrative of the prisoner Acoetes, the narrative focus returns to Pentheus, now more bellicose than ever. The defining emotion is wrath ira. Without further ado, he storms to his doom. As ruler of Thebes, he identifies himself with his city; he is convinced that he is acting in the interest of the civic community as the lone representative of law and order , entertains feelings of moral and intellectual superiority, and is beholden to the pursuit of power and honour.
Ethnocentrism, i. In both Euripides and Ovid, this is a key theme, as Pentheus endeavours to repulse Bacchus and his cult as something alien, Eastern, and corrosive of the norms and values he holds dear. Aggressiveness bordering on brutality to protect the self against others, i. Belief that men are superior to women, who are conceived of as passive and as tied to traditional roles of wife and mother. In Euripides, female sexual license is a major concern for Pentheus, and whereas Ovid plays down the importance of gender, his Pentheus too is beholden to a narrow set of martial and masculine values.
Confronted with the arrival of a new god, he mounts a stubborn resistance that includes the rhetorical denigration of his perceived adversary via a familiar set of prejudices about Easterners. Hesiod, in his Theogony —42 , likewise recounts the birth of Dionysus, highlighting that a mortal woman gave birth to an immortal child. Unlike other Olympian deities, he encounters human defiance, deriving in large part from scepticism as to his godhood. As such, writers and artists found Bacchus to be an ideal figure for the interrogation of notions of masculinity and related cultural norms.
As we have seen, this aspect is toned down in the Metamorphoses , but it is not altogether effaced. Ovid highlights this principle at the very beginning of the Pentheus episode:. Liber adest , festisque fremunt ululatibus agri: turba ruit , mixtaeque viris matresque nurusque vulgusque proceresque ignota ad sacra feruntur. The indiscriminate crowd that initially rushed to worship Bacchus has become a band of Maenads rushing upon Pentheus: ruit omnis in unum turba furens 3.
Pentheus is singled out here, just as at the outset, when he was the lone individual ex omnibus unus , 3. In his train, Bacchus brings hallucination and paranoia — surreal dissolution of identity, collapsing and re-doubling roles at will — and the story of Pentheus is a classic and exemplary case. The set text acts out one of the starkest instances in literature of consciousness made prey to delirium unknowingly beside itself.
But we do not get the god himself as a speaking character — at least not at the outset.