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Dionysos

Greek god of vegetation, viticulture and ecstasy or the intoxication, He was also called Bromios (noise) or Bakchos (caller, shouting) due to the noise his entourage organized. From this derives the common name in Roman mythology Bacchus from. Mostly it is represented with ivy or grape vines and grapes. Its external attributes are the one with ivy and vines encircled thyrsos as a fertility symbol and the one shown on the left kantharos (Drinking vessel for wine), on the Dionsysos with a satyrs (left) and in conversation with the messenger of the god Hermes (right). Dionysus also holds such a Kantharos in his right hand. Female companions of Dionysus were the Maenads. The earliest mention of it dates back to the 13th century BC, with quite different versions of its birth and life history. According to the most common version, Zeus fathered Dionysus with the beautiful Semele, daughter of Cadmus, king of Thebes.

Kantharos (drinking cup) with Dionysus image / Pantherquadriga with Dionysus and Ariadne on the facade of the Semperoper in Dresden

This divine infidelity applies mutatis mutandis as a founding act of viticulture culture in Greece, By the intrigues of the jealous Zeus wife Hera, Semele was inadvertently killed by Zeus, showing himself at her express desire in all its glory and burning her through it, so to speak. Zeus took the still-born Dionysus out of her lap and let him ripen on his hips for another three months. To protect him from Hera, he grew up in a cave and was raised by nymphs. As an adult, he was discovered by Hera and beaten with madness, so that he wandered aimlessly in the world and reached as far as Egypt and Syria. Eventually he was healed by the titan Rhea.

On the way to Italy, Dionysus was captured by Tyrrhenian pirates. He showed them his divine power by assuming the form of a lion, tearing the leader of the pirates, raising ivy up the mast, transforming the mast into a vine, growing sails and grapes on the sails, and turning the buccaneers into dolphins , His companion Ampelos, killed in the hunt, was the first to speak Rebstock, Dionysos first planted it in a bird's bone when it became too small, in a lion's bone, and finally in a donkey's bone. Thus, he could take the vine everywhere. On Ampelos is the name of the ampelography back.

Dionysos now moved from place to place and learned the people of his ceremonies and the cultivated cultivation of the wine. To all his well-wishers he gave sweet wine, joy and comfort. Among other things, he brought the Aetolian king Oineus one Rebstock and taught this in viticulture. Those who rejected him, however, were severely punished by him, the wine drove them to rage and atrocities. This also symbolizes the two sides of the pleasure of wine. On his exuberant parades with orgiastic cult ceremonies accompanied him female Dionysiaden (also Maenads) and nymphs, male satyrs, as well as the shepherd god Pan, With the fertility goddess Ariadne Dionysus fathered several sons, among others Oenopion (Wine maker) and Staphylus (Grape). The picture on the right shows a Pantherquadriga with Dionysus and Ariadne on the facade of the Semperoper in Dresden.

Until the 5th century BC The Greek drama developed in the three forms of tragedy, comedy and the satyr play. The theater plays always took place during the Dionysia (festivals) in honor of the god. One of the winners was the famous Greek comedy writer Aristophanes (450-380 BC). The small Dionysia were celebrated from March to April and the great Dionysia in the fall at the time of the vintage. They included sacrifices, feasts, competitions, pageants and jokes and were characterized by exuberance and lawlessness in connection with excessive wine consumption. The primary objective was the intoxication as a purifying ceremonial with a psychohygienic effect. The Dionysus bucks were sacrificed because the buck as a gluttonous destroyer of the vine had to be slaughtered for atonement. Likewise, the symposia held in honor of the god, this was drinking with moderate wine consumption.

The Romans imitated the Dionysia through the Bacchanalia. These, however, degenerated into such licentiousness that they were banned by the Senate. The vine was especially sacred to Dionysus. Later, the sanctity of grapevine and wines passed into the Christian religion. The Lord's Supper is the culmination of the appreciation of wine and the conversion of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ Eucharist the central statement of faith of Christendom. A colorful moral picture of the dining and drinking culture describes the Roman upper class in the first century Petronius (+66) in his work Satyricon, See also below wine gods,

Picture left: By User: MatthiasKabel - Own work , CC BY-SA 3.0 , Link
Right: From SchiDD - Own work , CC BY 3.0 , Link

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