Greek god of vegetation, viticulture and ecstasy or intoxication, He was also called bromios (noises) or bakchos (shouts) due to the noise that his entourage made. The name used in Roman mythology derives from this Bacchus from. It is usually depicted with ivy or wine tendrils and grapes. Its external attributes are those encircled with ivy and vines thyrsos as a fertility symbol and the one shown in the middle of the picture kantharos (Drinking vessel for wine) on the Dionsysos with a satyrs (left) and in conversation with the messenger of the god Hermes (right). Dionysos also holds a Kantharos in his right hand. The female companions of Dionysus were the maenads. The oldest mention of him dates from the 13th century BC, although there are quite different versions about his birth and life history. According to the most common version, Zeus fathered Dionysus with the beautiful Semele, daughter of Cadmos, the king of Thebes.
This divine affair is considered to be the founding act of viticulture in Greece, By jealousy of the jealous Zeus wife Hera, Semele was unintentionally killed by Zeus, by showing her all her glory at her express request and burning her through it, so to speak. Zeus took the unborn Dionysus from her lap and let him mature 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 around the world and reached Egypt and Syria. Eventually, he was healed by Titan Rhea.
On the way to Italy, Dionysus was captured by Tyrrhenian pirates. He demonstrated their divine power to them by taking the form of a lion, mauling the leader of the pirates, growing ivy up the ship's mast, turning the mast into a vine, so to speak, growing vines and grapes on the sails, and turning the pirates into dolphins , The first came from his companion Ampelos, who had been killed while hunting Rebstock, Dionysus planted it first in a bird bone, when it became too small, in a lion bone, and finally in a donkey bone. So he could take the vine anywhere. Ampelos is the name of the ampelography back.
Dionysus now went from place to place and learned the people his ceremonies and the cultivated cultivation of wine. He gave sweet wine, joy and consolation to all those who were well-disposed to him. Among other things, he brought the Aeolian king Oineus one Rebstock and taught this in viticulture. However, those who rejected him were severely punished by the wine driving them to rage and atrocities. This also symbolizes the two sides of wine enjoyment. On his exuberant parades with orgiastic cult ceremonies, he was accompanied by female Dionysiads (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 sighter) and Staphylus (Grape). The picture on the right shows a panther quadriga with Dionysos and Ariadne on the facade of the Semperoper in Dresden. The picture on the left shows a statue in the British Museum (Roman copy around 50 AD, Greek original around 340 BC).
Until the 5th century BC The Greek drama developed in the three forms of tragedy, comedy and satyr. The theater plays always took place during the Dionysia (festivals) in honor of God. One of the award winners was the famous Greek comedy poet Aristophanes (450-380 BC). The small Dionysia were celebrated from March to April and the large Dionysia in autumn at the time of the harvest. They included sacrifices, banquets, competitions, pageants and shaggy jokes and were characterized by exuberance and self-indulgence combined with excessive wine consumption. The primary goal was intoxication as a cleaning ceremony with a psycho-hygienic effect. Goats were sacrificed to Dionysus, because the goat, as a voracious destroyer of the vine, had to be slaughtered for him. Likewise, the symposia held in honor of God, which was a drinking binge with moderate wine consumption.
The Romans imitated Dionysia through the Bacchanalia. But these degenerated into such unbridledness that the Senate banned them. The vine was especially sacred to Dionysus. Later the holiness of the vine and wine passed into the Christian religion. The sacrament is the culmination of the appreciation of wine and the transformation of bread and wine into Christ's body and blood at the Eucharist the central belief of Christianity. A colored custom picture of the eating and drinking culture of the Roman upper class in the first century Petronius (+66) in his work Satyricon, See also under wine gods,