Thursday, September 05, 2013

Dionysus / Bacchus

A figure connected with both physical and social phenomena, Dionysus was associated with wine, ecstasy, communality, mystery cult, and death. Classical Dionysiac myths communicate the joys of a god who, according to one epithet, was the "Liberator" (Eleutherios). Under his power, women rushed to the mountainside, and men practiced hedonism. The various disastrous attempts to resist Dionysus are illustrated by the punishment meted out to Pentheus, Dionysus' cousin, who was torn apart by his mother and aunts. Meanwhile the daughters of Minyas, who remained at their looms after their fellow Boeotian women had dashed off to the mountainside in bacchic frenzy, came themselves to be so thoroughly inspired by Dionysian madness that, in some versions, they tore apart one of their own children. Distraught, they roamed the mountain until Hermes transformed them into bats. As the "twice born" god, Dionysus was torn from the womb of Semele as she was being incinerated by Zeus' lightning.
The fetus was sewn into the thigh of Zeus, out of which the god was eventually born. He was born yet again after the Titans dismembered him, Athena producing a reconstructed Dionysus from the still-beating heart

 by Susan Deacy, 30-Second Mythology


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