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Dionysus is the god of the grape harvest, winemaking, wine and ecstasy.
(Also spelled Dionysos, also called Bacchus)
Dionysus was the son of Zeus and Semele, a daughter of Cadmus (king of Thebes). Out of jealousy, Hera, the wife of Zeus, persuaded the pregnant Semele to prove her lover’s divinity by requesting that he appear in his real person. Zeus complied, but his power was too great for the mortal Semele, who was blasted with thunderbolts. However, Zeus saved his son and raised him until maturity.
Parents: Dionysus was a son of Zeus, the King of the Gods and the beautiful princess Semele. Because of his mortal mother, his birthplace Thebes refused to acknowledge him as an immortal at first.
Relationships: Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and Nyx, the goddess of the night.
Wife: Ariadne, the princess of Crete
Famous Children: Priapus, Phthonus, Deianira
Dionysus was a god known for his lightheartness and always offered his help to anyone in need. He was therefore very popular among gods and mortals and many festivals were being held every year in his honor. Nevertheless, Dionysus was many times misunderstood.
Dionysus was one of the Olympian gods who actually did not live in Mount Olympus but was constantly travelling around the world together with Satyrs and Maenads in order to discover the secrets of winemaking.
The origin of Dionysus’ name remains an unsolved puzzle until today. According to the poet Pindar, it probably derives from the words “Zeus”, the father of Dionysus, and “Nysa”, the mountain on which Dionysus was born and raised.
Dionysus was a handsome young man with impressive hair (usually tresses falling below his shoulders) and a wreath of ivy on his head. In his hand he was holding a “thyrsos”, which was a light staff wrapped with leaves of ivy and a pine cone on its top.
The symbols of Dionysus were the thyrsos (a wooden stick wrapped with ivy leaves and vines), the flute and the wine barrels. His sacred animals were the panther and the tiger.