King Dionysus La Mara [God of Fertility] HOS-LMF



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04/06/2021 

Dionysus
Category: Blogging

DIONYSOS

Greek Name

Διονυσος

Transliteration

Dionysos

Latin Spelling

Dionysus

Translation

Liber, Bacchus

Dionysus riding panther | Greek mosaic from Pella C4th B.C. | Pella Archaeological Museum Dionysus riding panther, Greek mosaic from Pella C4th B.C., Pella Archaeological Museum

DIONYSOS (Dionysus) was the Olympian god of wine, vegetation, pleasure, festivity, madness and wild frenzy. He was depicted as either an older, bearded god or an effeminate, long-haired youth. His attributes included the thyrsos (a pine-cone tipped staff), a drinking cup and a crown of ivy. He was usually accompanied by a troop of Satyrs and Mainades (wild female devotees).

MYTHS

Dionysos was a son of Zeus and the princess Semele of Thebes. During the course of her pregnancy, the god's jealous wife Hera tricked Semele into asking Zeus to appear before her in his full glory. Bound by oath, the god was forced to comply and she was consumed by the heat of his lightning-bolts. Zeus recovered their unborn child from her body, sewed him up in his own thigh, and carried him to term. <<More>>

After his birth from the thigh of Zeus, Dionysos was first entrusted to the care of Seilenos (Silenus) and the nymphs of Mount Nysa, and later to his aunt Ino, Semele's sister, and her husband Athamas. Hera was enraged when she learned of the boy's location and drove the couple mad, causing them to kill both their children and themselves. <<More>>

The Thrakian king Lykourgos (Lycurgus) attacked Dionysos and his companions as they were travelling through his land and drove them into the sea. As punishment, the god inflicted him with madness causing him to murder his wife and son and mutilate himself with an axe. <<More>>

King Pentheus of Thebes refused to accept the god's divinity and tried to apprehend him. The god retaliated by driving the king's daughters into a crazed frenzy and they tore him apart limb from limb. <<More>>

Dionysos instructed the hero Ikarios (Icarius) of Athens in the art of winemaking. However, some shepherds, upon drinking the wine, thought they had been poisoned and killed him. The sorrowful god then set him amongst the stars as the constellation Bootes. <<More>>

As Dionysos was travelling through the islands of the Aegean Sea he was captured by a band of Tyrrhenian pirates who thought to sell him into slavery. The god infested their ship with phantoms of creeping vines and wild beasts, and in terror the men leapt overboard and were transformed into dolphins. <<More>>

Dionysos married princess Ariadne of Krete (Crete) whom he discovered abandoned by Theseus on the island of Naxos. <<More>>

The god launched a campaign against the Indian nation in the farthest reaches of Asia, leading an army composed of Satyrs, Mainades, and demigods. <<More>>

Dionysos journeyed to the underworld to recover his mother Semele and brought her to Olympos where Zeus transformed into the goddess Thyone. <<More>>

Many other myths are detailed over the following pages.

SYMBOLS & ATTRIBUTES

Dionysos' most distinctive attribute was the thyrsos, a pine-cone tipped staff. His other attributes included a drinking-cup (kantharos), fruiting grapevines and a panther.
The god was usually clothed in a long robe (chiton) and cloak (himation) and crowned with a wreath of ivy-leaves.

Below are some examples of his attributes as depicted in ancient Greek art:-

1. Pine-cone staff (thyrsos); 2. Thyrsos-staff head; 3. Grapevines; 4. Drinking-cup; 5. Wreath of ivy-leaves.

Thyrsos of Dionysos Thyrsos of Dionysos Grapevine of Dionysos Drinking-Cup of Dionysos Ivy-Wreath of Dionysos

SACRED ANIMALS & PLANTS

Dionysos' sacred animals were the panther (leopard), tiger, bull and serpent. The god rode on the back of a panther or drove a chariot drawn by a pair of the beasts.
His sacred plants were the grapevine, ivy, bindweed (prickly ivy) and pine tree. Devotees of the god wore wreaths of ivy and carried pine-cone tipped staffs.

Below are examples of the god's animals as depicted in ancient Greek art and photos of his sacred plants:-

1. Panther; 2. Grapevine; 3. Ivy; 4. Bindweed; 5. Pine tree.

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