Dionysos (Bacchus), The Myth,
Dionysos the God of wine and vine, happy life and
merry-making was probably the most popular God of ancient Greeks. There
are many fantastic stories about his birth and his life. His father was
Zeus and his mother mortal Princess of Thebes, Semele.
As soon as Hera found out about Zeus infidelity' she
appeared in front of Semele, transformed as an old lady and advised her to ask
Zeus for the favour - to appear in his whole glory and majesty. Credulous
Semele forced Zeus to swear that he was going to do everything she wished.
Forced by his oath Zeus appeared in front of her among his lightnings and
thunder bolds. Unlucky Semele fell down dead.
Zeus rescued their unborn child from her body and put
him in his thigh for three months to complete the cycle. When the time
came, the baby Dionysos was born from his father's leg and Zeus asked Hermes to
take care of him, as he was still afraid of Hera's jealousy.
Hermes took the baby to the Nymphs who raised him and
became his companions. Dionysos started to wonder in the forests.
His head was crowned with a wreath of ivy and vine leaves and the Nymphs
followed him singing and dancing.
Wherever Dionysos passed magnificent and extraordinary things happened. Wine springs appeared from the earth and the rocks. Instead of water the rivers offered milk and honey. His sacred plants were the vine, the ivy, the oak tree, the walnut tree, the fig tree, the rose and the asphodel. Dionysos is the God of delight. He reigns in feasts among flower wreaths. He enlivens the joyful dances with the sounds of his flute; he provokes mad laughter and turns away black thoughts. His nectar on the table of the Gods increases their happiness and mortals find forgetfulness in his blissful cup of wine.
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