Saturday, 27 September 2008

God of Wine

My first post in the greek mythology series will be dedicated to the God of Wine (because we all love it so much), Dionysus.
Dionysus was also the patron deity of agriculture and theatre, and was often known as "The Liberator", promoting freeing one from one's normal self by means of madness, ecstasy or wine. His Roman parallel was Bacchus, here depicted by Caravaggio:

Dionysus was the son of Zeus and Semele, a human mistress (and the daughter of king Cadmus of Thebes).
When Hera, Zeus' wife, found out about Semele's pregnancy, she decided to befriend her to get to know the real truth and manipulate Semele. Semele indeed confided in Hera, and was fooled into asking Zeus to show himself before her in all his godliness, to prove his status.
Semele begged and begged for Zeus to do this, and when he finally did, draped in thunder and lightning, she died because humans were not meant to see the gods without disguise.
Zeus hurried to rescue Dionysus out of Semele's womb, and sewed him into his own thigh. A few months later Zeus gave birth to Dionysus on the island of Ikaria.

The stories about Dionysus are plenty, so I will just encourage you to read about them here

Apparently he loved traveling, and at one point he went to India and didn't want to leave. Much like us, hehe.

There was also a list of names deriving from Dionysus which I found quite interesting:

Dion, Deon, Deion, d'Eon
Denise (also spelled Denice, Daniesa, Denese, and Denisse)
Dennis, Denis or Denys (including the derivative surnames Denison and Dennison)
Nis (as of the Nordic surname Nissen)
Nils (Nicholas is another origin)
Dénes (Hungarian)
Bacchus (Roman)
Dionisio, Dyonisio (Filipino), Dionigi (Italian)
Διονύσιος, Διονύσης (Dionysios, Dionysis; Modern Greek)
Deniska (diminutive of Russian Denis, itself a derivative of the Greek)



Else said...

Wonderful. This story brought me back to Hector's philosophy classes (he used to talk about Dionysos a lot). Hope you're having nice saturday nights/afternoon. It will be a quiet night here in Bergen. I just read Morgenbladet, made pasta sauce and listened to a play by Ibsen. I am feeling decadent.

Shane said...

yes! it's us! wine stains everywhere and can't bear to leave india! love you guys.