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Dionysus Facts

In Greek religion and mythology, Dionysus is regarded as the Greek god of fertility and wine. In several cases, he is also regarded as the patron deity of agriculture and theater. A major figure of Greek mythology, some associated him with the symbolization of libido and gratification. For some he was the inspirer of ritual madness and ecstasy as well. Whether Dionysus was an Olympian or not has been an issue of debate for a long time, but various Dionysus facts indeed make him one of the immortal characters of mythology.

Facts About Dionysus

Greek gods and goddesses have been the subject of fascination for people interested in history since ages, and Greek god of fertility – Dionysus is no exception. In fact, Dionysus makes up one of the most interesting chapters of Greek mythology, and the interesting Dionysus facts given below will tell you exactly why.

Birth

Dionysus was the son of Greek god Zeus, and mortal daughter of king Cadmus, Semele. Zeus in human form had an affair with Semele, from which she became pregnant. When Hera, wife of Zeus, came to know about this affair between Zeus and Semele, she sowed the seeds of doubt in Semele’s mind, and asked her to ascertain the truth about her lover being Greek god Zeus. When Seleme confronted Zeus, he was left with no option but to reveal himself in his true form. Semele was unable to sustain his lightning brightness and was killed by it, but Zeus took the womb from Semele’s body and sewed it inside his thigh where it gestated until Dionysus was born. Owing to this fact, Dionysus is often called “twice born”.

Spouse and Children

Dionysus has been associated with many women in Greek mythology. The prominent among these were Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, beauty and raw sexuality, and Ariadne, the daughter of King Minos of Crete. Dionysus has three children from Aphrodite – Charites, Hymenaios and Priapus. From Ariadne he had four children – Oenopion, Thoas, Staphylos and Peparethus. Dionysus has also been associated with Nyx, Greek goddess of the night who gave birth to Phthonus; Althaea, daughter of King Thestius who gave birth to Deianeira, and Circe, goddess of magic who gave birth to Comus.

Dionysus Symbols and Depiction

The symbols of the Greek god Dionysus include ivy, snake, wine and grapes. Dionysus is most-often depicted as a dark haired young man sporting a full grown beard. Few works of art though, depict him beardless. Usually decorated with ivy, Dionysus is mostly shown wearing chiton, i.e. woolen tunic, or animal skin. Art works depicting Dionysus also feature thyrsus, wine, ivy, theater as well as panthers and leopards in it.

Other Dionysus Myths

The phrase Midas touch is also associated with Dionysus. It is believed that it was Dionysus who rewarded king Midas with the boon that whatever the king touched would turn into gold. But very soon king Midas became weary of his gift and asked Dionysus to revert it. The epic conflict between Dionysus and King Lycurgus of Thrace, wherein the king made Dionysus flee from his kingdom and Dionysus retaliated by sending a drought to Thrace, is also renowned.

Death

Several accounts state Dionysus’ death as one of the most tragic incidents in Greek mythology. He was allegedly killed by tearing his body into pieces. Some accounts state that this was done by the Titans, whereas some suggest that it was done by Hera’s orders. He was one of the life-death-rebirth deity, meaning a god who is born, dies, passes a phase in the underworld and is subsequently born again.

These were some of the important facts about Dionysus – Greek god of wine and fertility. Dionysus was a reverenced figure in regions where agriculture was predominant. People who worshiped him were blessed with good fortunes, on the other hand asking for his ire would mean droughts and famines. Dionysus was associated with several positives as well as negatives, but his personality ensured that he was always in limelight, either for good or for bad reasons.

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