Dionysus

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Dionysus play /daɪ.əˈnaɪsəs/ dy-ə-ny-səs (Ancient Greek: Διόνυσος, Dionysos) was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name inLinear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete.[2] His origins are uncertain, and his cultstook many forms; some are described by ancient sources as Thracian, others as Greek.[3][4][5] In some cults, he arrives from the east, as an Asiatic foreigner; in others, from Ethiopia in the South. Heis a god of epiphany, "the god that comes", and his "foreignness" as an arriving outsider-god may be inherent and essential to his cults. He is a major, popular figure of Greek mythology and religion,and is included in some lists of the twelve Olympians. His festivals were the driving force behind the development of Greek theater. He is an example of a dying god.[6][7]

The earliest cult imagesof Dionysus show a mature male, bearded and robed. He holds a fennel staff, tipped with a pine-cone and known as a thyrsus. Later images show him as a beardless, sensuous, naked or half-nakedandrogynous youth: the literature describes him as womanly or "man-womanish".[8] In its fully developed form, his central cult imagery shows his triumphant, disorderly arrival or return, as if from someplace beyond the borders of the known and civilized. His procession (thiasus) is made up of wild female followers (maenads) and ithyphallic, bearded satyrs. Some are armed with the thyrsus, some dance orplay music. The god himself is drawn in a chariot, usually by exotic beasts such as lions or tigers, and is sometimes attended by a bearded, drunken Silenus. This procession is presumed to be the cultmodel for the human followers of his Dionysian Mysteries. In his Thracian mysteries, he wears the bassaris or fox-skin, symbolizing a new life. Dionysus is represented by city religions as the...
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