Dionysus Essay, Research Paper
Dionysus, also known by his Roman name Bacchus, which he appears to have two different origins. Dionysus was the god of wine, agriculture and fertility of nature, but on the other hand he also represents the mystery in religions. Scholars believe that this god came about later in pre-history, unlike other gods. Almost all barbarian nations had their own versions of Dionysus under many names such as, Bacchus, Zagreus, Sabazius, Adonis, Antheus, Zalmoxis, Pentheus, Pan, Liber Pater, or simply ?the liberator.? His symbol was the thyrsus, (which is a staff tipped with a pinecone, sometimes with ivy leaves)
Dionysus was born of fire, he was good and gentle to those who honored him, but he also brought madness and destruction to those who ignored him or the rituals of his cult. ?One day, Zeus was traveling on Earth. He wore a disguise; because undisguised no mortal could look at him and live. He came to Thebes, and Ancient City of Greece where he fell in love with Semele, the daughter of King Cadmus.
Their love was immense, and before they knew she became pregnant.
Semele wanted nothing else but to look into the eyes of her true love. Her nurse, who happened to be the disloyal Hera in disguise, influenced her cruelly. Semele could not stand it any longer and finally, she asked Zeus to give her a good fortune. He was deeply in love with the young women and did anything she pleased. He swore an unbreakable promise on the river Styx that she could have anything she wished for.
Meaning no harm, Semele asked to see the god of thunderbolt, Zeus was frightened. He knew that this would mean her guaranteed death. ?NO? he cried in torment. ?Anything but that. You do not know what you?re asking for.? She insisted and Zeus miserably kept his word and granted her wish. As he reveled his burning appearance, the unlucky Semele was almost completely destroyed by the fire, except her womb, which she had wrapped with some ivy. Zeus was angry, he quickly took the fetus from the womb, cut open his own thigh, and put the child into it.
The child continued to grow in Zeus?s thigh, when development in the womb was complete, Zeus gave birth to the baby, Dionysus. The child of fire had been born with a brand new force to be discovered. The gods from earth were trembling with fear. They tore the baby into pieces and boiled him for good. They weren?t going to have anything like this coming into the world!
But Dionysus would not stay dead. A tree, symbol of fertility, grew from the earth where a drop of his blood had fallen; and Zeus?s mother Rhea, made Dionysus live once again. This way he was born three times, once from his mother?s womb, once from his fathers thigh and once from earth. As the story continues, Hera saw Dionysus invent winemaking and at last recognized her son. Full of hate she cursed him with madness. Dionysus began to travel around the world, spreading the art of winemaking and his own worship. He was the only deity who could travel from nation after nation and become truly an international savior god. Eventually Rhea cured Dionysus of his madness and wherever he went he invited people to join in his celebrations. One thing did become very clear: those who chose to worship experienced divine ecstasy. Those who were against him chose madness.