Mythology Essay, Research Paper
This project will focus on the adventures of Dionysus and his
interactions with other people. I will also show what Dionysus
stands for and is depicted by. You will learn about his lifestyle and the
way he affected others? lives. I will explain his family and birth and I
will tell the story of the few who dare to oppose Dionysus.
Dionysus? father was Zeus(Jupiter), king of the gods. Zeus played a
very important role in Greek mythology as he was the father of many
significant gods. He was the ultimate ruler of Heaven and Earth and
had control over meteorological phenomenon.
In most legends, Semele was the mother of Dionysus while Orphic
legends recorded Persephone as being Dionysus? mother. Semele was
the beautiful daughter of Cadmus and Harmonia. Her affair with
Zeus was strictly secret and later caused her death. Hera(Zeus? wife)
found out that they were having an affair and made Zeus kill Semele.
As an adult, Dionysus rescued Semele from the underworld and made
her a goddess known as Thyone.
When Semele died, she was still pregnant with Dionysus in her
womb. Zeus came along and rescued Dionysus from Semele?s ashes
and sewed Dionysus into his hip until he was ready to be born.
Dionysus was mainly recognized as the god of wine. He was
almost always drunk, and he made people happy with his wine.
He traveled around teaching the art of wine making and the
cultivation of the vine. Dionysus was also fairly well known as an
artistic god. Most of the plays and dramas were in his honor. Drama
and poetry both play an important role in the worship of Dionysus.
His symbols were grapes, rams, thyrsus, and serpents. His
domain was vegetation, pleasure, freedom, and civilization. Dionysus
is sometimes referred to as Bacchus and in Roman mythology
Dionysus was known as Liber. Dionysus could make people light-
hearted and happy or he could make them sad and unhappy.
This is a story of which I have found in many different books,
however, only two versions were somewhat different. One version
containing the character of Acetes, and the other without Acetes.
Some pirates saw Dionysus and they assumed by his appearance
that he had rich parents, so they decided to capture and sell him
for ransom. They took Dionysus onto the ship and attempted to bind
him with ropes, however, the ropes broke as soon as they touched
Dionysus. One crew member pleaded to let him go, for the breaking
of the ropes convinced him that Dionysus was a god, but the other
crew members were stubborn and ignored him. The crew members
soon found out that Dionysus was angered when he turned into a lion
and fragrant wine started flowing down the ship?s deck. Soon after,
vines and ivy spread around the ship and the terrified pirates began to
turn into dolphins. One by one they leaped into the sea. END.
A group of pirates see a strong, and healthy young man and they
figure they could make a good profit selling him as a slave in Egypt.
One pirate, by the name of Acetes, urged the other crew members to
sail wherever the visitor(Dionysus) wished. The pirates were greedy
and set sail toward Egypt when all of a sudden lions appear and
crouch at their feet. In the background, sounds of flutes were heard
and each pirate(except for Acetes), gradually transforming into
dolphins, leaped into the water. Dionysus told Acetes to sail toward
the island of Naxos and Acetes eagerly obeyed. It is on the island of
Naxos where Dionysus meets and falls in love with Ariadne.
Dionysus? Romance With Ariadne
After Dionysus was kidnapped by pirates, he was dropped off on
the island of Naxos. While in Naxos, Dionysus met Ariadne who had
been abandoned on the island. He took pity on her and they soon fell
in love. When Ariadne died, Dionysus took the golden crown he had
given her and placed it among the stars. END.
Dionysus met Ariadne on Naxos, he quickly wooed her and won
her over. Soon after, they got married and during the wedding
celebrations Dionysus took Ariadne?s bridal garland and threw it into
the sky where it became a glowing cluster of stars, known as the
Fate of Lycurgus
This short story shows how passive Dionysus could be and it
proves that Dionysus does know people in high places.
While Dionysus was in Thrace, King Lycurgus opposed Dionysus?
worship. Dionysus took this as a great insult but he did not take any
action towards it, however, Zeus was angered and struck Lycurgus
blind, Lycurgus died soon after.
King Midas and his Golden Touch
This is probably the most entertaining of the stories involving
King Midas entertained and looked after poor Silenus, Dionysus?
friend. Dionysus offered a reward to Midas, he allowed Midas to
choose any one wish. Midas? wish was to have anything he touched
turn to gold. Dionysus granted the wish and everything Midas
touched was transformed to gold. This wish soon became a terrible
burden to King Midas. He could not eat because his food would turn
to gold before reaching his mouth. He hugged his daughter and she
turned to gold. Midas, detesting his new ?ability? returned to
Dionysus begging to be delivered from this terrible spell. Dionysus
sent King Midas to the River Pactolus. The river sands turned to gold
but Midas rid himself of the golden touch. Midas dwelt in the country
thereafter, and worshipped the god of fields, Pan.
Dionysus and Nymphs
This story explains a similar phenomenon as the story with
After the death of Dionysus? mother Semele, Dionysus was sent
to live with Semele?s sister. After Dionysus no longer lived with his
aunt, he was raised by Nysaean nymphs. The nymphs nourished and
brought up Dionysus. To show his gratitude, Zeus took the nymphs
and placed them among the stars.
Return of Dionysus? Mother
Dionysus got in a fight with Perseus. Wounded, Dionysus jumped
into Lake Lerna and sank down into the underworld. Zeus called
Dionysus to come back to Olympus. Dionysus took with him his
mother Semele. He put Semele in a palace he had made for her in
high heaven and made her a goddess, known as Thyone. Dionysus,
now back on Mt. Olympus, was given a place as one of the 12 high
gods at Zeus? right hand.
In this project I have attempted to show what kind of person
Dionysus was. He had two completely different sides. He could make
people joyful or he could make them gloomy. He could enrich or ruin
their lives. I also added some interesting stories which explain
phenomenon such as the story of Ariadne and the story of the
nymphs which explain stars in the sky.
Bulfinch, T. (1979). Bulfinch Mythology New Jersey: Crown Publishers.
Hamilton, E. (1942) Mythology Boston: Little, Brown, and Company
Grolier Inc. (1995) Grolier Electronic Encyclopedia 1995