Dionysus: The Greek God of Wine


Dionysus (also known by his Roman name Bacchus) is the Greek god of wine, fertility, and theater. He is also reconized as the god of agriculture. Just like wine, Dionysus has two different sides to him. One of these sides brings joy and divine ecstasy. His other side brings brutality, unthinking, and rage. He has the power to drive a man mad.


Dionysus is the son of the king god Zeus and the mortal women Semele. According to legend, Zeus came to Semele in the middle of the night. Semele knew that she was the lover of a god and she was pleased with that. However, she did not know which god loved her. Soon, word got out and reached the ears of Hera who was Zeus's wife on Mount Olympus, the queen of the gods, and the goddess of marrige and family. She was furious and devised a wicked plan. She came to Semele in the middle of the night and convinced Semele that she should see her love in his true form. Then Hera went to Zeus and made him swear to grant one wish to Semele. Zeus agreed and went to Semle who asked him to show her what he looked like in his true form. Zeus did not want to grant this wish because he knew what would happen. However, he was bound by his word and changed into his magnificent god form. Semele was instantly burned to a crisp by the sight of Zeus's glory. Although Semele was gone, Zeus was able to save Dionysus by stiching him into his thigh untill he was ready to be born. Dionysus's "birth" from the immortal god alone gave him the gift of immortality.


The Greeks worshiped Dionysus every spring when the leaves began to appear on the grape vines. This ceremony was the basis of theater. Most Greek plays were origionally written to be preformed at these ceremonies. All who took part in this festival (actors, writers, and spectators) were considered sacred servants of Dionysus over the duration of the festival. Also, all theaters in Ancient Greece were built to honor the god of theater.

Other Information

Dinysus was one of the few people to bring someone back from the underworld. Though he had never seen Semele, he was concerned for her and longed to meet her. For this reason, he journied to the underworld to find her. He succeeded in this and brought Semele back to Mount Olympus.

Dionysus holding a wine glass