Dionysos is known as Bacchus in ancient Rome, and he is the God of fertility, wine, madness, and theater. Many say that Dionysus represents emotions, chaos, and disorder. He was in charge of teaching humans how to cultivate grapevines and produce wine. According to his cult, Dionysus would die each winter and resurrect each spring, along with the fruits of the earth.
Because of that, he is known as the protector of agriculture. He used to be good and kind to those who worshiped him but would frequently turn insane to those who rejected him. It is believed that his name “Bacchus” originated from the screams that this God used to be worshiped with at parties organized in his name, known as bacchanals. At first, only women would participate in these parties, dancing, drinking, and talking about their secrets. Later on, men were allowed to participate, too, thus increasing their popularity.
Due to the evil that resulted from these parties, the Roman senate forbade them in 186 B.C. But despite that, it is believed that bacchanals kept being celebrated for a long time. Dionysus is the son of Zeus and the mortal Semele, daughter of Cadmus, king of Thebes. When Semele was pregnant with Dionysus, Zeus’ wife, Zeus learned about that infidelity and exploded in rage! As revenge, she disguised herself as an old lady and convinced Semele that the man going after her was not the real Zeus but an impostor. If you want to read books on Dionysos, follow me.
3 Books About Dionysos
Dionysus’ story says that he was the son of Zeus and Persephone, the queen of the Greek underworld. Once again, Hera’s jealousy made her try to kill baby Dionysus, this time around sending the titans to do it. It is said that they tricked baby Dionysus with toys to devour him. Dionysus became a very followed god after his rebirth.
The Dionysos cult profoundly affected the human condition, socially and culturally, and his intimate connection with mysticism both influenced and strengthened his effect on the developing world. Now I’m going to review 3 popular books about Dionysos. Let’s go!
1. Dionysos Exciter to Frenzy: A study of the God Dionysos
There is not a lot of artwork, however, in this novel. But in this book, a couple of pages of hand-drawn pictures of Dionysos. There’s a large amount devoted to the cathartic side of Dionysos. This book details his role in ancient Greece regarding how society viewed him, how his views, and how people viewed God have evolved throughout the time. Also, it discusses how Dionysos was singing as a God for the outsider. It talks a little bit about the rituals.
It gives you information about what they did for certain days, which will help you make your own to recreate what is told in this book. Also, it is well researched, and you can make a ritual out of what you read. One part of the book that I thought was interesting was talking about Dionyso’s role in the city of Delfi and how Apollo came to become the patron god of that city.
The book talks about how we all know the story of Apollo versus the python, how he conquered the python. They’re saying in this book that it could be possible that the python was a symbol for Dionysos. Apollo destroying the python was a reference to how Apollo became the patron God of the city, Adelphi, and overtook the throne. There are many more exciting theories here that sum themselves up very well in conclusion. It is one of the best books on Dionysos, I have ever read.
Author: Vikki Bramshaw
Average Customer Review: (4.6 out of 5, on Amazon)
Category: General History of Religion, Paganism, History of Religions
Available: Paperback | Kindle
The ancient scholar Euripides wrote this book. He described the classic Greek culture with the god Dionysus. The Bacchae were followers of the Greek god Dionysus, an entourage of women that threw wild parties for the god. Their devotion to Dionysus is implied in their name, drawn from the god’s title Bacchus. In the Greek myths, these Bacchae were at once bringers of joy and festivity. But they were also capable of terrible acts of violence, tearing apart live animals limb from limb and sometimes even human beings.
Dionysus was a very old nature God from the Greek world, a God of vegetation and fertility. Scholars used to think that he was a foreign god from the East. But this view was exploded when God’s name was found on Greek tablets from the Bronze Age. This meant that Dionysus was a very old Greek god indeed, and he would come to be celebrated in many Greek cities with great enthusiasm. In Athens, there was an old spring festival to Dionysus called the ‘Anthesteria,’ where people would get very drunk on freshly opened wine.
These festivities were key to shaping the identity of Dionysus: as a Greek god of the vine, he was linked not just to wine but also the feeling of intoxication in general. Modern examples of this are not hard to find. When people dance at raves, this is very much in the domain of Dionysus. He was the God of madness and ecstasy. It leads us to the Bacchae, who would throw their real-life parties to Dionysus.
Across the Greek world, these small bands of female worshippers would take to the mountains every two years, and there they would dance furiously to the beat of the kettle drum, losing themselves in the music. They sing ritual songs in these celebrations, sometimes parodied in Greek poetry.
In antiquity, not every Greek approved of these wild Dionysus parties. Over time, this disapproval led to some fascinating myths, where Greeks refused to worship the God of madness. But every time, the moral of the story is clear: like Dionysus or not, one should not mess with his cult resistance is futile. As one scholar warned us long ago, though, these tales should not be taken as information about the real-life Bacchae in history.
There’s no evidence that the real women ever got up to such shocking, horrible deeds. In these stories, Dionysus is made to be a stranger from the east of the Greek world, knocking on the doors of cities to introduce his cult. Perhaps these dark stories were popular in Greek tragedy, but only one play on the Bacchae survives today. It is called the Bacchae by Euripides and was one of his final plays.
Average Customer Review: (4.6 out of 5, on Amazon)
Category: Ancient & Classical Dramas & Plays, English Literature
Available: Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Mass Market Paperback
3. Dionysus: Myth and Cult
The story goes that Dionysus arrived at Thebes with his eastern worshippers to introduce his rites into the city, disguising himself as their cult leader. But young Pentheus resisted the cult, believing them to be many lunatics that were up to no good in their secret parties on the mountains. It led Pentheus to have the Stranger and the Theban women arrested. But the tyrant had underestimated the powers of Dionysus through his miracles. The women escaped and returned to the mountains to celebrate once again.
Dionysus punished women who refused to become Bacchae to destroy their children, like Medea. In other tales, men who disrespected the cult could risk being destroyed by the minions of Dionysus, as the unfortunate Orpheus would soon discover.
Drawing on this weakness, the mysterious cult leader persuaded Pentheus to spy on the women during their mountain celebrations. So soon enough, the tyrant would disguise himself as a woman, spy on the worshippers, and learn some forbidden knowledge about this secret cult.
Author: Walter F. Otto
Average Customer Review: (4.3 out of 5, on Amazon)
Category: History of New Age & Mythology, Ancient Greek History
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle
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