As a Greek God, Dionysus had many different purposes and features. Dionysus had many unique traits which made him very interesting among Greek Gods. Since his presence was felt in many areas of Greek civilization, he was very important among the Greeks. Dionysus was largely known as the party god who rose from a tough childhood.
Dionysus was Born from a Father
Dionysus is the son of Zeus. When Semele was pregnant with Dionysus, Semele looked at the true form of Zeus and died after being consumed by the heat of lightning bolts that were a part of Zeus. Zeus rescued the unborn Dionysis and sewed him into his thigh. When Dionysus was born, it was not from a woman, but from Zeus’ thigh. Although there are several different stories of Dionysus’ birth, everyone agrees that Dionysus was born directly from Zeus and was born twice. Dionysus was the only Olympian who had a flesh-and-blood mother.
Dionysus was Raised on Mount Nysa
Dionysus’ first mother was Princess Semele, who was not married to Zeus when Dionysus was conceived. This made Zeus’ wife extremely angry, and she resented Dionysus. Once Dionysus was born, he had to be hidden from Zeus’ wife to avoid her anger and so she would not harm him. Dionysus’ aunts fled their own husbands and children so that they could raise Dionysus on Mount Nysa. Dionysus also had a teacher on Mount Nysa who was named Seilenos. Different writers have given different locations for where Mount Nysa was. The later writers have placed Mount Nysa somewhere far to the east of Greece.
Dionysus is the God of Wine
Greeks liked to drink their wine and lots of it. This made Dionysus one of the more popular Greek Gods. Dionysus discovered wine and, in turn, taught people how to grow grapes and make wine. Some accounts have Dionysus discovering wine after his infancy. Dionysus made his own winepress and made the first ever batch of wine. Dionysus can be thought of as the “good-time God” since his name goes together with many rituals that the Greeks enjoyed. When the ancient Greeks were drinking wine, they were likely raising a glass to Dionysus. According to the Greeks, Dionysus’ favor made many regions of Greece into winemaking regions. Dionysus taught people how to make wine and gave many people the power to turn things into wine. If you were on Dionysus’ good side, you did not need to go to a winemaking class or hire a party planner for any gathering that you were hosting. The Greeks believed that Dionysus had that all covered.
Dionysus Liked People
Many of the Greek Gods were thought to be hostile towards humans, and Greeks were downright afraid of them. This was not the case with Dionysus, who was different since he was benevolent. Dionysus brought joy and happiness to those he encountered. Greeks thought of Dionysus at happy occasions. In addition, he was also thought to be helpful in fertility. Dionysus was thought to secure the well-being and happiness of mankind. Even though Dionysus had a difficult childhood, he was thought to be a caring God. Dionysus was lighthearted and liked to joke with people. He was also known for always helping those in need.
Dionysus Had Great Hair
Ancient descriptions of Dionysus portray him as having locks of golden curls. On top of this marvelous head of hair was a horn that you would see on a bull. Dionysus did not need any hairspray or conditioners to get his hair looking like it did. Topping that all off was a crown of snakes given to him by his father Zeus. Dionysus had long and curly hair that flowed out of the crown and to his shoulders. Other portrayals of Dionysus have him with red hair and a crown of ivy.
Dionysus Had Two Names
Dionysus was also known as Bacchus in Roman Mythology. This word later became associated with wild parties. Festivities seemed to follow Dionysus wherever he went. These days, Dionysus seems to be the inspiration behind many wild gatherings. Since Greeks loved to drink and party, they loved Dionysus.
Dionysus Hated His Sister
Among Dionysus’ many siblings was a sister named Athena. Apparently, Dionysus had some sibling rivalry with this sister. Athena was symbolized by an owl. Since Dionysus did not like his sister, it followed that he hated owls. Dionysus and his sister could not have been more different. Dionysus was born from his father’s thigh and Athena came from his head. Athena was the goddess of war. This is the exact opposite of her brother who was the god of good times and parties. It is only natural that there be tension between the brother and sister since they stood for things that are completely different.
The Women Loved Dionysus
In Greek mythology, Dionysus is reported to have had many lovers in his time. His primary relationship was with Aphrodite, who was the goddess of love. Dionysus was also known to be involved with Nyx, the goddess of the night. Dionysus and Aphrodite had a son named Priapus. Greek mythology linked Dionysus with as many as seven other women including his wife Ariadne. Apparently, Dionysus took after his father Zeus in this area.
Do Not Make Dionysus Angry
While Dionysus loved a good time and was available to those who liked a wild party, you did not want to get on Dionysus’ bad side. Dionysus was known to bring his wrath on those who cursed him or his family. Several opponents had sons who suffered horrifying deaths because they had insulted Dionysus. One time, some princesses had called Dionysus a false god. In punishment, Dionysus turned them into bats.
When three of King Proitos’ daughters would not join one of Dionysus’ parties, he struck them with madness so severe that they wandered the hillsides like wild animals. With Dionysus, there were limits to the good times and punishments for those who either denied his godliness or would not participate in the fun.