Dionysus

Dionysus

Winter squalls are drained out of the sky. The violet season of flowering spring smiles. The black earth glitters under green lawns. Swelling plants pop open with tiny petals. Meadows laugh and suck the morning dew, while the rose unfolds.
The shepherd in the hills happily blows the top notes of his pipe. The gathered gloats over his white kids. Sailors race across the thrashing waves. Their canvas full of the harmless breeze. Drinkers acclaim the grape-giver
Dionysus, capping their hair with flowering ivy. (Bernard).
Dionysus, in Greek mythology is a god of wine and vegetation, who showed mortals how to cultivate grapevines and make wine. “He was good and gentle to those who honored him, but he brought madness and destruction upon those who spurned him or the orgiastic rituals of his cult” (Wendell 23)
The yearly rites in honor of the resurrection of Dionysus gradually evolved into the structured form of the Greek drama, and important festivals were held in honor of the god, during which great dramatic competitions were conducted. The most important festival, the Greater Dionysia, was held in Athens for five days each spring. It was for this celebration that the Greek dramatists Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides wrote their great tragedies. Also, after the 5th century BC, Dionysus was known to the Greeks as Bacchus.
Dionysus is the son of Zeus and Semele. He is the only god to have a mortal parent. The birth of Dionysus began when Zeus came to Semele in the night, invisible, felt only as a divine presence. Semele was pleased to be a lover of a god, even though she did not know which one. Word soon got around and Hera quickly assumed who was responsible. Hera went to Semele in disguise and convinced her that she should see her lover as he really was. When Zeus visited her again, she made him promise to grant her one wish. She went so far as to make him swear on the River Syx that he would grant her request. Zeus, was madly in love and agreed. She then asked him to show her his true form. Zeus, was unhappy, and knew what would happen, but having sworn he had no choice. He appeared in his true form and Semel was instantly burn to a crisp by the sight of his glory. Zeus did manage to rescue Dionysus, and stitched him into his thigh to hold him until he was ready to be born. Dionysus’ birth from Zeus alone conferred immortality upon him. But Dionysus’ problem with Hera were not yet over. She was still jealous, and arranged for the Titans to kill him. The Titans ripped him into a pieces. But luckily, Rhea brought him back to life. After this, Zeus arranged for his protection and turned him over the mountain nymphs to be raised.
Once Dionysus had grown to a manhood he decided to wander far and wide, including areas outside of Greece. He raveled everywhere to preach the culture of the vine. It was accepted most everywhere but his own country. He wandered around Asia, accompanied by a wild group of Satyrs and Maenads, involving himself in bizarre events. For example, he flayed alive the king of Damascus, and chased the Amazons to Ephesus where some of them took refuge in the Temple of Artemis. Next, Dionysus returned to Europe, and his grandmother Rhea purified him of the murders he had committed during his madness and initiated him in her Mysteries. He then visited Thebes, and there invited women to join his revels. Pentheus, king of Thebes, arrested him and all his Maenads, but went mad and locked up a bull instead of the god. The Maenads escaped and went raging up in the mountains. Pentheus tried to stop the frenzy, but wild with religious ecstasy and wine they tore Pentheus limb from limb. Finally, having established his worship, Dionysus ascended to heaven and joined Zeus and the other Olympians.
“Dionysus is also one of the very few that was able to bring a dead person out of the underworld. Even though he had never seen Semele he was concerned for her” (Bremmer 15). Eventually, he journeyed into the underworld to find her. He faced down Thanatos and brought