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A picture showing the legend of DIONYSUS taken from our Greek mythology archives. Illustration by Chas Saunders. Read the story below or search the index for more Greek Gods, Greek Goddesses, heroes, demons and monsters!

God of Sex, Wine and Intoxication. Not necessarily in that order

There are conflicting accounts of his genealogy and conception. The Gods involved were probably too drunk at the time to remember. But although ZEUS may have had a one-night stand with PERSEPHONE, we plump for ZEUS and SEMELE — on the assumption there is no smoke without fire.

Why else would HERA, the jealous wife of ZEUS, arrange SEMELE's death by insisting he appear before her in all his robes of radiant glory? It was too much for SEMELE who sizzled away to a cinder, leaving an unborn baby to bounce around in a Godly game of 'pass the parcel'.

The bouncing baby got slipped to ZEUS who, full of remorse and guilt, popped it into his thigh. Gods are way ahead of any modern surgery. When it was born he called it DIONYSUS. HERA called it something else and sent some babysitting TITANS to tear the baby to bits and eat it.

RHEA, bless her, managed to save the bits. DIONYSUS, disguised as a girl, was whisked off to be brought up in secrecy by Auntie INO and Uncle ATHAMAS. Not the best of step-parents.

HERA discovered the plot, turned DIONYSUS into a ram and gave him as a plaything to a band of nymphs. If you think you have troubles, consider being born twice with a dadly birth, not knowing what sex you are, and then suddenly finding you have four legs, horns and an undetachable woolly coat.

DIONYSUS had many wild and woolly adventures until his Godly status became apparent. He put in for a God grant and was given a more befitting body — and a tutor.

The tutor turned out to be a fat boozy, bald old buffer called SILENUS. They got on very well together, and under tuition DIONYSUS made two exciting discoveries. 1) How to make wine. 2) How to make orgasms which could drive you to the brink of madness.

These new ideas brought him an enormous cult following of wild young females (the MAENADS), not to mention his ever-attendant nymphomaniac NYMPHS. DIONYSUS was a real whiz with women, and set up a special 18-30s Club for them on Mount Cithaeron. At some point he got involved with a Cretan princess named ARIADNE, but they drifted apart when she turned into a constellation.

The next few years were spent in hard drinking, and driving excited females into a frenzy. This drinking and driving got him into a lot of trouble with the authorities. News on the grapevine warned of police raids and arrests, and even DIONYSUS realized it was time to stagger off to start afresh.

So he fled the place, pursued by jealous husbands of the MAENADS, and headed for Rome. Wishing to be unknown, he changed his name to LIBER for a bit and laid low until he emerged as BACCHUS.

With the Bacchae Backup Band recruiting the gang from his former Mad MAENADS, he made a big attempt to be more user-friendly. The orgy-making was a popular as ever, but by now, with all the debauchery and gluttony, DIONYSUS was starting to look more like the middle-aged and balding boozer SILENUS.

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Article last updated on 25 February 2013
Authors: Peter J Allen and Chas Saunders
References: Coming soon.

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Godchecker's article on Dionysus is based on material from ancient texts, original references and our own research. We strive for accuracy and update regularly with new information. If you spot a mistake please contact us and we'll try to fix it.

Suggested further reading...
Location : Ancient Greece
Gender : Male
Type : Deity
Celebration or Feast Day : Unknown at present
Pronunciation : Coming soon
Popularity index : 2684

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