God of wine, the master of trouble makers and rebels. Dionysus is perhaps the most important of the nature gods. His legends are great and colorful. It is agreed that Zeus is his father, but it is said, that he has many different mothers. Demeter, queen of the harvest, is included in that list, along with the nymph Lethe. But the tale most known and accepted is that Semele, a mortal, is his mother. She was a Phrygian princess, priestess of the new moon. Zeus made himself invisible and courted her as the night wind. Unfortunately, she wanted to know more about him, since she was bearing his child. She lured him to drop his disguise of the night wind and he appeared to her in his own form. It is said that Zeus has a burning fire within him, some call "lightning". This fire is said to be so powerful, that a mortal, such as Semele, cannot look at Zeus and live. As she lay dying, a victim of her own trap, she gave birth to Dionysus, who was born among the fire. A long time after his birth, it is said that Dionysus has fire in his veins, like his father. Zeus wishing to keep the infant hidden from his jealous wife, Hera, gave him to mountain nymphs to raise. When he was half grown, the young god was tutored by Silenus, a shaggy, little woodland man. He was very mischievous but very wise. It was Silenus who taught Dionysus the secret of the grape and the troublesome enchantment made by its fermented juice. Accompanied by Silenus, he wandered far, visiting all the kingdoms that bordered the ocean. He introduced them to "wine" and it's powerful effects. He soon was followed by many dancing, drunken worshipers. Among them were the many sons of Silenus, born by the worshiping hordes of beautiful, wild women. Dionysus, now sits at the right hand of his father Zeus.
Back to Home Page