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DIONYSUS

Real Name: Dionysus

Occupation: Bartender, Wine Raconteur, God of wine, vineyards and revelry

Legal Status: Citizen of Olympus

Identity: The general populace of Earth is unaware of Dionysus except as a mythological character.

Other Aliases: Bacchus, Iacchus (Roman names), Fufluns (Etruscan name), Diounsis (Thracian name), Liber, Zagreus, Sabezius

Place of Birth: Thebes, Greece

Marital Status: Widowed

Known Relatives: Zeus (father), Semele (mother, alias Thyone), Poseidon, Hades, Chiron (uncles), Hera, Demeter, Hestia (aunts), Plute, Ino, Agave, Autonoe (aunts, deceased), Hercules, Apollo, Ares, Hephaestus, Hermes (half-brothers), Athena, Aphrodite, Artemis, Persephone, Eileithyia, Discord, Hebe, Cybele (half-sisters), Ariadne (wife, deceased), Staphylus, Thoas, Oenopion, Phanus, Peparethus, Ceramus (sons, deceased), Pan, Janus, Asclepius, Cupid, Deimos, Phobos (nephews), Triton, Arion, Despoena (cousins), Actaeon, Pentheus, Melicertes (cousins, deceased), Cadmus (maternal grandfather, deceased), Harmonia (niece/maternal grandmother) 

Group Affiliation: The Gods of Olympus, Leader of the Bacchae (Maenads)

Base of Operations: Olympus, formerly mobile, formerly Mount Nysa on Crete (now part of modern Greece)

First Appearance: Thor I #129

History: Dionysus is the son of Zeus, King of the Olympian gods, and Semele, a princess of Thebes from the 14th Century BC. According to older accounts, he is also the reincarnation of Zagreus, a son of Zeus and Hecate, who Hera, the Queen of the Olympian Gods, hated so much that she flung him into the underworld to be torn apart by the Titans, eternal enemies of the Olympians. Zeus managed to save his sonís heart and created a brew from it, which he shared with Semele. Semele had become pregnant while she was romanced by Zeus and her son Dionysus was supposed to be Zagreus restored to life.

Hera, however, jealously hated all of Zeusís extra-marital affairs and learned that Semele was pregnant. Impersonated Beroe, Semeleís nurse, she managed to place enough doubt in her mind that Zeus was not the god he said he was. She confronted him with this doubt and refused to believe he was a god until he promised to reveal his godly power to him. Zeus relented because he had sworn by the waters of the Styx and had to honor his vow; he channeled a small fraction of his powers, but the impact of his presence resulted in Semele being consumed by flames in his presence. Zeus took his unborn son from her burning body and delivered his frail form to his former nurses, the Hyades on Crete, to be nursed to full health. Afterward, the god Hermes delivered the infant Dionysus to Semeleís sister, Ino, wife of King Athamas of Orchomenus to be raised. Ino accepted Dionysus and even raised him as a girl to conceal him from Hera. As he grew up, Dionysus remained grateful to Ino and helped to rid her of her stepchildren, Phrixus and Helle.

As an adult, Dionysus continued showing great compassion and generosity to others around him. Gathering a group of followers, he even showed kindness to pirates who kidnapped him from the beach near Thebes as he slept. When they jumped into the sea in fear of his powers, he transformed them to dolphins so that they wouldnít drown. Hera eventually discovered he was alive and cursed him with madness. Dionysus as a result used his godly gifts to give his donkey a human voice to keep him company.

In Phrygia, Dionysus was cured by the goddess Cybele who being a daughter of Zeus turned out to be his half-sister, and ancestor to the kings of Phrygia, which became a center of his worship afterward. Dionysus eventually became a close ally of of her descendants in the House of Gordius, particularly King Midas in the Seventh Century BC who became endowed with a Golden Touch. Dionysus also traveled as far south as India where he encountered the Vedic wine-god Soma for the first time. 

Upon returning to Thebes, Dionysus was received by his Cousin Pentheus, King of Thebes, who refused to offer worship rites to him and instead imprisoned Dionysus and his followers. His aunts Ino, Agave and Autonoe likewise refused to recognize him as a god and Dionysus placed curses upon all of them due to their lack of hospitality in his presence. Autonoe's son, Actaeon, was ripped apart by wild dogs for spying on the goddess Artemis as she bathed in a lake near Mount Cithaeron. Agave and Autonoe in their madness attacked and killed Pentheus and Ino leapt into the sea carrying her infant son Melicertes with her. Dionysus however had pity on his old nurse and restored her to life as the sea-spirit Leucothea. Polydorus, uncle of Dionysus and Pentheus, took the throne and ended the madness on the family by establishing Thebes as the principal center of of Dionysus's worship. Dionysus later attended the funeral of old King Cadmus, his grandfather and the founder of Thebes, and sent his spirit to a peaceful afterlife in the Elysian Fields.

Dionysus also similarly cursed the daughters of King Proetus of Tiryns for refusing to recognize him, but they were cured by the seer Melampus who upon inheriting Tiryns also made Dionysus one of its patron gods. While deciding to meet his half-brother Perseus, Dionysus and his growing band of followers were mistaken as a group of invaders on Mycenae and Perseus attacked them with his armies. Dionysus later forgave him for the error and stayed as his guest for several years.

Once having established his role as a god, Dionysus was invited into Olympus by Hestia, the goddess of the hearth, who offered him her role in the main Olympian council. Having gained his peace with the world, he forgave Hera for the atrocities done to him in his youth and secretly rescued his mother from the underworld as the goddess Thyone. When Hephaestus imprisoned Hera in a trap for misfortunes done to him, Dionysus introduced Hephaestus to wine and made him intoxicated enough to release and forgive her himself.

While on Olympus, Dionysus was approached as a potential lover by Aphrodite and she gave birth to his son Priapus. He meanwhile had fell in love with Ariadne, a Cretan Princess, and had arranged to marry her through an arrangement with her father. Ariadne, however, had fallen in love with the hero Theseus and was taken from Crete by him. Dionysus, however, appeared to Theseus on his voyage to Athens and requested that he leave Ariadne in the island of Lemnos.  Theseus honored him and deserted Ariadne to Dionysus on Lemnos. Ariadne and Dionysus lived on Lemnos for several years and had several sons, many of whom claimed islands in the Aegean Sea for their own. After she died, she was buried in Argos. Dionysus meanwhile had several other children out of wedlock.

Although he was not inclined to physical combat, Dionysus fought with the Olympians against the Giants of Olympus and slew the giant Eurytus with his thyrsus. He became an undisputed leader among the satyrs (goat-gods) of Olympus and Earth and lead them to the realm of the Egyptian Gods when Typhon invaded Olympus. Returning after the defeat of the Titan, he didn't seem too concerned with Zeus ordered an end to worship of the Olympian Gods after the Romans began slaughtering Christians on behalf of the Olympians. By now, his followers on earth had underwent considerable modification in their ritual practices and introduced the drinking of wine to replace the drinking of blood in former pagan rites. The drinking of wine was also accepted within the early Roman Catholic Church.

For years afterward, Dionysus was still worshipped under varying names in Thrace and Phyrgia. Freed from godly duties, he traveled the world introducing wine through Gaul and Britain. The Romans who called him Bacchus carried his worship rites into Britain as they subjugated the Britons. Dionysus followed his half-brother, Hercules, in adventures against warring armies and dangerous beasts and was always ready with a flagon of ale to quench Hercules's thirst after he had expended his energies. In later years, Hercules became a founding member of the modern group of heroes called the Champions and later a team member of the Avengers. After Hercules was beaten into a coma by enemies of the Avengers, Dionysus sought revenge for his brother by inducing madness in the She-Hulk, their own team-member, but he was blasted into submission by Photon (then known as Captain Marvel).

Zeus, meanwhile, had the Avengers taken captive and brought to Olympus in trial for their responsibility over Hercules, but found them innocent of the charges. The She Hulk meanwhile had her revenge on Dionysus for manipulating her and knocked him cold. The blow drove Dionysus temporarily insane and he turned on the Olympians using a nuclear warhead stolen from Earth and seducing a mortal named Butcher T. Washington with promises of power. Endowed with godly power, Washington attacked Hercules and upon seeing his half-brother in danger, Dionysus regained his sanity and returned Butcher to normal and rid himself of the warhead. Zeus, however, was not ready to forgive and Dionysus was stripped of his godhood to live as a mortal bartender on Earth for a few months.

Dionysus later regained his godhood to attend a party on Olympus for the Hulk, but neither himself or Apollo could out drink the gamma-irradiated beast. The Olympian gods were eventually attacked by the extra-dimensional Dark Gods impersonating the Asgardian Gods, long-time allies of the the Olympians. Seeking to prevent bloodshed with a gift of wine, Dionysus was violently murdered by an unknown Dark God impersonating the trickster Loki. Subsequently, the true Asgardians conquered the Dark Gods controlling Asgard and Thor came to Zeus's aide against Desak the God-Slayer , thus restoring peaceful relations between the Olympians and Asgardians. Zeus and Odin together restored Dionysus to life.

Despite his allegiance to Olympus, Dionysus still maintains a tavern on Earth while dressed as a mortal as well as owns vineyards in France to finance it for his patrons. Several of his regular patrons regard him as a slightly eccentric bartender with a sense of whimsical wisdom and an friendly ear for dispensing advice.

Height: 5'8"

Weight: 530 lbs.

Eyes: Violet

Hair: Auburn

Strength Level: Dionysus possesses superhuman strength enabling him to lift (press) 35 tons under optimal conditions.

Known Superhuman Powers: Dionysus possesses the conventional physical attributes of the Olympian Gods. Like all Olympians, he is immortal; he has not aged since reaching adulthood and cannot die by any conventional means. He is immune to all terrestrial diseases and is resistant to conventional injury. It would take an injury of such magnitude that it dispersed a major portion of his bodily molecules to cause him a physical death. Even then, it might be possible for a god of sufficient  power, such as Zeus, or for a number of Olympian gods working together to revive her. Dionysus also possesses superhuman strength and his Olympian metabolism provides him with greater than human endurance in all physical activities. (Olympian flesh and bone is about three times as dense as similar human tissue, contributing to the superhuman strength and weight of the Olympians.) 

Dionysus can also tap into and manipulate mystical energies in the universe. He is quite adept at animating vines and certain plants to constrict and ensnare adversaries As such, he can place enchantments in wine and drink to augment certain tastes and emotions such as passion, loyalty or madness. The extent of his curses, however, are often particular to the victim of his choosing depending on that person's motivations, interests or state of mind. Certain victims with repressed hostility can become quite violent while others can engage in feelings of extreme joy to throw themselves into dangerous circumstances. In most cases, this madness resembles the dire effects of intoxication, capable of reverting mortals to their most base emotions or most buried traits.

Dionysus can also travel through dimensional worlds, such as from Earth to Olympus, change and alter his appearance and that of others and conjure fields of energy to levitate himself. He can create psychokinetic effects resembling poltergeist phenomenon and sense mortal emotions of despair and depression and alter them with his enchanted drinks. He is also immune to being intoxicated by mortal wines, but some Olympian drinks can even render him  intoxicated.

Abilities: Dionysus is a very benevolent, beneficent and charismatic figure able to ensure great trust and compliance in others. Despite his size, he is still very adept in physical combat, although he sometimes actually prefers resolving all conflicts with non-violent means.   

Pets: Dionysus sometimes rides upon a tiger which he has sedated with wine out of its natural aggressive nature. In ancient times, he was accompanied by a donkey which he had endowed with human level intelligence and ability of speech, but he later gave it to his son, Priapus.

Paraphernalia: Dionysus carries a long staff entwined with vines and tipped with a pine cone called a thyrsus. He can use it to guide psychokinetic activity or to channel energy through.

CLARIFICATIONS: Dionysus is not to be confused with:

 

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