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Dionysus
Dionysus
Parents Zeus and Semele
Siblings
Immortal children
  • Gelos (god of laughter)
Mortal children
Wife/husband Ariadne
Names Lord of theatre and vegetation
Titles God of wine, madness, intoxication, ecstacy
Weapons Thyrsus, madness

Dionysus was the god of wine, intoxication, vegetation and madness. He became an Olympian when Hestia gave over her throne to him.

History

Dionysus was often called the 'twice born' because of the two myths around his birth. The most common is that his mother was a mortal woman named Semele, who was a daughter of the King of Thebes, and his father was Zeus. This makes him the only Olympian to have a mortal parent, and according to some traditions the only one to have been born a demigod. As with most of Zeus' acts of infidelity, Hera became jealous when she found out that Semele was pregnant with Zeus' child. She disguised herself as a nurse (or old crone in some stories) and made Semele begin to doubt that it was truly Zeus. While in disguise; Hera convinced Semele to ask Zeus to reveal his true form and, to make sure that he would do it, to swear on the River Styx, which is sacred to the Greek Gods and an unbreakable oath. Zeus tried to get around the promise, but in the end swore on the River Styx, and Semele asked to see his true form. Unable to go back on the promise, he did so, and she was burned to ashes. Zeus managed to save the infant, sewing him into his thigh until he was born a few months later as a full grown baby on Mount Pramnos in Ikaria. He was born a demigod, like Hercules and Perseus.

In his early life Zeus sent Dionysus off with Hermes.There are two versions of the story. In one version, Hermes took Dionysus to King Athamas and his wife Ino, who was Dionysus' Aunt. Hermes had them raise Dionysus as a girl to hide him from Hera's scorn. The second story is that the boy was taken to the rain nymphs of Nysa. They raised him through infancy and childhood, and in reward for their care, Zeus placed them as the Hyades in the stars. When he grew up, he discovered the vine, and extracted the juice. He was struck with madness by Hera at this point, and ended up wandering various parts of the world. Rhea cured him, and taught him her religious rites, and he wandered through Asia teaching about cultivating the vine.

He was very handsome as a young man, eager for challenges. Dionysus later said he was good at nothing in his human life but cultivating wine. The people in his village mocked him, not knowing of his heritage, his father, or knowing his future, and what he would one day become. Later, when Dionysus was invited to Mount Olympus, it was Hestia who graciously offered him her golden chair to prevent any conflict or embarrassment. Hestia was a goddess known for her warmth and kindness. Dionysus then rescued his mother from Hades, and she became a goddess on Mount Olympus, with the new name Thyone, presiding over the frenzy inspired by her son Dionysus. When Theseus abandoned Ariadne sleeping on Naxos, Dionysus found and married her. When she died, he went to the Underworld and rescued her, taking her up to Mount Olympus, where he made her immortal. He was disguised as a mortal on the seashore once, and a few sailors spotted him. They thought he was a prince, and tried to kidnap him and hold him for ransom or to sell into slavery. They tried to tie his hands behind his back, but no ropes would hold him to the pole. Some ideas are that the material they were made of then was similar to the vines, and would refuse to hold him. At this point Dionysus turned into a lion and let a bear loose on board. It killed those it came in contact with, and those who jumped off the ship were turned into dolphins as an act of mercy. The only one to survive was the helmsman Acoetes, who had recognized him as a god, and tried to stop his comrades from the beginning.

Appearance

Personality

Capabilities

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