By Richard Seaford
Covering quite a lot of matters which were neglected long ago, together with secret, cult and philosophy, Richard Seaford explores Dionysos – the most studied figures of the traditional Greek gods.
Popularly often called the god of wine and frenzied abandon, and an influential determine for theatre the place drama originated as a part of the cult of Dionysos, Seaford is going past the mundane and ordinary to discover the background and effect of this god as by no means before.
As a quantity within the well known Gods and Heroes sequence, this can be an indispensible advent to the topic, and a very good reference aspect for higher-level study.
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Extra info for Dionysos (Gods and Heroes of the Ancient World)
THE ANTHESTERIA I mention briefly here various aspects of the Anthesteria that are characteristic of Dionysiac cult generally, and will return to each of them in a subsequent chapter. First, not even slaves or children were excluded from the winedrinking. Wine is communally celebrated not only because its production is communal but also because its transformative effect may, in being enjoyed by all male members of the community, tend to remove barriers between them. It was Dionysos, according to the chorus of Euripides’ Bacchae (421–3), who ‘gave the pain-removing delight of wine equally to the wealthy man and to the lesser man’.
This is not to say that Dionysos mattered only to those who worked on the land. We have seen a rustic Dionysos bringing wine to the aristocratic wedding of Peleus and Thetis, and he was honoured in aristocratic drinking parties. But a feature of Dionysos that may not have appealed to some aristocrats was his inclusiveness, his association with the celebrations of a whole community. DIONYSOS AND THE POLIS In Euripides’ Bacchae it is the polis as a whole to which Dionysos brings his cult (39–40), he will display his divinity ‘to the Thebans’ (48), and 28 KEY THEMES ‘the whole land will dance’ (114).
Source: Munich, Staatl. Antikenslg. & Glyptothek. Photo reproduced by permission of akgimages, London/Erich Lessing. 20 KEY THEMES Dionysos may make his epiphany at his festival not only by entering the city but also as a miraculous spring of wine, with which he may be identiﬁed (Chapter 5). 1–2). The people of Andros, adds Pausanias, say that at their festival of Dionysos wine flows of its own accord from the temple. In a myth about the origin of a festival of Dionysos at Tyre the newly invented wine is described by the god as a ‘spring’ (Chapter 9).