Explore mythology and art with information about the classic stories of heroes and gods...from the myths of ancient Greece and Rome, to the legends of the Celts. Mythography presents resources and reference materials about mythology - including recommended books, and lexicons that explain Greek, Roman, and Celtic terms.

Gardner's Art Through the Ages

This book is the classic reference for the study of art. It features a history of artists and their works, as well as lucid and engaging descriptions of the styles and periods of art history. Highly recommended for both students and scholars.

Aphrodite in Art
Aphrodite in Myth
Art Themes

home | greek | gods | olympians | Dionysos

Dionysos at a Glance

name | Dionysos (DionusoV)

role | god of wine, mysteries, and the theatre

symbols | grape vine, ivy, thyrsos, panther

Dionysos in Greek Mythology
Countless books and articles have been written about the Greek god Dionysos (also spelled Dionysus). Many of these works come to the same conclusion - Dionysos is an atypical Greek deity. While the Olympian gods are bright beings of sunlight, Dionysos is a creature of mystery, his very essence an enigma. His realm is shadowy, and his followers flirt with madness, drunkenness, and death. He is the patron deity of the Maenads (or Bacchantes), those wild women who roamed the lofty peaks shouting "evoi, evoi" and were said to tear living animals apart in their trance of divine possession. He is the god who brings wine, but also an intoxication that merges the drinker with the deity. And, perhaps most significantly, his connection with a certain type of cult activity, known as a "mystery", separates him from his fellow Olympians (with the exception of the goddess Demeter, who inspired her own mystery cult).

It is through these mystery cults, the secrets of which were so well guarded that we know but a few essential details, that we come into contact with a unique characteristic of Dionysos; for according to the legends of one the cults, the god himself dies. That a god should die seems an oxymoron - by definition, a deity is immortal. And yet some of his followers believed that he was slain, and then reborn. Something which is unthinkable in the case of other Greek deities. So the path to understanding Dionysos is divergent from the one that leads to knowledge of the rest of the Olympian gods. It is a road that includes many unexpected tangents and seemingly incomprehensible signs, but which, if travelled with an open mind, leads to a most fulfilling destination.

Legends of Dionysos

Dionysos in Art History
Gallery | For pictures and information about Dionysos in art, visit the Mythography gallery!

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And I know how to lead off the sprightly dance of the Lord Dionysos, the dithyramb. I do it thunderstruck with wine.

- Archilochus

Who's Who in Classical Mythology

This book is a great source for information about Greek and Roman mythology! Organized alphabetically, this who's who features information about over 1200 of the most intriguing characters from Classical myth and legend. And there is a comprehensive entry on Dionysos.