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Dionysus was the Greek god of wine and parties. He is notable among the Greek gods as the only one whose parents were not both gods. He was fathered by Zeus to the mortal Semele, and when Semele died, Dionysus was raised by nymphs. He wandered the earth once he grew to manhood, taught men to cultivate grapes and to make wine, and was eventually recognized as a god.

Because of his association with wine, Dionysus is portrayed in two different lights. One is the kind and beneficent personality, who gives gifts as in the story of Kind Midas. His other side drove men mad. His followers, the Maenads, were women who were frenzied with wine and devoured raw whatever wild animals they met. His dual nature represents the dual nature of wine: it makes people happy and warm, but it also makes them drunk.

Biographical similarity with Jesus

Some mythical biographical details of Dionysus resembles accounts of Jesus's life: both were of virgin birth, crucified, resurrected and ascended to heaven. [1] Justin Martyr claimed that the similarity was caused by the Devil:

"For when [the Greeks] tell that [Dionysus] was begotten by [Semele], and when they relate, that being torn in pieces, and having died, he rose again, and ascended to heaven [...] do I not perceive that [the devil] has imitated the prophecy announced by the patriarch Jacob, and recorded by Moses? [2]"


  1. ↑ [1]
  2. ↑ Justin Martyr, β€œThe Devil, since he emulates the truth, has invented fables about Bacchus, Hercules, and Sculapius,” chapter 69 of Dialogue with Trypho. [2]
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