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.