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Dionysus

Related: alcohol - ecstasy - emotion - excess - god - hedonism - irrational - pleasure - sensation - transgression - wild

Compare: Dionysian and Appolonian - Appolo - reason

A pocket history of Dionysian hedonism might include jazz during its early years, disco in the 1970s and house music in the 1980s.

Bacchus (c. 1596) - Caravaggio
Bacchus (in ancient Greece known as Dionysus), is the god of wine.

Definition

Dionysus (or Dionysos; also known as Bacchus in Roman mythology and associated with the Italic Liber), the Greek god of wine, represents not only the intoxicating power of wine, but also its social and beneficent influences. He is viewed as the promoter of civilization, a lawgiver, and lover of peace as well as the patron deity of both agriculture and the theater.

Within the Olympian tradition, Dionysus is made to be the son of Zeus and Semele; other versions of the story contend that he is the son of Zeus and Persephone. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dionysus [Dec 2004]

Greek theatre and Dionysus

Dionysus was often seen as the god of everything uncivilized, of the innate wildness of humanity that the Athenians had tried to control. The Dionysia was probably a time to let out their inhibitions through highly emotional tragedies or irreverent comedies. During the pompe there was also an element of role-reversal - lower-class citizens could mock and jeer the upper classes, or women could insult their male relatives. This was known as aischrologia or tothasmos, a concept also found in the Eleusinian Mysteries.

The plays themselves could highlight ideas that would not normally be spoken or shared in everyday life. Aeschylus' The Persians, for example, while patriotic to Athens, showed sympathy towards the Persians, which may have been politically unwise under normal circumstances. The parodies of Aristophanes mocked the politicians and other celebrities of Athens, even going so far as producing an anti-war play (Lysistrata) at the height of the Peloponnesian War. The circumstances of the Dionysia allowed him to get away with criticisms he would not normally be allowed to voice. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dionysia#Significance [Dec 2004]

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