Dionysos (Roman Bacchus)

Detail from a mosaic, 3rd century BC. Pella, Archaeological Museum.Detail from Athenian black-figure clay vase about 575-525 BC, Paris, Cabinet des Médailles 222Detail from Athenian red-figure clay vase about 500-450 BC. Brussels. Bibliothèque Royale 11. Photo. Mus. Méd. 5059e.

The Greek god of wine, child of Semele, but ultimately born from Zeus' thigh. He is associated with ecstatic behaviour not necessarily brought on by drinking, and is shown with vine or ivy wreath and cups. After the 5th century BC he is often represented as a young or effeminate figure (first on the Parthenon). He is attended by Satyrs and Maenads, or his consort Ariadne whom he found on Naxos. Individual adventures include an encounter with pirates, whom he turns into dolphins, his role in the Gods' battle with the Giants, in which he may wield a thyrsos or an enveloping ivy branch, and in the procession leading Hephaistos back to Olympos.

Above left: Detail from a mosaic, 3rd century BC. Pella, Archaeological Museum. © Pella Archaeological Museum Licence Plate 11 UK 1007 136

Above middle: Detail from Athenian black-figure clay vase about 575-525 BC, Paris, Cabinet des Médailles 222 © Cabinet des Médailles

Above right: Detail from Athenian red-figure clay vase about 500-450 BC. Brussels. Bibliothèque Royale 11. Photo. Mus. Méd. 5059e. © Bibliotheque Royale