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Word Count: 342
Dionysus or to the Romans Bacchus was the son of Zeus and Semele a mortal woman He is the god of wine cheer wild behavior dancing fertility resurrection drama song vegetation and all-around merrymaking He was a very popular god because of his jolly disposition and carefree attitude It is said that Dionysuss mother Semele was killed before his birth so Zeus snatched her unborn child and sewed him into his own thigh He is identified with Zagreus son of Zeus and Persephone who was killed dismembered and eaten by the Titan gods His heart was saved and he was reborn through Semele as Dionysus He is unusual in that he was one of the only gods to be born a god despite being half mortal By the 5th century BC Dionysus was known to both the Romans and Greeks as BacchusDionysus is usually depicted in Greek art and literature accompanied by maenads fauns satyrs and nymphs They once had many festivals in Greece celebrating the wine-god The most important one the Greater Dionysia was held in Athens for five days each spring There was dancing feasts plays and other entertainments But most of Greece just used it as an excuse to get drunkDionysuss worshippers were the fanatic maenads or bacchantes They were a group of female devotees who left their homes to roam the wilderness in ecstatic devotion of him They were believed to have occult powers and were garbed in fawn skins His worship services were more or less orgiastic rituals dedicated to him He was good and gentle to his worshippers but brought madness and destruction to those who spurned him or the fanatic rituals of his cult Wine miracles were reputedly performed at his festivalsAccording to tradition Dionysus died each winter and was reborn each spring To his followers this cyclical revival accompanied by the seasonal renewals of the fruits of the earth embodied the promise of the resurrection of
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