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Dionysos is the son of Zeus chief of the Olympians and Semele a woman of Thebes according to the most used geneology Dionysos is the god of wine and madness vegetation and the theatre and was the focus of various mystery cults which were not perhaps exactly cults but lets not get into that Oh Thebes nurse of Semele crown your hair with ivy Grow green with bryony Redden with berries O city with boughs of oak and fir come dance the dance of god Fringe your skins of dappled fawn with tufts of twisted wool Handle with holy care the violent wand of god And let the dance begin He is Bromius who runs to the mountain To the mountain Where the throng of women waits driven from shuttle and loom possessed by Dionysos Euripidies The Bacchae trans Richmond Lattimore Dionysos is a strange god Although he is best known as the god of wine he is also a vegetation deity a god of the liquid element a death god a god who comes into and changes often irrevocably the normal community life and lastly the god of the theatre His role as vegetation deity is obvious he introduced the grapevine and taught the secrets of its cultivation and of fermenting wine He is also associated with the fir tree and with ivy-- his symbol the thrysus which his worshippers carry is a branch or stalk of fennel tipped with ivy leaves or sometimes a pine cone He is often paired with Demeter goddess of grain Water is also a part of Dionysoss domain The myth of Lycurgus related in the Iliad tells how a young Dionysos and his foster mothers were attacked and chased by the impious Lycurgus Dionysos fled into the sea and was sheltered by Thetis The god is also a sailor there is a myth which tells how he was once kidnapped by pirates and taken aboard a boat The
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