Dionysus & his Posse
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Dionysus & his Retinue
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DIONYSUS PAGE TWO
continued from page one
After this harrowing experience, Zeus arranged for his
protection and turned Dionysus over to Persephone, wife of
Hades, to care for. She in turn entrusted the baby to King
Athamas of Orchomenus and his wife Ino, who reared the child
hidden in the women's quarters, disguised as a girl.
You guessed it. Hera, still unhappy with Zeus' affair with
Semele, was not deceived and proceeded to drive Athamas and Ino
insane. The royal couple then mistook their son Learches for a
stag, and in their madness Athamas killed him.
Hermes next intervened on behalf of Zeus and temporarily
transformed the baby Dionysus into a kid (baby goat) - others
say a ram - and presented him to the mountain nymphs of
Heliconian Mount Nysa to be raised. These nymphs were called
Bacche, Nysa, Macris, Erato and Bromie, and they took good care
of Dionysus in a hidden cave, fed him on honey and protected him
To reward them for this service, Zeus placed their images among
the stars, naming them the Hyades. It was during this time on
Mount Nysa that Dionysus invented wine.
Once he grew up Hera recognized that he was a son of Zeus and
drove him crazy. Dionysus wandered the world actively
encouraging his cult, accompanied by the Maenads, who were wild
women, flush with wine, shoulders draped with a fawn skin,
carrying ivy-twined staff tipped with pine cones called
In his company were also found the Satyrs, wild men with goat
feet, carrying swords and serpents and fearsome bull-roarers.
Always at his side was the extremely obese Silenus, his wise
mentor and tutor who had a huge fondness for wine.
Sailing to Egypt, the army of Dionysus was hospitably received
by King Proteus of Pharos, and the god of wine gave him the vine
and showed him its cultivation.
Next Dionysus encouraged the Amazon Queens of the Nile Delta to
join with him and do battle against the Titans, restoring King
Ammon to his rightful kingdom. That was the first of his
India was next. The King of Damascus opposed Dionysus and was
thus flayed alive as punishment. Building a bridge made of ivy
and vine across the river Euphrates he moved on, and a tiger
sent by Zeus helped him cross the river Tigris.
After encountering much resistance, he reached India and soon
conquered the entire country, introducing the art of viniculture
and founding great cities.
The army of Dionysus returned to Europe where goddess Rhea
purified him of the many murders he had committed and initiated
him into her mysteries.
Lycurgus, King of the Edonians, attacked the followers savagely
and captured everyone except Dionysus himself, who plunged into
the sea and took refuge in an underwater grotto of Thetis.
Rhea intervened, freed the prisoners, and drove Lycurgus mad.
The crazy King of the Edonians then killed his own son, thinking
that he was cutting a vine.
By the time he came to his senses he had begun to prune the
nose, ears, fingers and toes of his son's corpse, and the whole
land of Thrace grew barren in total horror of his crime.
Dionysus returned from the sea and announced that this decay
would continue until Lycurgus were put to death. Hearing this,
the Edonians bound their hapless King, brought him to Mount
Pangaeum and tied him to wild horses, who proceeded to pull his
Dionysus continues on page
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