Mythman's Major Olympian Gods



Dionysus & his Posse

Dionysus & his Retinue


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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 from danger.

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 the 'thyrsus'.

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 military triumphs.

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 body apart!

Dionysus continues on page three!

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