Study Guide

Dionysus (Bacchus)

  • Profile

    Dionysus (a.k.a. Bacchus) is the god of wine, theater, and revelry. Wherever this guy goes, a party erupts around him. He is constantly surrounded by a wild gathering of female followers called Maenads, or Bacchantes, as well as a herd of Satyrs, creatures with the upper bodies of men, but the legs and horns of goats. Quite a motley crew. The gatherings of Dionysus' followers are more than just wild parties, though; they are also sacred rituals in which worshipers dance and drink themselves into a state of ecstasy to become closer to their god. And as crazy as he is, Dionysus also sparked some pretty important cultural phenomena, like Greek theater, which – rumor has it – evolved from his rituals.

    Basic Information

    Name

    Dionysus

    Nickname

    Bacchus, Mr. D, Liber, Dionysos

    Sex

    Male

    Current city

    Mount Olympus

    Work & Education

    Occupation

    God of Wine, Theater, and Revelry

    Education

    Silenus' Bartending Institute
    Hermes' School of Femininity
    Chiron's Academy of Dance

    Beliefs

    Political views

    Anarchy

    Family & Friends (& Enemies)

    Parents

    Zeus (father)
    Semele (mother)

    Children

    You ready for this?

    With Ariadne: Oenopion, Staphylos, Thoas, Peparethus, Phanus, Eurymedon, Euanthes, Latramys, Tauropolis, Ceramus, Maron
    With Aphrodite: Iacchus, Priapus, Hymen, The Graces (Pasithea, Euphrosyne, Thalia)
    With Nyx: Phthonus
    With Althaea: Deianira
    With Circe: Comus

    Friends

    Satyrs
    Nymphs
    Maenads
    Pan
    Silenus
    Hermes

    Enemies

    Hera
    King Pentheus
    Pirates
    The Nation of India

    Relationships

    Relationship status

    Married to Ariadne
    Flings with Aphrodite, Aura, Beroe, Kronois, Nikaia, Althaia, Erigone, Pallene, Physkoa, Ampelos, Polymnos.
    Yeah, I get around.

    Interested in

    Everybody. Clearly (see above).

    Favorites

    Quotations

    "But I always say, one’s company, two’s a crowd, and three’s a party."
    – Andy Warhol

    "Wine is bottled poetry."
    – Robert Louis Stevenson

    "[N]o party is any fun unless seasoned with folly.”
    – Erasmus

    "Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so I may wet my mind and say something clever."
    – Aristophanes

    "Drink, and dance and laugh and lie,
    Love the reeling midnight through,
    For tomorrow we shall die!
    (But, alas, we never do.)"
    – Dorothy Parker

    Books

    Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan
    Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
    Animal Farm by George Orwell
    The Bacchae by Euripides
    The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil
    The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
    The Theater and Its Double by Antonin Artaud
    The Little Black Book of Wine by Elizabeth Poyet and Kerren Barbas Steckler
    On the Road by Jack Kerouac
    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
    Medea by Euripides

    Music

    Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) by Katy Perry
    Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5 ft. Christine Aguilera
    Rock and Roll All Night by Kiss
    Just Dance by Lady Gaga
    Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana
    White Nights by Oh Land
    (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party) by The Beastie Boys
    Party Rock by LMFAO ft. Lauren Bennet
    Anarchy in UK by The Sex Pistols
    Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting) by Elton John

    Movies

    Percy Jackson and the Lighting Thief
    Sideways
    Ferris Bueller's Day Off
    House Party
    Dazed and Confused
    The Bacchae (the guy who played me was on Buffy, too!)
    The Hangover
    The Big Lebowski
    Superbad

    Activities & Interests

    Likes

    Oktoberfest
    Bullfighting
    Winning
    Happy Hour
    Burning Man

    Interests

    Oenology (basically, wine studying)
    Theater
    Botany
    Gender studies
    History of warfare

    Groups

    Gods and Goddesses of Olympus
    Who Needs Clothes in Public
    Wine Enthusiast
    Real Men Show Their Feminine Side

    • Spotter's Guide

      You want to hang out with Dionysus? He shouldn't be too hard to find. Just go out in the woods and follow the sounds of singing and dancing. He'll be the one semi-mortal with a bottle of wine, dancing in the middle of a crowd of scantily clad women and these little goat-men called Satyrs. Dionysus himself usually appears as a slim, effeminate looking young man with long hair, though sometimes he's an old man with a beard (people age, you know?). The wine god is almost always seen wearing vine leaves in his hair and is sometimes holding his thyrsus, a staff topped with a pine cone. You have to be careful if you go to one of Dionysus' parties, though. People have been known to get completely torn up – literally.

      Physical Description

      Sex: Male
      Age: Late teens
      Build: Slim
      Complexion: Pale
      Hair Color: Blonde or brown
      Facial Hair: None
      Scars/Marks/Tattoos: None
      Jewelry and Accessories: Vine wreath in hair, drinking cup (usually filled with wine) in hand
      Clothing: Not much
      Armor: None needed – he gets his followers to do his dirty work for him
      Type of Weapon: Thyrsus, a staff topped with a pine cone (deadlier than you think)

      Typical Companions

      • Satyrs
      • Nymphs
      • Maenads
      • Pan
      • Silenus
      • Ariadne

      Known Hangouts

      • The Woods
      • His dad's thigh
      • Bars
      • Napa Valley
      • Mount Cithaeron
      • College parties
    • Sightings

      Dec 20, 2019

      The Bacchae by Euripides

      Euripides' tragedy gives the full report on Dionysus, from his crazy birth story to his war on King Pentheus of Thebes. In fact, Dionysus himself gets to tell most of it, so we're pretty sure he'd approve.

      Dec 20, 2019

      The Frogs by Aristophanes

      Aristophanes was not psyched about the current state of tragic theater in his day. In his comedy, he depicts Dionysus as he travels to the Underworld to try to get some good playwrights back in the game. The god of wine ends up judging a contest between Aeschylus and Euripides to decide who deserves to return to the living world. Simon Cowell, watch out.

      Dec 20, 1497

      Bacchus by Michelangelo

      If Michelangelo sculpts him, you know he's a big deal. Dionysus isn't in great form in this marble sculpture; he's a little tipsy, to say the least.

      Dec 20, 2019

      Fantasia by Disney

      The god of wine brings the party to Disney's animated classic. He's definitely in his chubby form here, but he's not ashamed.

      Dec 20, 2019

      Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

      Dionysus shows up to help out Aslan in this fantasy adventure. He scares the kids a bit (no wonder) but spices up their adventure with some typical Dionysus fun. Dance party!

      Dec 20, 1974

      The Frogs by Burt Shevelove and Stephen Sondheim

      In this modern musical remake of the comedy by Aristophanes, Dionysus once again travels to the Underworld to bring back a great playwright; this time, though, the contest is between George Bernard Shaw and William Shakespeare. Neat.

      Dec 20, 1997 - Dec 20, 1999

      Hercules by Disney

      Dionysus is back for more Disney love, putting in some tipsy cameos in this animated film and TV series that re-imagine the adventures of Hercules.

      Dec 20, 2019

      Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

      Dionysus makes an appearance as Mr. D, the unwilling director of Camp Half-Blood. This one's worth checking out, big time.