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Cult of Dionysus

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– Cult of Dionysus:
– Associated with satyrs, centaurs, and sileni
– Characteristic symbols: bull, serpent, tigers/leopards, ivy, wine
– Festivals dedicated to Dionysus: Dionysia, Lenaia
– Initiates worshiped in Dionysian Mysteries
– Orpheus linked with inventing the Mysteries of Dionysus

– Introduced into Rome around 200 BC
– Initially attended by women only
– Later extended to men with frequent celebrations
– Senate decree in 186 BC prohibited Bacchanalia
Dionysus equated with Bacchus and Liber

– Appellations:
Dionysus known as Acratophorus, giver of unmixed wine
– Worshiped as Acroreites in Sicyon
– Latin epithet Adoneus, Ruler
– Aegobolus, goat killer, worshiped in Potniae
– Bromios, the thunderer, another epithet

– See also:
– Apollonian and Dionysian concepts
– The Birth of Tragedy by Friedrich Nietzsche
– Cult practices and rituals
– Theatre of Dionysus
– Thiasus, or thiasos

– Notes:
– Orpheus associated with inventing the Mysteries of Dionysus
Dionysus traced back to Mycenaean Greece
– Various epithets of Dionysus in different regions
Dionysus linked with other deities in different cultures
– References to Dionysus in ancient texts and studies

Cult of Dionysus (Wikipedia)

The cult of Dionysus was strongly associated with satyrs, centaurs, and sileni, and its characteristic symbols were the bull, the serpent, tigers/leopards, ivy, and wine. The Dionysia and Lenaia festivals in Athens were dedicated to Dionysus, as well as the phallic processions. Initiates worshipped him in the Dionysian Mysteries, which were comparable to and linked with the Orphic Mysteries, and may have influenced Gnosticism. Orpheus was said to have invented the Mysteries of Dionysus. It is possible that water divination was an important aspect of worship within the cult.

Egyptian garment panel featuring Dionysiac themes, 5th century. The popularity of the cult of Dionysus, introduced to Egypt by the early Ptolemaic rulers in the 3rd century BC, continued into early Byzantine times (4th-7th century),

The cult of Dionysus traces back to at least Mycenaean Greece, since his name is found on Mycenean Linear B tablets as 𐀇𐀺𐀝𐀰 (di-wo-nu-so). Dionysus is often shown riding a leopard, wearing a leopard skin, or in a chariot drawn by panthers, and is also recognized by his iconic thyrsus. Besides the grapevine and its clashing alter-ego, the poisonous ivy plant, both sacred to him, the fig was another one of his accredited symbols. Additionally, the pinecone that topped his thyrsus linked him to Cybele, an Anatolian goddess.

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