Dionysus Essays Examples
According to Pausanias, Dionysus had 27 surnames (Paus., Intro=Levi p xxii). The oldest structure devoted to Dionysus is near the theatre in Athens. Inside the building are two temples and two statutes of Dionysus (Paus. Attica = Levi, p. 99). One statute is named Eleuthereus or the Deliverer while the second statute of this Greek god was produced by Alcamenes and was constructed of ivory and gold. There are also painting in the building depicting Dionysus Hephaestus up to Heaven. According to Greek history, when Hephaestus was born he was cast down by Hera. In return Hephaestus gifted Hera a golden chair with invisible fetters. When Hera sat in the chair she could not move and Hephaestus refused to listen to any other god save Dionysus (Paus. Attica =Lev p. 99).Therefore, Dionysus, who had Hephaestus’ full trust, got him drunk and then bore him to Heaven. This tale of Dionysus is represented by one of the pictures. The second picture shows Pentheus and Lycurgus paying the penalty of their insolence to Dionysus with Ariadne asleep, Theseus putting out to sea and Dionysus on his arrival to transport Ariadne (Paus. Attica = Levi, p. 99).
It appears Dionysus was also the muse for the writers of the great Greek tragedies. After the death of Sophocles, the Lacedaemonians invaded Attica and while engaging in preparations for battle, their commander saw Dionysus coming to him in a vision. In his vision, Dionysus “bade him honor” of the dead with the new Siren. The commander was said to have felt the
meaning of this vision was in reference to Sophocles and his poetry. In his mind, men would liken to a Siren being an inspiration for the poetry. Pausanias then goes on to discuss how Aeschylus said as a young boy he was sleeping in a field of grapes and Dionysus appeared to tell him of the need for him to write tragedy. When he was ready, Aeschylus did just and said it came quite naturally to him (Paus. Attica = Levi, p. 103).
On the direct road from Sicyon to Philius, there is a grove of trees on the left side of the road. Called Pyraca it houses a sanctuary to Hera the Protectress and the maid. It is here that men celebrate a festival while the women celebrate in a temple called Nymphon. In the Nymphon there are pictures of Dionysus, Demeter and the Maid with only their faces exposed (Paus. Corinth = Levi, p. 305). Pausanias then goes on to describe the festival as it occurs annually and sheep are presented as an offering. Another image in the temple represents Dionysius but Pausanias only describes it as being wooden. (Paus. Corinth, = Levi, p. 300).
Dionysus is the father of Philias. He provided the Argives with its third name and was the son of Ceisus, the son of Temenus (Paus. Corinth, = Levi, p. 313). He was supposed to have also sailed on the Argo. Also, farther on from Omphalos there is an old place of worship devoted to Dionysus, Apollo and Isis. The images of Dionysus and Apollo are visible to all, but not so with Isis. (Paus. Corinth, = Levi, p. 319). Although, Dionysus appeared to be a significant god due to the number of temples and images the Greeks erected of him, it is difficult to find out more about him from Pausanias work. He concentrates on many more gods, but does rely Dionysus was considered to be the muse for the Greek tragedy, which is a major cultural relic from Greek civilization. He refers to Dionysus getting some people drunk, but never mentions he was the god of vinticulture or of wine.
Levi, Peter. Translated. Guide To Central Greece by Pausanias. London, 1971.