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In Greek Mythology Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, wine, winemaking, grape cultivation, fertility, ritual madness, theater, and religious ecstasy. His festivals were the driving force behind the development of Greek theater. He may have been worshiped as early as 1500 BC.

Dionysus

Marble statue of Dionysus on display in the Louvre Museum, Paris, France

To the Romans the god of wine was known a Bacchus. He was also the Roman god of good-cheer, hilarity, ecstasy, mirth and revels. It was written that Roman festivals thrown in the name of Bacchus, Bacchanalia, got a bit out of hand becoming scandalous, extremely colorful ecstatic events. Viewing them as a religious cult the Roman Senate prohibited the festivals. It is believed that thousands of revelers were jailed and even put to death.

Bacchus

Michaelangelo’s Bacchus on display at Bargello, Florence, Italy

You can find all kinds of paintings and sculptures based on both Gods of Wine and Bacchanalia in museums, libraries and Google Images. Be warned, they can be graphic…enticingly so.

Young Dionysus