God of the Vine

who was he?

  • son of the God Zeus and mortal Semele
  • God of Wine, Fertility, and Vegetation
  • depicted as semi-nude with a well rounded body
  • the Cult of Dionysus
  • has the last spot of the twelve olympians


Zeus disguised himself as a mortal and impregnated Semele. Hera, Zeus's wife, got jealous of Semele and disguised herself as a mortal to pay her a visit. She explained to Semele how Zeus was in fact a god. Impatient, Semele told Zeus to expose himself for what he was. The lightning bolts were too much for a mortal to handle. As a result, Semele perished into flames, but Zeus grabbed his unborn child and sewed him to his thigh for the remainder of the pregnancy. This is why Dionysus is known as "twice-born."


After his second birth, Zeus gave Dionysus to Semele's sister, Ino, and her husband. Still jealous of Semele, Hera transferred her hatred to Dionysus. She drove his caretakers insane, so Zeus moved him to live with Hermes and take care of the Nymphs of Nysa.

other information

  • left Greece not honored as a god and traveled through: Europe, Asia Minor, and North Africa
  • during his adventures he shared his knowledge of winemaking
  • he learned how to use the skills he inherited from Zeus
  • he returned to Greece in triumph as a true god
  • Apollo (god of the arts) admitted him into the shrine of Delphin, joined olympian gods


Gross, Rachel. "Dionysus." Encyclopedia Mythica. Dale Grote, 3 Mar. 2007. Web. 9 Nov.


Atsma, Aaron J. "Dionysus." Theoi Greek Mythology. Theoi Project, 2010. Web. 9 Nov. 2014.

Daly, Kathleen N. Greek and Roman Mythology A to Z: A Young Reader's Companion. New York: Facts On File, 1992. Print. A-To-Z Entries.

Hansen, William. "Dionysus." World History: Ancient and Medieval Eras. ABC-CLIO, 2014. Web. 10 Nov. 2014.