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A 5th century BCE mural of Dionysos

Dionysos, also called Bacchus and the "god who comes",[1] is a Greek and Roman god of wine and grapes, theater, fertility, and religious or ritualistic ecstasy. He is regarded by some as one of the Twelve Gods, the major deities of the Greek pantheon.


Dionysos was said to have been born on Naxos Island.[2] At some point, he granted Elais, one of the daughters of King Anios of Delos, the ability to make oil spring from the ground.[3] Dionysos was also said to have driven mad the daughters of King Proitos of Tiryns in Arkadia.[4]

He was also said to have been initiated into mysteries and ecstasy by the goddess of fertility Kybele.[5]

Legacy and influence

In the Greek myths, Dionysos' female followers were called Maenads, known for their frenzied revelries.[6] Along with them, satyrs often accompanied the god, as well as did a number of humans, enough to give birth to a cult.

During the 5th century BCE in Greece, statues depicting Dionysos were often located near vineyards, like the one on Markos' vineyard, and taverns.[7] Of special note is the one located in Korinth, Korinthia, said to be hewn from the tree in which King Pentheus of Thebes hid to spy on the Maenads.[6]

In Athens, a house deemed as one of the most beautiful houses in the city was dedicated to Dionysos after its former owner performed a parody of the Eleusinian Mysteries, and was subsequently punished for it.[8] The Theater of Dionysos, known for being the first to introduce theater to the city, was also dedicated to him.[9]

In his birth island of Naxos, a temple was built to celebrate him in order for him to bless their vines and wine production. It housed several festivities for Dionysos each year.[10] Another temple to Dionysos was located on a hill in Sparta, Lakonia, housing relics related to the mythical hero Perseus.[11]

Pausanias of Sparta, a king of Sparta and the Sage of the Peloponnesian League branch of the Cult of Kosmos, wielded a xiphos dedicated to Dionysos; it was also believed that when Dionysians were threatened, the god would come save them, bearing the blade.[1] Following Pausanias' death, the sword ended up in the hands of the Spartan misthios Kassandra, who also recovered an armor set dedicated to the god.[12]

Behind the scenes

The mural depicting Dionysos in Assassin's Creed: Odyssey is based on a vase painting from the 5th century BCE. The mural featuring Dionysos and the maenads is based on Dance of Bacchantes by the ceramic painter Hieron.[13] This mural seems to be unique to the Telesterion of Eleusis.

Contrary to his most common depiction in Assassin's Creed: Odyssey as a bearded man, Dionysos was actually more commonly depicted as a beautiful youth bordering on androgynous in Greek art. The statue used for Dionysos in Odyssey is based on a marble statue of an Etruscan priest holding a patera or a phiale.




  1. 1.0 1.1 Assassin's Creed: OdysseyXiphos of Dionysos
  2. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyNaxos
  3. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyDelos: Farm of Elais
  4. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyArkadia: Madness Cave
  5. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyLesbos: Temple of Kybele
  6. 6.0 6.1 Assassin's Creed: OdysseyKorinthia: Statue of Dionysos
  7. Assassin's Creed: Odyssey
  8. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyAttika: Hermippos' Residence
  9. Assassin's Creed: Odyssey – Attika: Theater of Dionysos
  10. Assassin's Creed: Odyssey – Naxos: Temple of Dionysos
  11. Assassin's Creed: OdysseyLakonia: Temple of Dionysos Kolonatas
  12. Assassin's Creed: Odyssey
  13. The Dance – Historic Illustrations of Dancing from 3300 B.C. to 1911 A.D.
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