This month, we wanted to share with you the history of wine through its gods.
If I ask you who the god of wine is, I guess many of you will say "Bacchus", which is a good answer! However, Bacchus is the god of Roman wine and it has another name among the Greeks: Dionysus, and it is still a different god for the Egyptians: Osiris. Did you know all this? Well, let's not waste more time, place to curiosity!
Each culture has its own god of wine. But do you know its peculiarities?
Let's start with Bacchus:
Bacchus is the Roman name of the God of Wine which corresponds to Dionysus in Greek mythology. Both are the same person, whose name is different in each mythology.
Bacchus, god of the vine and wine, was also called Liber Pater: god of fertility, who also recalls freedom because it is wine that will free the mind from its worries.
The story of the birth of Bacchus:
Jupiter, God of Earth and Heaven – thus ruling all living beings and master of other gods – married to Juno – goddess protector of marriage and fertility – makes pregnant a mortal: Semele. Jealous, Juno will convince Semele to ask Jupiter to show up in her real form, which kills her in a lightning strike. Jupiter manages to save his son by hiding him from Juno (for a time) in his thigh.
When Bacchus is born, she will try to kill him a second time. It ends up cut into pieces and boiled in a cauldron. Bacchus is saved, he is transformed into a kid and sent to the nymphs of Nysa to watch him, hidden in a cave hidden by a vine. Bacchus will feed on this grape. This is how he will become Bacchus, the god of wine.
How is it represented?
He is often found young and smiling, with horns, holding in one hand a thyrse surrounded by vines and ivy, and in the other a bunch of grapes.
What are its attributions?
God of the vine and wine, but not only! He is also god of festivities, dance, pleasures and vegetation. We owe him the learning of viticulture and it is also because of him that we know some excesses due to excess alcohol.
What celebrations in his honor?
Orgies, or bacchanals, are well known, which were initially celebrated by women only. When men gradually join these festivals in honor of Bacchus, we notice that this has led to more disorder.
In Rome, the so-called "liberal" festivals were organized in honor of Bacchus. However, it was only slightly glorious: place to indecent remarks. To remedy this, in the year 558, the ruling power tried to ban these celebrations, but no noticeable effect, as customs were already well established.
To both of us, Dionysus!
As already seen above, Dionysus is the god of Greek wine, who is the same character as Bacchus, his name coming from another mythology.
The story of Dionysus is therefore the same as that of Bacchus, except that his father is no longer Jupiter but Zeus and Juno is called Hera.
In this mythology, it is insisted that Dionysus was born from a fertilization of a lightning bolt on Earth. This is called a "Divine Fire". He becomes the god of wine because it is considered one of the forms of fire. Dionysus will specialize in the vine and in drunkenness: he becomes god of the vine, of wine and its excesses, as well as of excess.
A little anecdote:
Dionysus will travel through several countries with his procession of satyrs and menads. It is then that he will introduce wine to people who did not know it.
Osiris, in Egyptian mythology, is the son of Nout, goddess of Heaven and Geb, god of the Earth. It was Osiris who invented agriculture and religion. It is beneficial and civilizing.
Osiris will also die (drowned in the Nile) by his brother this time: Seth. It is his sister Isis who will use his power and make him resurrected.
Osiris then becomes the dead Egyptian god. He is considered lord of wine during the Ouag (feasts of the dead) festivals. When we celebrated this god, we consumed a lot of wine, which led to great binge drinking.
This drunkenness to which wine leads gives it a "power" as a tool of communication with the gods.
That's it, you have more material to understand what are the peculiarities of each god of wine!
This god is quite controversial in Greece and for the Romans because he is also associated with orgies and excesses (therefore guilty of the frenzy of humans).
What is also interesting to note is that each god of wine died and then resurrected in his own way (always thanks to a "savior").
One last word:
Wine is a drink frequently equated with death: an amphora of wine is often placed with the deceased to ensure a life after death. It is also a way to communicate with the ancestors by making a libation (offering: drops of wine poured on their graves).
See you soon for new news!
READ ALSO of the Workshops of Bacchus