The city of Athens during the classical period of Ancient Greece was the major urban center of the notable polis of the same name, located in Attica, leading the Delian League in the Peloponnesian War against Sparta and the Peloponnesian League. Athenian democracy was established in 508 BC under Cleisthenes following the tyranny of Isagoras; this system remained remarkably stable, with a few brief interruptions remained in place for 180 years, until 322 BC. The peak of Athenian hegemony was achieved in the 440s to 430s BC, known as the Age of Pericles. In the classical period, Athens was a center for the arts and philosophy, home of Plato's Akademia and Aristotle's Lyceum, Athens was the birthplace of Socrates, Pericles, Aristophanes and many other prominent philosophers and politicians of the ancient world, it is referred to as the cradle of Western Civilization, the birthplace of democracy due to the impact of its cultural and political achievements during the 5th and 4th centuries BC on the rest of the then-known European continent.
Hippias, son of Peisistratus, had ruled Athens jointly with his brother, from the death of Peisistratus c527. Following the assassination of Hipparchus c514, Hippias took on sole rule, in response to the loss of his brother, became a worse leader and disliked. Hippias exiled 700 of the Athenian noble families, amongst them Cleisthenes' family, the Alchmaeonids. Upon their exile, they went to Delphi, Herodotus says they bribed the Pythia to always tell visiting Spartans that they should invade Attica and overthrow Hippias; this worked after a number of times, Cleomenes led a Spartan force to overthrow Hippias, which succeeded, instated an oligarchy. Cleisthenes disliked the Spartan rule, along with many other Athenians, so made his own bid for power; the result of this was democracy in Athens, but considering Cleisthenes' motivation for using the people to gain power, as without their support, he would have been defeated, so Athenian democracy may be tinted by the fact its creation served the man who created it.
The reforms of Cleisthenes replaced the traditional four Ionic "tribes" with ten new ones, named after legendary heroes of Greece and having no class basis, which acted as electorates. Each tribe was in turn divided into three trittyes, while each trittys had one or more demes – depending on their population – which became the basis of local government; the tribes each selected fifty members by lot for the Boule, the council which governed Athens on a day-to-day basis. The public opinion of voters could be influenced by the political satires written by the comic poets and performed in the city theaters; the Assembly or Ecclesia was open to all full citizens and was both a legislature and a supreme court, except in murder cases and religious matters, which became the only remaining functions of the Areopagus. Most offices were filled by lot. Prior to the rise of Athens, Sparta, a city-state with a militaristic culture, considered itself the leader of the Greeks, enforced a hegemony; the silver mines of Laurion contributed to the development of Athens in the 5th century BC, when the Athenians learned to prospect and refine the ore and used the proceeds to build a massive fleet, at the instigation of Themistocles.
In 499 BC Athens sent troops to aid the Ionian Greeks of Asia Minor, who were rebelling against the Persian Empire. This provoked two Persian invasions of Greece, both of which were repelled under the leadership of the soldier-statesmen Miltiades and Themistocles. In 490 the Athenians, led by Miltiades, prevented the first invasion of the Persians, guided by king Darius I, at the Battle of Marathon. In 480 the Persians returned under a new ruler, Xerxes I; the Hellenic League led by the Spartan King Leonidas led 7,000 men to hold the narrow passageway of Thermopylae against the 100,000–250,000 army of Xerxes, during which time Leonidas and 300 other Spartan elites were killed. The Athenians led an indecisive naval battle off Artemisium. However, this delaying action was not enough to discourage the Persian advance which soon marched through Boeotia, setting up Thebes as their base of operations, entered southern Greece; this forced the Athenians to evacuate Athens, taken by the Persians, seek the protection of their fleet.
Subsequently, the Athenians and their allies, led by Themistocles, defeated the Persian navy at sea in the Battle of Salamis. Xerxes had built himself a throne on the coast. Instead, the Persians were routed. Sparta's hegemony was passing to Athens, it was Athens that took the war to Asia Minor; these victories enabled it to bring most of the Aegean and many other parts of Greece together in the Delian League, an Athenian-dominated alliance. Pericles – an Athenian general and orator – distinguished himself above the other personalities of the era, men who excelled in politics, architecture, sculpture and literature, he fostered arts and literature and gave to Athens a splendor which would never return throughout its history. He improved the life of the citizens. Hence, he gave his name to the Athenian Golden Age. Silver mined in Laurium in southeastern Attica contributed to the prosperity of this "Golden" Age of A
In Greco-Roman mythology, Aeneas was a Trojan hero, the son of the prince Anchises and the goddess Aphrodite. His father was a first cousin of King Priam of Troy, making Aeneas a second cousin to Priam's children, he is mentioned in Homer's Iliad. Aeneas receives full treatment in Roman mythology, most extensively in Virgil's Aeneid, where he is cast as an ancestor of Romulus and Remus, he became the first true hero of Rome. Snorri Sturluson identifies him with the Norse Æsir Vidarr. Aeneas is the Latin spelling of Greek Αἰνείας. In the Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, Aeneas is first introduced with Aphrodite naming him Αἰνείας for the αὶνóν ἄχος he caused her, where Aineías derives from the adjective αὶνóν, it is a popular etymology for the name exploited by Homer in the Iliad. In the Medieval period there were writers who held that, because the Aeneid was written by a philosopher it is meant to be read philosophically; as such, in the "natural order", the meaning of Aeneas' name combines Greek ennos and demas, which becomes ennaios, meaning "in-dweller".
However, there is no certainty regarding the origin of his name. In imitation of the Iliad, Virgil borrows epithets of Homer. Though he borrows many, Virgil pius; the epithets applied by Virgil are an example of an attitude different from that of Homer, for whilst Odysseus is poikilios, Aeneas is described as pius, which conveys a strong moral tone. The purpose of these epithets seems to enforce the notion of Aeneas' divine hand as father and founder of the Roman race, their use seem circumstantial: when Aeneas is praying he refers to himself as pius, is referred to as such by the author only when the character is acting on behalf of the gods to fulfill his divine mission. Aeneas is called pater when acting in the interest of his men; the story of the birth of Aeneas is told in one of the major Homeric Hymns. Aphrodite has caused Zeus to fall in love with mortal women. In retaliation, Zeus puts desire in her heart for Anchises, tending his cattle among the hills near Mount Ida; when Aphrodite sees him she is smitten.
She appears before him. He is overcome by her beauty, believing that she is a goddess, but Aphrodite identifies herself as a Phrygian princess. After they make love, Aphrodite reveals her true identity to him and Anchises fears what might happen to him as a result of their liaison. Aphrodite assures him that he will be protected, tells him that she will bear him a son to be called Aeneas. However, she warns him; when Aeneas is born, Aphrodite takes him to the nymphs of Mount Ida. She directs them to raise the child to age five take him to Anchises. According to other sources, Anchises brags about his encounter with Aphrodite, as a result is struck in the foot with a thunderbolt by Zeus. Thereafter he is lame in that foot. Aeneas is a minor character in the Iliad, where he is twice saved from death by the gods as if for an as-yet-unknown destiny, but is an honorable warrior in his own right. Having held back from the fighting, aggrieved with Priam because in spite of his brave deeds he was not given his due share of honour, he leads an attack against Idomeneus to recover the body of his brother-in-law Alcathous at the urging of Deiphobus.
He is the leader of the Trojans' Dardanian allies, as well as a second cousin and principal lieutenant of Hector, son of the Trojan king Priam. Aeneas's mother Aphrodite comes to his aid on the battlefield, he is a favorite of Apollo. Aphrodite and Apollo rescue Aeneas from combat with Diomedes of Argos, who nearly kills him, carry him away to Pergamos for healing. Poseidon, who favors the Greeks, comes to Aeneas's rescue after he falls under the assault of Achilles, noting that Aeneas, though from a junior branch of the royal family, is destined to become king of the Trojan people. Bruce Louden presents Aeneas as a "type" in the tradition of Utnapishtim and Philemon, Lot. Apollodorus explains that "...the Greeks let him alone on account of his piety". The Roman mythographer Gaius Julius Hyginus in his Fabulae credits Aeneas with killing 28 enemies in the Trojan War. Aeneas appears in the Trojan narratives attributed to Dares Phrygius and Dictys of Crete The history of Aeneas was continued by Roman authors.
One influential source was the account of Rome's founding in Cato the Elder's Origines. The Aeneas legend was well known in Virgil's day and appeared in various historical works, including the Roman Antiquities of the Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Ab Urbe Condita by Livy, Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus; the Aeneid explains that Aeneas is one of the few Trojans who were not killed or enslaved when Troy fell. Aeneas, after being commanded by the gods to flee, gathered a group, collectively known as the Aeneads, who traveled to Italy and became progenitors of Romans; the Aeneads included Aeneas's trumpeter Misenus, his father Anchises, his friends Achates and Acmon, the healer Iapyx, the helmsman Pal
The Sistine Chapel is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the pope, in Vatican City. Known as the Cappella Magna, the chapel takes its name from Pope Sixtus IV, who restored it between 1477 and 1480. Since that time, the chapel has served as a place of both functionary papal activity. Today, it is the site of the process by which a new pope is selected; the fame of the Sistine Chapel lies in the frescos that decorate the interior, most the Sistine Chapel ceiling and The Last Judgment by Michelangelo. During the reign of Sixtus IV, a team of Renaissance painters that included Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Cosimo Rosselli, created a series of frescos depicting the Life of Moses and the Life of Christ, offset by papal portraits above and trompe-l'œil drapery below; these paintings were completed in 1482, on 15 August 1483 Sixtus IV celebrated the first mass in the Sistine Chapel for the Feast of the Assumption, at which ceremony the chapel was consecrated and dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
Between 1508 and 1512, under the patronage of Pope Julius II, Michelangelo painted the chapel's ceiling, a project which changed the course of Western art and is regarded as one of the major artistic accomplishments of human civilization. In a different climate, after the Sack of Rome, he returned and, between 1535 and 1541, painted The Last Judgment for Popes Clement VII and Paul III; the fame of Michelangelo's paintings has drawn multitudes of visitors to the chapel since they were revealed five hundred years ago. While known as the location of Papal conclaves, the primary function of the Sistine Chapel is as the chapel of the Papal Chapel, one of the two bodies of the Papal household, called until 1968 the Papal Court. At the time of Pope Sixtus IV in the late 15th century, the Papal Chapel comprised about 200 people, including clerics, officials of the Vatican and distinguished laity. There were 50 occasions during the year on which it was prescribed by the Papal Calendar that the whole Papal Chapel should meet.
Of these 50 occasions, 35 were masses, of which 8 were held in Basilicas, in general St. Peter's, were attended by large congregations; these included the Christmas Easter masses, at which the Pope himself was the celebrant. The other 27 masses could be held in a smaller, less public space, for which the Cappella Maggiore was used before it was rebuilt on the same site as the Sistine Chapel; the Cappella Maggiore derived its name, the Greater Chapel, from the fact that there was another chapel in use by the Pope and his retinue for daily worship. At the time of Pope Sixtus IV, this was the Chapel of Pope Nicholas V, decorated by Fra Angelico; the Cappella Maggiore is recorded as existing in 1368. According to a communication from Andreas of Trebizond to Pope Sixtus IV, by the time of its demolition to make way for the present chapel, the Cappella Maggiore was in a ruinous state with its walls leaning; the present chapel, on the site of the Cappella Maggiore, was designed by Baccio Pontelli for Pope Sixtus IV, for whom it is named, built under the supervision of Giovannino de Dolci between 1473 and 1481.
The proportions of the present chapel appear to follow those of the original. After its completion, the chapel was decorated with frescoes by a number of the most famous artists of the High Renaissance, including Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Pietro Perugino, Michelangelo; the first mass in the Sistine Chapel was celebrated on 15 August 1483, the Feast of the Assumption, at which ceremony the chapel was consecrated and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The Sistine Chapel has maintained its function to the present day, continues to host the important services of the Papal Calendar, unless the Pope is travelling. There is a permanent choir, the Sistine Chapel Choir, for whom much original music has been written, the most famous piece being Gregorio Allegri's Miserere. One of the functions of the Sistine Chapel is as a venue for the election of each successive pope in a conclave of the College of Cardinals. On the occasion of a conclave, a chimney is installed in the roof of the chapel, from which smoke arises as a signal.
If white smoke,which is created by burning the ballots of the election, appears, a new Pope has been elected. If a candidate receives less than a two-thirds vote, the cardinals send up black smoke—created by burning the ballots along with wet straw and chemical additives—it means that no successful election has yet occurred; the first papal conclave to be held on the Sistine Chapel was the conclave of 1492, which took place from August 6 from August 11 of the same year and in which Pope Alexander VI known as Rodrigo Borja, was elected. The conclave provided for the cardinals a space in which they could hear mass, in which they could eat and pass time attended by servants. From 1455, conclaves have been held in the Vatican. Since 1996, John Paul II's Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici gregis requires the cardinals to be lodged in the Domus Sanctae Marthae during a papal conclave, but to continue to vote in the Sistine Chapel. Canopies for each cardinal-elector were once used during conclaves—a sign of equal dignity.
After the new Pope accepts his election, he would give his new name. Until reforms instituted by Saint Pius X, the canopies were of different colours to designate which Cardinals had been appointed by which Pope. Paul
The Acheron is a river located in the Epirus region of northwest Greece. It is 52 km long, its drainage area is 705 km2, its source is near the village Zotiko, in the southwestern part of the Ioannina regional unit and it flows into the Ionian Sea in Ammoudia, near Parga. In ancient Greek mythology, Acheron was known as the "river of woe", was one of the five rivers of the Greek underworld; the word is of uncertain etymology. In the Homeric poems, the Acheron was described as a river of Hades, into which Cocytus and Phlegethon both flowed; the Roman poet Virgil called it the principal river of Tartarus, from which the Styx and Cocytus both sprang. The newly dead would be ferried across the Acheron by Charon; the Suda describes the river as "a place of healing, not a place of punishment and purging the sins of humans". According to traditions, Acheron had been a son of Helios and either Gaia or Demeter, turned into the Underworld river bearing his name after he refreshed the Titans with drink during their contest with Zeus.
By this myth, Acheron is the father of Ascalaphus by either Orphne or Gorgyra. The river called Acheron with the nearby ruins of the Necromanteion is found near Parga on the mainland opposite Corfu. Another branch of Acheron was believed to surface at the Acherusian cape and was seen by the Argonauts according to Apollonius of Rhodes. Greeks who settled in Italy identified the Acherusian lake into which Acheron flowed with Lake Avernus. Plato in his Phaedo identified Acheron as the second greatest river in the world, excelled only by Oceanus, he claimed that Acheron flowed in the opposite direction from Oceanus beneath the earth under desert places. The word is occasionally used as a synecdoche for Hades itself. Virgil mentions Acheron with the other infernal rivers in his description of the underworld in Book VI of the Aeneid. In Book VII, line 312 he gives to Juno the famous saying, flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo:'If I cannot bend the will of Heaven, I shall move Hell.' The same words were used by Sigmund Freud as the dedicatory motto for his seminal book The Interpretation of Dreams, figuring Acheron as psychological underworld beneath the conscious mind.
The Acheron was sometimes referred to as a lake or swamp in Greek literature, as in Aristophanes' The Frogs and Euripides' Alcestis. In Dante's Inferno, the Acheron river forms the border of Hell. Following Greek mythology, Charon ferries souls across this river to Hell; those who were neutral in life sit on the banks. The name Acheron was used as a reference within the Alien film series for the planet LV426. Known by its alphanumeric designation during the first film, the planet was named as Acheron during the sequel Aliens. Acheron was the French privateer ship.
Katabasis or catabasis is a descent of some type, such as moving downhill, the sinking of the winds or sun, a military retreat, a trip to the underworld, or a trip from the interior of a country down to the coast. The term has multiple related meanings in poetry and modern psychology; the term catabasis can refer to a trip from the interior of a country down to the coast, in contrast to the term "anabasis", which refers to an expedition from a coastline up into the interior of a country. The main meaning given for catabasis by the Oxford English Dictionary describes "A going down. 112 The Russian anabasis and catabasis of Napoleon. 1899 Westm. Gaz. 17 May 4/1 Little space is devoted to the Anabasis. In the opening of Plato's Republic, Socrates recounts "going down" to the port city of Piraeus, located south of his native Athens. Several scholars, including Allan Bloom, have read this first word, κατέβην as an allusion to Odysseus' journey into the underworld. In poetry and rhetoric, the term katabasis refers to a "gradual descending" of emphasis on a theme within a sentence or paragraph, while anabasis refers to a gradual ascending in emphasis.
John Freccero notes, "In the ancient world, descent in search of understanding was known as katabasis", thus endowing mythic and poetic accounts of katabasis with a symbolic significance. In modern psychology, the term katabasis is sometimes used to describe the depression some young men experience. Author Robert Bly proposes in his book Iron John: A Book About Men several reasons for the "catabasis phenomenon", amongst them the lack of Western initiation rites and the lack of strong father figures and role models; the trip to the underworld is a mytheme of comparative mythology found in a diverse number of religions from around the world. The hero or upper-world deity journeys to the underworld or to the land of the dead and returns with a quest-object or a loved one, or with heightened knowledge; the ability to enter the realm of the dead while still alive, to return, is a proof of the classical hero's exceptional status as more than mortal. A deity who returns from the underworld demonstrates eschatological themes such as the cyclical nature of time and existence, or the defeat of death and the possibility of immortality.
Katabasis is the epic convention of the hero's trip into the underworld. In Greek mythology, for example, Orpheus enters the underworld in order to bring Eurydice back to the world of the living. Most katabases take place in a supernatural underworld, such as Hades or Hell — as in Nekyia, the 11th book of the Odyssey, which describes Odysseus's descent to the underworld. However, katabasis can refer to a journey through other dystopic areas, like those Odysseus encounters on his 10-year journey back from Troy to Ithaca. Pilar Serrano allows the term katabasis to encompass brief or chronic stays in the underworld, including those of Lazarus, Castor and Pollux. In this case, the katabasis must be followed by an anabasis in order to be considered a true katabasis instead of a death. In the 11th book of the Odyssey, Odysseus follows the advice of Circe and consults Tiresias in the land of the dead. During Odysseus' visit, the souls of many appear to him; the first to appear to Odysseus is Elpenor, his crew member who died prior to leaving Circe's island.
Elpenor asks Odysseus to give him a proper burial, Odysseus agrees. The next to appear to Odysseus is Anticlea; as Odysseus has been away fighting the Trojan War for nearly 20 years, he is surprised and saddened by the sight of her soul. Tiresias, the soul whom Odysseus came to see, next appears to him. Tiresias gives him several pieces of information concerning his life after. Tiresias details Poseidon's anger at Odysseus' blinding of Polyphemos, warns Odysseus not to eat the livestock of the god Helios, prophesies Odysseus' return home to Ithaca and his eventual death at sea at an old age. After Tiresias instructs Odysseus to allow the spirits he wants to talk to drink the sacrificial blood he used to find Tiresias, he is again given the chance to see his mother, she tells him of the suffering of his family as they await his return home; as his mother leaves, Odysseus is visited by a string of souls of past queens. He first sees the mother of Pelias and Neleus by Poseidon, he next talks to the mother of Amphion and Zethus by Zeus.
He is visited by Alcmene, the mother of Heracles by Zeus, Heracle's wife Megara. He is visited by Epicaste, the mother of Oedipus, Chloris, the queen of Pylos. Odysseus is visited by Leda, the mother of Castor and Polydeuces and Iphimedeia, mother of the Aloadae by Poseidon. Odysseus sees a list of women whom he only mentions: Phaedra, Ariadne, Maera and Eriphyle, all lovers of gods or heroes. Next to visit Odysseus is Agamemnon, the king of Mycenae. Agamemnon tells Odysseus of his death by his wife and her lover Aegisthus, he warns Odysseus to be wary of his own wife. Odysseus encounters Achilles, who asks after the well being of his father and his son, Neoptolemus. Odysseus reassures Achilles of his son's bravery in fighting the Trojans. Odysseus begins seeing figures of dead souls who do not talk directly to him: Ajax, Orion, Tityos and Sisyphus. Odysseus
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni or more known by his first name Michelangelo was an Italian sculptor, painter and poet of the High Renaissance born in the Republic of Florence, who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art. Considered by many the greatest artist of his lifetime, by some the greatest artist of all time, his artistic versatility was of such a high order that he is considered a contender for the title of the archetypal Renaissance man, along with his rival, the fellow Florentine and client of the Medici, Leonardo da Vinci. A number of Michelangelo's works of painting and architecture rank among the most famous in existence, his output in these fields was prodigious. He sculpted two of the Pietà and David, before the age of thirty. Despite holding a low opinion of painting, he created two of the most influential frescoes in the history of Western art: the scenes from Genesis on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, The Last Judgment on its altar wall.
His design of the Laurentian Library pioneered Mannerist architecture. At the age of 74, he succeeded Antonio da Sangallo the Younger as the architect of St. Peter's Basilica, he transformed the plan so that the western end was finished to his design, as was the dome, with some modification, after his death. Michelangelo was the first Western artist. In fact, two biographies were published during his lifetime. One of them, by Giorgio Vasari, proposed that Michelangelo's work transcended that of any artist living or dead, was "supreme in not one art alone but in all three". In his lifetime, Michelangelo was called Il Divino, his contemporaries admired his terribilità—his ability to instil a sense of awe. Attempts by subsequent artists to imitate Michelangelo's impassioned personal style resulted in Mannerism, the next major movement in Western art after the High Renaissance. Michelangelo was born on 6 March 1475 in Caprese, known today as Caprese Michelangelo, a small town situated in Valtiberina, near Arezzo, Tuscany.
For several generations, his family had been small-scale bankers in Florence. At the time of Michelangelo's birth, his father was the town's Judicial administrator and podestà or local administrator of Chiusi della Verna. Michelangelo's mother was Francesca di Neri del Miniato di Siena; the Buonarrotis claimed to descend from the Countess Mathilde of Canossa—a claim that remains unproven, but which Michelangelo believed. Several months after Michelangelo's birth, the family returned to Florence. During his mother's prolonged illness, after her death in 1481, Michelangelo lived with a nanny and her husband, a stonecutter, in the town of Settignano, where his father owned a marble quarry and a small farm. There he gained his love for marble; as Giorgio Vasari quotes him: "If there is some good in me, it is because I was born in the subtle atmosphere of your country of Arezzo. Along with the milk of my nurse I received the knack of handling chisel and hammer, with which I make my figures." As a young boy, Michelangelo was sent to Florence to study grammar under the Humanist Francesco da Urbino.
However, he showed no interest in his schooling, preferring to copy paintings from churches and seek the company of other painters. The city of Florence was at that time Italy's greatest centre of learning. Art was sponsored by the Signoria, the merchant guilds, wealthy patrons such as the Medici and their banking associates; the Renaissance, a renewal of Classical scholarship and the arts, had its first flowering in Florence. In the early 15th century, the architect Filippo Brunelleschi, having studied the remains of Classical buildings in Rome, had created two churches, San Lorenzo's and Santo Spirito, which embodied the Classical precepts; the sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti had laboured for fifty years to create the bronze doors of the Baptistry, which Michelangelo was to describe as "The Gates of Paradise". The exterior niches of the Church of Orsanmichele contained a gallery of works by the most acclaimed sculptors of Florence: Donatello, Andrea del Verrocchio, Nanni di Banco; the interiors of the older churches were covered with frescos, begun by Giotto and continued by Masaccio in the Brancacci Chapel, both of whose works Michelangelo studied and copied in drawings.
During Michelangelo's childhood, a team of painters had been called from Florence to the Vatican to decorate the walls of the Sistine Chapel. Among them was Domenico Ghirlandaio, a master in fresco painting, figure drawing and portraiture who had the largest workshop in Florence. In 1488, at age 13, Michelangelo was apprenticed to Ghirlandaio; the next year, his father persuaded Ghirlandaio to pay Michelangelo as an artist, rare for someone of fourteen. When in 1489, Lorenzo de' Medici, de facto ruler of Florence, asked Ghirlandaio for his two best pupils, Ghirlandaio sent Michelangelo and Francesco Granacci. From 1490 to 1492, Michelangelo attended the Humanist academy the Medici had founded along Neo-Platonic lines. There his work and outlook were influenced by many of the most prominent philosophers and writers of the day, including Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola and Poliziano. At th
Dionysus is the god of the grape-harvest and wine, of fertility, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, theatre in ancient Greek religion and myth. Wine played an important role in Greek culture, the cult of Dionysus was the main religious focus for its unrestrained consumption, his worship became established in the seventh century BC. He may have been worshipped as early as c. 1500–1100 BC by Mycenaean Greeks. His origins are uncertain, his cults took many forms. In some cults, he arrives as an Asiatic foreigner; some scholars believe that Dionysus is a syncretism of a local Greek nature deity and a more powerful god from Thrace or Phrygia such as Sabazios or Zalmoxis. He is a god of epiphany, "the god that comes", his "foreignness" as an arriving outsider-god may be inherent and essential to his cults, he is a major, popular figure of Greek mythology and religion, becoming important over time, included in some lists of the twelve Olympians, as the last of their number, the only god born from a mortal mother.
His festivals were the driving force behind the development of Greek theatre. He is known as Bacchus, the name adopted by the Romans and the frenzy he induces is bakkheia, his thyrsus, sometimes wound with ivy and dripping with honey, is both a beneficent wand and a weapon used to destroy those who oppose his cult and the freedoms he represents. As Eleutherios, his wine and ecstatic dance free his followers from self-conscious fear and care, subvert the oppressive restraints of the powerful; those who partake of his mysteries are empowered by the god himself. The cult of Dionysus is a "cult of the souls", he is sometimes categorised as a dying-and-rising god. Dionysus is depicted in myth as the son of Zeus and the mortal Semele, although in the Orphic tradition, he was identified as the son of Zeus and Persephone. In the Eleusinian Mysteries he was identified with the son of Demeter; the dio- element has been associated since antiquity with Zeus. The earliest attested form of the name is Mycenaean Greek, di-wo-nu-so, written in Linear B syllabic script for /Diwonūsoio/.
This is attested on two tablets, found at Mycenaean Pylos and dated to the 12th or 13th century BC, but at the time, there could be no certainty on whether this was indeed a theonym. But the 1989–90 Greek-Swedish Excavations at Kastelli Hill, unearthed, inter alia, four artefacts bearing Linear B inscriptions. Variants include Dionūsos and Diōnūsos in Boeotia. A Dio- prefix is found in other names, such as that of the Dioscures, may derive from Dios, the genitive of the name of Zeus; the second element -nūsos is associated with Mount Nysa, the birthplace of the god in Greek mythology, where he was nursed by nymphs, but according to Pherecydes of Syros, nũsa was an archaic word for "tree". Nonnus, in his Dionysiaca, writes that the name Dionysus means "Zeus-limp" and that Hermes named the new born Dionysus this, "because Zeus while he carried his burden lifted one foot with a limp from the weight of his thigh, nysos in Syracusan language means limping". In his note to these lines, W. H. D. Rouse writes "It need hardly be said that these etymologies are wrong".
The Suda, a Byzantine encyclopedia based on classical sources, states that Dionysus was so named "from accomplishing for each of those who live the wild life. Or from providing everything for those who live the wild life."R. S. P. Beekes has suggested a Pre-Greek origin of the name; the cult of Dionysus was associated with trees the fig tree, some of his bynames exhibit this, such as Endendros "he in the tree" or Dendritēs, "he of the tree". Peters suggests the original meaning as "he who runs among the trees", or that of a "runner in the woods". Janda accepts the etymology but proposes the more cosmological interpretation of "he who impels the tree"; this interpretation explains how Nysa could have been re-interpreted from a meaning of "tree" to the name of a mountain: the axis mundi of Indo-European mythology is represented both as a world-tree and as a world-mountain. The earliest cult images of Dionysus show a mature male and robed, he holds a fennel staff, known as a thyrsus. Images show him as a beardless, naked or half-naked androgynous youth: the literature describes him as womanly or "man-womanish".
In its developed form, his central cult imagery shows his triumphant, disorderly arrival or return, as if from some place beyond the borders of the known and civilized. His procession is made up of bearded satyrs with erect penises; the god himself is drawn in a chariot by exotic beasts such as lions or tigers, is sometimes attended by a bearded, drunken Silenus. This procession is presumed to be the cult model for the followers of his Dionysian Mysteries. Dionysus is represented by city religions as the protector of those who do not belong to conventional society and he thus symbolizes the chaotic and unexpected