The Cult Of Dionysus In Classicl Athens

1413 words - 6 pages

Classical Athens was a time of great superstition, participation of cult activities, and interesting ideas. From Eleusinian mysteries to the Panathenaea, classical Athens was sprouting in festivals and cultic worship. The cult of Dionysus at Athens was no exception. Dionysus was the god of wine, theater and rebirth among other things. Some people, scholars and non-scholars alike, believe him to be the last of the Olympian gods, though he is mentioned in Linear B with other Olympic deities. He received state cult, and evidence of his worship and importance to Greek society and religion was prominent throughout all of classical Athens. Dionysus was significant and the classical Greek world ...view middle of the document...

Much of this occurred in what was presumably the most important part of the theater save the main stage, namely the orchestra. As Gebhard states in her article, Wilhelm Dörpfeld’s archaeological projects helped us uncover the physical nature of the Athenian orchestra. From here, much of the singing and dancing that was significant in Athenian plays was performed here. Actors had to fully engulf themselves into the role they were playing, in order that they may receive the cathartic effect given to them by Dionysus himself. While these aspects of theater are part of the actual play Bacchae, it has given us insight into the set-up of theater, the stage and some religious practices. From all this, it is obvious that honoring Dionysus through theater was important to invoke his favor. Since he has always been attributed to merriment and pleasure, it is not surprising that theater would be connected to the religious worship of Dionysus.
In the month of Gamelion and on the twelfth day , corresponding to our December/January, theatrical competitions were held in honor and worship of Dionysus in the form of the Lenaia. Unlike the later Great Dionysia, the Lenaia was only open to citizens. There was a short procession to initiate the Lenaia, and it began with an invocation of Dionysus, followed by his symbolic entrance with his nymhs. Athenians competing engaged in both comedic and tragic plays, with five competitors in comedy plays, and two in tragedies, along with dithyrambic melodies. In addition, secret competitions (arrheton) were held near the temple of Dionysus outside of the city in the marshes, which were directed by the Dionysian Gerairai. While our knowledge of the Lenaia may not be as comprehensive as some of the other Dionysian festivals, its importance is nonetheless highly important. Gamelion started what some scholars referred to as the time of the Lord of Souls (Dionysus) or the Dionysian Season, a time that was unquestionably sacred to the Athenian calendar. Moreover, the Lenaia was a time of birth, specifically Dionysus’s. This was the most important part of the Lenaia. The dithyrambic songs were centered around birth, and the birth of Dionysus and his genesis as the Child of Wonder. Clearly Dionysus’s reverence was palpable, as he was honored as a god of birth, and as will be discussed in the Anthesteria, a god of rebirth and renewal.

Works Cited

Jon Mikalson, Ancient Greek Religion, (Malden: Blackwell Publishing Ltd., 2010), 58.
The existence of the lesser/rustic Dionysia is recognized, but does not directly tie to Athenian worship of Dionysus, rather it relates to surrounding allied communities, so its relevance is little.
Helene Foley, "The Masque of Dionysus," Transactions of the American Philological Association (1974-), 110 (1980): 107.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid., 108.
Elizabeth Gebhard, "The Form of the Orchestra in the Early Greek Theater," Hesperia: The Journal of the American School of Classical...

Find Another Essay On The Cult of Dionysus in Classicl Athens

The Cult of Santiago Essay

1098 words - 4 pages The Cult of Santiago During the first century Europe was plagued with many different wars for political and religious agendas. At this time Christianity was still just a new trend and seen by many the way that we see doomsday cults today. Rather than making it impossible for Christianity to get a foothold in the people, the new Christianity trend used the turmoil as a doorway through which it was able to find strong followers. Saint James

The Cult of Inspiration Essay

933 words - 4 pages actors of the Star Wars franchise. Choose any book, doesn't matter which one since the content is usually the same old drivel about successful college dropouts. Proceed to pick a table, slam the book down on the same table, grab the librarian by the collar, and force him onto the chair. Turn around and walk out of the library in slow motion, preferably with your customized theme song playing over the librarian's cries for help. Despite countless

Cult of the Apple

1530 words - 6 pages Four years ago, the first iPhone was released and it still remains as a popular aspect of our technological culture today. Though it is in its fourth iteration with more to come, the iPhone continues to be one of the best selling smartphones. In a fast paced world with new technology constantly being released, the iPhone is still remarkable although some might argue that it is outdated and overhyped. This device is more than just a phone to

Dionysus: The God of Wine and Fertility

828 words - 4 pages vegitation, Telete goddess of initiation into the Bacchic Mysteries, and Thysa goddess-nymphe. The 10 mortal off springs were Deineira princess of Aitolia, Eurymedon Lord of Phlios, Keramos Lord of the Keramakios district of Athens, Maron priest of Apollon in Kikonia, Narkaios first Priest of Dionysus in Elis, Oinopion King of the island Khios, Peparethos King of the island Peparethos, Phanos an Argonaut from the island Thasos, Phliasos Lordof Phlios

Dionysus: The God of Wine includes bibliography

2034 words - 8 pages Dionysus was the god of the vine. He invented wine and spread the art of tending grapes. He had a dual nature. On one hand, he brought joy and divine ecstasy. On the other hand, he brought brutality, thoughtlessness and rage. This reflected both sides of wine's nature. If he chooses, Dionysus can drive a man mad. No normal fetters can hold him or his followers. Dionysus was the son of Zeus and Semele.Zeus came to Semele in the night, invisible

the plague of athens

1347 words - 6 pages The plague of Athens The Athenian plague was an epidemic that began in the summer of 430 B.C. in Athens—a year after the Peloponnesian war in 431 B.C. It was supposed that the plague was a result of excess number of Athenians within the city walls also known as the long walls—a military strategy by Pericles which consisted of building walls that connected the city to its port . The surplus of Athenians led to a shortage of food, water, an

The Rise of Cult Activity

2351 words - 9 pages The Rise of Cult Activity Cult activity has been on the rise over the past few decades. With it there has been an increase in the fear surrounding it. From this fear, society has learned much about cults, how they get members and what to look out for as far as cult recruiters go. Society as a whole has also learned what can be done to deal with cults. Cult activity and the fear that surrounds it Throughout the last couple of

The Cult Of True Womanhood

508 words - 2 pages The Cult of True Womanhood      The "Cult of True Womanhood" has greatly influenced society throughout all of America's history. This set of standards was first accepted and practiced by all of the European colonies. They were then passed through the generations and, in many cases, still exist. I'll describe the essay, "The Cult of True Womanhood," and discuss my views on it. I'll then illustrate

The Cult of True Womanhood

552 words - 2 pages The Cult of True WomanhoodThe 'Cult of True Womanhood' has greatly influenced society throughout all of America's history. This set of standards was first accepted and practiced by all of the European colonies. They were then passed through the generations and, in many cases, still exist. I'll describe the essay, 'The Cult of True Womanhood,' and discuss my views on it. I'll then illustrate how these standards are still present in today's

The Impact of Pericles in the City of Athens

1154 words - 5 pages himself been a military commander for Athens at the battle of Mycale in 479 B.C. Pericles name in Greek means 'Surrounded by Glory' and as is evident that was certainly to come true for Pericles was he became an influential statesman for Athens during The Peloponnesian War until his death in 429B.C.” (Rodney) From this, people assume that Pericles was a commander at heart and a fantastic man in general. Pericles was a great man because he was a risk

The Cult of True Womanhood

3536 words - 14 pages Jo March was born into a society that considered women inferior to men. The expected role for a woman was in the home. As being keepers of the home, women were in charge of taking care of their family’s need and making sure the home was in exceptional order. This lifestyle was commonly called The Cult of True Womanhood. The requirements for membership into this cult were simple: if one was a woman, their membership was guaranteed and inevitable

Similar Essays

The Indian Triumph Of Dionysus Essay

1267 words - 5 pages While visiting the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, I came across The Indian Triumph of Dionysus. Originating in Rome, it was created by a wealthy follower of Dionysus’s mystery cult in the late second century A.D. This worshiper evidently wanted to construct a sarcophagus in tribute of Dionysus’s accomplishments. Furthermore, Dionysus is surrounded by characters that are within the mystery cult because the creator wants the viewers to know with

The Cult You’re In Essay

1924 words - 8 pages get to the lane and look, there is 10 different types of water you can buy. You go pick one either because the picture is better or you seen the commercial the other day and you want it. During the length of this paper we will talk about two important writers, Kalle Lasn the writer of “The Cult You’re in” and Benoit Denizet-Lewis writer of “ The Man Behind Abercrombie & Fitch”. They both talk about similar topics that go hand and hand with each

The Growth Of Cult Essay

1268 words - 6 pages Cult films, what does it mean and what makes a film cult? Cult has been around for quite some time and the term has grown throughout the years in which it has been known. Although it has been out since the 90’s, many people are unsure of what cult is and how it is defined. In her article Cult Film or Cinephilia by Any Other Name, Elena Gorfinkel, a Professor in Cinema Studies, addresses and argues how the contemporary definition of cult is

The Cult Of Scientology Essay

2843 words - 11 pages "We are not a turn-the-other-cheek religion." With that statement on national television, Scientology cult spokesperson Liesa Goodman reiterated to America what had been patently obvious to cult watchers since the 1950s. Though polished and refined, Ms Goodman is nonetheless a hardcore Scientologist-a modern day version of the reported 6 million members of this nefarious cult, who have been forged by a Satanic theology tempering for 50 years in