Photographer's Note

Mosaic floor detail: Dionysus finding Ariadne sleeping on Naxos. Mosaic from a Roman private house that was excavated in the centre of Thessaloniki. Beginning of 3rd century A.D.

Dionysus is also spelled as Dionysos in Greece. He is the god of the grape harvest, wine, fertility, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, and theatre in ancient Greek religion and myth. He is also known as Bacchus, the name adopted by the Romans.

Wine played an important role in Greek culture, and the cult of Dionysus was the main religious focus surrounding its consumption. Wine and grapes were seen as not only a gift of the god but a symbolic incarnation of him on earth. However, rather than being a god of drunkenness, as he was often stereotyped in the post-Classical era. The religion of Dionysus centered on the correct consumption of wine, which could ease suffering and bring joy, as well as inspire divine madness distinct from drunkenness.

Performance art and drama were also central to his religion, and its festivals were the initial driving force behind the development of theatre.

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Additional Photos by Alex Fan Moniz (LondonBoy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 102 W: 0 N: 772] (2866)
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