Mythology

Bacchus, The God of Wine and Vegetation

Bacchus, in Greek mythology, was the god of wine and vegetation. He showed mortals how to cultivate grapevines and make wine.

As the son of Zeus, Bacchus is usually characterized in one of two ways:

First, as the god of vegetation specifically of the fruit of the trees. Eventually, he became the popular Greek god of wine and cheer, and wine miracles were reputedly performed at certain of his festivals. According to tradition, Bacchus died each winter and was reborn in the spring. To his followers, this cyclical revival, accompanied by the seasonal renewal of the fruits of the earth, embodied the promise of the resurrection of the dead.

The yearly rites in honor of the resurrection of Bacchus gradually evolved into the structured form of the Greek drama, and important festivals were held in honor of the god, during which great dramatic competitions were conducted.