Why Underestimating Dionysus is the Worst Mistake You Could Make
As I began to write this, I realized that there was no scorn for me to convey. I am not raging over any sort of misinterpretation of Dionysus, as it seems most authors who reference him have studied enough of Hellenistic lore and culture to understand his influence well enough. In all actuality, I find myself laughing at any misinterpretation of him (though the only one I can think of is Rick Riordan’s, but at this point, the question is whether he really can do much right. But I digress.) It is indeed a mistake to underestimate Dionysus and his influence over Greek myth and society; but more than that, it is so truly interesting to see how not only the Greeks viewed him, but how authors of more modern periods treat him as well.
Dionysus is commonly known as the god of wine and parties, and (uncommonly today it seems) a symbol of religious ecstasy and euphoria. He is a late addition to the Greek pantheon, having been the last one to be added, and is the only one of the pantheon to be half mortal, half god (he was the son of Semele and Zeus.)
I suppose this is a very interesting place to start, as his heritage is incredibly important. For starters, he is half human. He is the only god in the pantheon to be the descendant of a god and a mortal. His childhood consists of him living on Earth and traveling across Asia Minor, learning about and teaching others about the merits of the grape vine and the harvest.