Posts Tagged ‘Dionysus’

►Greek Mythology: “Dionysian Mysteries”:

 guarda_griega1_2Cortege Dionysus

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Dionysus is best known in Greek mythology as the god of wine, but he has also been associated with peace, agriculture, law, civilization, and most especially, the theatre. In Thrace he was known as Eleutherios, “the Liberator,” or Liber Pater, “the Free One,” because he freed people through drunken ectasy

The place of origin of the Hellenic Dionysian Mysteries is unknown, but they almost certainly first came to Greece with the importation of wine, which is widely believed to have originated, in the West, around 6000 BC in one of two places, either in the Zagros Mountains (the borderlands of Mesopotamia and Persia, both with their own rich wine culture since then) or from the ancient wild vines on the mountain slopes of Libya / North Africa (the source of early Egyptian wine from around 2500 BC, and home of many ecstatic rites), quite probably from both

Wine probably also entered Greece over land from Asia Minor. But it was most likely in Minoan Crete that the eclectic ‘wine cult’, that would become the Dionysian Mysteries, first emerged

The basic principle beneath the original initiations, other than the seasonal death-rebirth theme supposedly common to all vegetation cults (such as the Osirian, which closely parallels the Dionysian), was one of spirit possession and atavism. This in turn was closely associated with the effects of the wine. The spirit possession involved the invocation of spirits by means of the bull roarer, followed by communal dancing to drum and pipe, with characteristic movements (such as the backward head flick) found in all trance inducing cults.

Unlike many trance cults however, the Dionysian rites were primarily atavistic, that is the participant was possessed by animal spirits and bestial entities, rather than intelligible divinities, and may even “transform into animals”. A practise preserved by the riteof the “goat and panther men” of the “heretical” Aissaoua Sufi cult of North Africa, and remembered in the satyrs and sileni of the Dionysian procession, and perhaps even the “bull man”, or Minotaur, of the chthonic Minoan labyrinth.

The purpose of this atavism is controversial, some see it simply as a Greek saturnalian catharsis, a ritualised release of repressed elements of civilised psychology, and temporary inversion, in order to preserve it, others see it as a return to the “chaotic” sources of being and essentially a reaction against civilisation, while yet others regard it as a magical connection with chthonic powers

In the late 1800s A.D., the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche elaborated the dichotomy Apollonian- Dionysian in his book “The Birth of Tragedy”, arguing that the Apollonian principal corresponded to the principium individuationis, the principal of individualization, a concept coined by German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. This is because rational thought defines and thus compartmentalizes forms into different structures.

Nietzsche rather identified with the Dionysian principal that corresponded to Schopenhauer’s conception of Will, the principal of submerging oneself into a greater whole. Music, drunkenness, dancing, and madness were considered Dionysian characteristics because they apply to the instinctive, chaotic, and ecstatic side of the human mind. 

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“The Initiation Chamber”. Villa of The Mysteries. Pompeii. (79 CE).-

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►”Dyonisiac Frieze, Villa of Mysteries, Pompeii” (In English):

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•Further Information: “The Villa of the Mysteries” or “Villa dei Misteri” is a well preserved ruin of a Roman Villa which lies some 400 metres northwest of Pompeii, southern Italy.

The Villa is named for the paintings in one room of the residence. This space is decorated with very fine frescoes, dated 79 B.C. Although the actual subject of the frescoes is hotly debated, the most common interpretation of the images is scenes of the initiation of a woman into a special cult of Dionysus, mystery cult  hat required specific rites and rituals to become a member.

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►Gallery: “Dionysian Mysteries”:

 

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►Links Post:
http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/LX/DionysianMysteries.html
http://www.lost-history.com/mysteries.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villa_of_the_Mysteries
http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/dionysiac-frieze-villa-of-the-mysteries.html
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►Greek Mythology and Philosophy:

“The Dichotomy Apollonian -Dionysian”, according to Friedrich Nietzsche:

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ApolloDionysusDuality

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Apollonian and Dionysian are terms used by Nietzsche in his book “The Birth of Tragedy” to designate the two central principles in Greek culture. 

Apollo was the son of zeus and Leto. Artemis was his twin sister. He was the greek god of prophecy, music, intellectual pursuits, healing, plague, and sometimes, the sun.

Writers often contrast the cerebral, beardless young Apollo with his half-brother, the hedonistic Dionysus.

As to Dionysus, he was the son of Zeus and Semele. Dionysus was the greek god of wine, agriculture, and fertility of nature. He was also related to mystery religions, such as those practised at Eleusis, being linked to ecstasy and initiation into secret rites.

Apollo, as the sun-god, represents light, clarity, and form, whereas Dionysus, as the wine-god, represents drunkenness and ecstasy.

The Apollonian, which corresponds to Schopenhauer’s principium individuationis (“principle of individuation”), is the basis of all analytic distinctions.

Everything that is part of the unique individuality of man or thing is Apollonian in character; all types of form or structure are Apollonian, since form serves to define or individualize that which is formed; thus, sculpture is the most Apollonian of the arts, since it relies entirely on form for its effect. Rational thought is also Apollonian since it is structured and makes distinctions.

The Dionysian, which corresponds to Schopenhauer’s conception of “Will”, is directly opposed to the Apollonian.

Drunkenness and madness are Dionysian because they break down a man’s individual character; all forms of enthusiasm and ecstasy are Dionysian, for in such states man gives up his individuality and submerges himself in a greater whole: music is the most Dionysian of the arts, since it appeals directly to man’s instinctive, chaotic emotions and not to his formally reasoning mind.

“Dionysian spirit” is defined in the philosophy of Nietzsche, as displaying creative-intuitive power as opposed to critical-rational power.

But, both of them, the Apollonian and the Dionysian are necessary in the creation of art. Without the Apollonian, the Dionysian lacks the form and structure to make a coherent piece of art, and without the Dionysian, the Apollonian lacks the necessary vitality and passion. Although they are diametrically opposed, they are also intimately intertwined.

The Greek tragedies of Aeschylus and Sophocles, which Nietzsche considers to be among humankind’s greatest accomplishments, achieve their sublime effects by taming Dionysian passions by means of the Apollonian. Greek tragedy evolved out of religious rituals featuring a chorus of singers and dancers, and it achieved its distinctive shape when two or more actors stood apart from the chorus as tragic actors. The chorus of a Greek tragedy is not the “ideal spectator,” as some scholars believe, but rather the representation of the primal unity achieved through the Dionysian. By witnessing the fall of a tragic hero, we witness the death of the individual, who is absorbed back into the Dionysian primal unity. Because the Apollonian impulses of the Greek tragedians give form to the Dionysian rituals of music and dance, the death of the hero is not a negative, destructive act but rather a positive, creative affirmation of life through art.

Unfortunately, the golden age of Greek tragedy lasted less than a century and was brought to an end by the combined influence of Euripides and Socrates. Euripides shuns both the primal unity induced by the Dionysian and the dreamlike state induced by the Apollonian, and instead he turns the Greek stage into a platform for morality and rationality.

One of Nietzsche’s concerns in “The Birth of Tragedy” is to address the question of the best stance to take toward existence and the world. He criticizes his own age for being overly rationalistic, for assuming that it is best to treat existence and the world primarily as objects of knowledge, which is for him meaningless.

Greek tragedy as Nietzsche understands it cannot coexist in a world of Socratic rationality.

Tragedy gains its strength from exposing the depths that lie beneath our rational surface, whereas Socrates insists that we become fully human only by becoming fully rational.

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Dionysus.-

Dionysus (on the right side).-

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Check out: “The Birth of Tragedy (1872), by Friedrich Nietzsche”:

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Click on the cover book to read it.-

Click on the cover book to read it.-

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"Apollo Playing the Lyre" by Charles Philippe Lariviere.-

“Apollo Playing the Lyre” by Charles Philippe Lariviere (1825/1830).-

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"Dionysus drunk by Tsarouchis (1972).-

“Dionysus drunk by Yannis Tsarouchis (1972).-

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►Links Post:
http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/nietzsche/section1.rhtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Birth_of_Tragedy
http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/Mythology/Dionysus.html
http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Apollon.html
http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/apollomyth/ig/Apollo/Apollo-and-Other-Olympian-Gods.htm
http://mythologian.net/apollo-the-god-of-sun-music-prophecy-and-healing/

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►Mythology:

“Dionysus, Greek God of Wine and Fertility”:

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"The Youth of Bacchus (Dionysus)" by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1884).-

“The Youth of Bacchus (Dionysus)” by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1884).-

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Dionysus, also commonly known by his Roman name Bacchus and sometimes Liber, appears to be a god who has two distinct origins.

On the one hand, Dionysus was the god of wine, agriculture, and fertility of nature.

On the other hand, Dionysus also represents the outstanding features of mystery religions, such as those practiced at Eleusis: ecstasy, personal delivery from the daily world through physical or spiritual intoxication, and initiation into secret rites. 

He was son of the king of the Greek gods, Zeus, and Semele, the mortal daughter of Cadmus and Harmonia of Thebes. Dionysus is called “twice born” because of the unusual manner in which he grew: not only in a womb, but also in a thigh.

►Dionysus’ Birth:

Hera, queen of the gods, jealous because her husband was playing around (again), took characteristic revenge: She punished the woman. In this case, Semele.

Zeus had visited Semele in human form, but claimed to be a god. Hera persuaded her that she needed more than his word that he was divine. Zeus knew the sight of him in all his splendor would prove fatal, but he had no choice, so he revealed himself. His lightning brightness killed Semele, but first, Zeus took the unborn from her womb and sewed it inside his thigh. There it gestated until it was time for birth.

►Companions of Dionysus:

Dionysus is usually shown in the company of others who are enjoying the fruit of the vine. Silenus or multiple sileni and nymphs engaged in drinking, flute-playing, dancing, or amorous pursuits are the most common companions.  

Depictions of Dionysus may also include Maenads, the human women made mad by the wine god. 

Silenus is a woodland creature from Greek mythology who is part man and part animal, and a companion of Dionysus. He is shown with horse ears and sometimes horse legs and tail.

The Nymphs of Nysa raised the infant Dionysus on Mt. Nysa. Later on, they became his followers. They appear in the Homeric Hymn to Dionysus. Unlike the human Maenads, another group of female followers of Dionysus, the nymphs follow him willingly and without madness. 

He is usually ivy-wreathed and wears a chiton and often an animal skin. Other attributes of Dionysus are wine, vines, ivy, panthers, leopards, and theater.

Writers often contrast Dionysus with his half-brother Apollo. Where Apollo personifies the cerebral aspects of mankind, Dionysus represents the libido and gratification.

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Dionysius (details on ancient greek vases).-

Dionysius (details on ancient greek vases).-

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"The Boy Bacchus" Detail of the painting with grapes ornamenting the head of Bacchus (Dionysus) by  Guido Reni

“The Boy Bacchus” Detail of the painting with grapes ornamenting the head of Bacchus (Dionysus), by Guido Reni.-

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"Bacchus" by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1595).-

“Bacchus” by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1595).-

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►Links Post:
http://www.pantheon.org/articles/d/dionysus.html 
http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Dionysos.html 
http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/bl/bl_text_homerhymn_dionysus2.htm
http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/dionysusmyth/g/092509NymphsNysa.htm

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 ►Last but not Least: Two Awards:

I) My italian blogger friend Omar from Ramo Di Parole has nominated me for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Tante Grazie, caro Omar 😀

►Here are the Awards Rules:

1) The nominee shall display the Very Inspiring Blogger Award logo on her/his blog.

2) The nominee shall nominate fifteen (15) bloggers she/he admires, by linking to their blogs and informing them about it.

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Very Inspiring Blogger Award.-

Very Inspiring Blogger Award.-

►Here are my fifteen (15) nominees for this award:

1. Poet Smith 2. Inese Photo 3. The echo of the whole sea 4.  A window into the woods 5. A journey of faith 6. Pavement stories 7. A pondering mind 8. T Ibara Photo 9. Desirée Jiménez 10. A curious gal 11. Not a Punk Rocker 12. The task at hand 13. Taking one day at a time 14. Wing of dreams 15. Crazy guy in Thailand 

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II) Mi amiga blogger Desirée Jiménez desde Atrevo la Palabra me ha nominado para un Premio Dardos. Mil Gracias, Desirée 😛

►Aquí están las reglas del Premio:

1) Ubicar el logo del Premio Dardos en el blog.

2) Nominar a otros quince (15) bloggers, enlazando a sus respectivos blogs e informándolos de la nominación.

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Premio Dardos.-

Premio Dardos.-

► Mis quince (15) nominados para este premio son:

1. En Humor Arte 2. I lost my lens cap 3.Té con sal 4. A solas con Caronte 5. Sendero blog 6. Bella espíritu 7. Ramo di parole 8. Fábula Gótica 9. Rotze Mardini 10. El tiempo habitado 11. Los sentidos de la vida 12. Arcilla y Fuego 13. Lo que ahora mismo pienso 14. Francisco Javier Tostado 15. Ser nosotros mismos.

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