Everyone knows Dionysus, the god of wine (among other things). Some knew him especially well, though. Who were his main friends?

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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I'd like to answer the question from the point of view of the Romans. In 186 BC, one of the most interesting things happened in Roman history. Rome persecuted the devotees of Bacchus. Like lightning, the consuls of Rome acted to stop this religious group. Altars were broken down (with the few exception of those altars that were ancient), many devotees were killed and many more were imprisioned. We can read about this event in Livy (book 39) and in a bronze inscription that was discovered in Apulia. In the light of this, the friends of Dionysus were: men and women of Rome - real people, real followers. It is so easy to forget that the gods of Rome and Greece made an impact in the lives of people and that people actually paid their respects.

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jilllessa | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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Dionysus was a complex god.  Because he was the god of wine, he epitomized the the two sides of wine.  He could be kind and generous to mankind, just as wine can have good effects on man, but he could also be cruel and drive men to evil and uncontrolled deeds, just as wine and its inebriation could bring out the dark side of men's natures. 

 Thus his friends and companions reflected both sides of himself.  His father was Zeus who protected him even more furiously than Dionysus protected himself.  Adriane, Princess of Crete whom Theseus of Athens abandoned, was a special friend of Dionysus.  He loved her and when she died he took a crown he had given her and placed it among the stars. 

More negatively, as mentioned above, he was often accompanied by Silenus, the old man on his donkey.  Silenus was thought to be the son of Pan and rode the donkey because he was too drunk to walk.  Silenus had originally been Dionysus teacher, but seduced by drink, he became his follower.  The final companions of Dionysus were much more frightful; the Meanads were women that followed him in a frightful frenzy of drunkenness.  They represented the truly ugly and degrading side of wine.  They destroyed all that they met tearing flesh from bone in an ecstatic frenzy, singing and dancing all the while.

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sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Friends of Dionysus included Silenus, an elderly man who encountered King Midas, which led to the wish to turn things to gold.  Icarius was also a friend of the god, and Dionysus taught this man to make wine.  Unfortunately, the first Athenians that Icarius offered the wine to were inexperienced with alcohol, and believed Icarius had poisoned them.  They beat Icarius to death.  Dionysus retaliated by causing a madness to overcome all the girls in Athens.

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pete10000 | Student | eNotes Newbie

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