Ever since I read the book by Dr. Ved Prakash about the ancient Hindu books like the Vedas and their Hebrew connection, Greek and Roman Mythology along with Hebrew tales have interested me greatly. Greek mythology is perhaps the oldest of the western philosophy and one god who commands great attention is the Dionysus, the god of wine.Dionysus was worshiped somewhere between 1100-1500 BC by the Greeks. He was a creation of mythology and in those days any event which was propitious or trend making was assigned a god. With the discovery of the effects of grapes and their fermentation into wine, the god Dionysus emerged. Nobody can tell how a myth is created, but sometimes there is an element of truth in such cases. Dionysus the god of wine soon was worshiped and an entire set of rituals came into existence, some of which survive to this day.
One of the rituals involved couples en masse getting together and singing and dancing while drinking wine made from grapes. It was a great occasion for merriment and it was not uncommon for men and women to pair up and head for the woods, as the wine broke all inhibitions. It was a greatly looked forward event and many visitors from Persia and Egypt wanted to witness these festivals in the hope that they also would be allowed to participate.
The Romans later on also began to worship a derivative of Dionysus in the form of a god of wine who they called Bacchus. The festival was similar, but as per Roman historians, the festival normally ended in an orgy.
The myth regarding Dionysus makes interesting reading. As per the myth, the king of Gods Zeus was loved by a mortal woman named Semele, who was extremely beautiful and fair. Zeus loved her immensely, but he always met her in darkness as no mortal is supposed to see a god. Semele, however, insisted that she wanted to see her lover and Zeus was forced to oblige. After mating with her, Zeus one night revealed himself to her. The sight of Zeus naked as a god dazzled Semele and she died. Zeus was heartbroken and as Semele was with child he plucked her fetus and nurtured it, till the god Dionysus was born. He was thus the son of Zeus.
The myth has come down from that age, but the actions of the Greeks after consuming wine is about similar in the modern age. Alcohol and wine do dull the senses and throw inhibitions to the winds.