Bacchus was the Roman god of agriculture, wine and fertility, equivalent to the Greek god Dionysus. His plants were vines and twirling ivy. He carried a pinecone-topped staff, and his followers were goat-footed Satyrs and Maenads, wild women who danced energetically during his festivals. Bacchus is the son of Jupiter.
Bacchus was often depicted as an handsome androgynous youth, with a long hair. He also depicted as an older man sometimes. He is often holding a drinking cup and wearing a stylish crown of ivy on top of his head.
The Latin name “Bacchus” descended from the Greek word Bakkhos, an epithet of the god Dionysus. That word Bakkhos was itself derived from the term bakkheia, a Greek word used to describe the frenzied, ecstatic state that the god produced in people. In appropriating the name “Bacchus,” then, the Latins were claiming an aspect of Dionysus for their own god.
“Bacchus” could also be related to the Latin word bacca, meaning “a berry” or “the fruit of a tree or shrub.” In this context, such a word could be referencing grapes, the key ingredient in wine.
Bacchus was the child of Jupiter and Semélé, a human whom Juno had tricked into asking to see Jupiter as he really was. Since she was a mortal, she was burned up by the sight of Jupiter in his divine form. So Jupiter sewed the infant Bacchus into his thigh, and gave birth to him nine months later. As a child, Bacchus was tutored by Silenus, who was a great lover of wine and often had to be carried on the back of a donkey. Before he took his place at the Heaven, Bacchus wandered the world for many years, going as far as India to teach people how to grow vines.
|Gods and goddesses of Roman mythology|
|Classical deities||Apollo • Bacchus/Liber • Diana • Ceres • Cupid • Faunus • Fortuna • Juno • Jupiter • Lares • Mars • Mercury • Minerva • Neptune • Pluto • Proserpina • Quirinus • Vejovis • Venus • Vesta • Vulcan|
|Other deities/articles||Genius • Hercules • Dei Lucrii • Eventus Bonus • Furina • Portunes • Mystery religions • Osirus • Isis • Cybele • Attis • Mithras • Sol Invictus|
|Roman mythology articles|
|Deities||Apollo • Bacchus • Bellona • Bona Dea • Castor and Pollux • Ceres • Cupid • Diana • Dīs Pater • Egeria • Fauna • Faunus • Flora • Genius • Hercules • Janus • Juno • Jupiter • Lares • Liber • Libertas • Mars • Mercury • Minerva • Orcus • Neptune • Penates • Pluto • Pomona • Priapus • Proserpina • Quirinus • Saturn • Silvanus • Sol • Venus • Vesta • Vulcan|
|Groups||Demideities • Deities • Titans|
|Creatures||Faun • Siren • Centaur|