Bacchus was born of Jupiter and Semele, the daughter of Kadmos, who was deified only after her death by fire on Olympus. Bacchus was brought up through childhood by a wet nurse Ino (Leukothea); and as a youth was entrusted to the satyr Silenus. He is depicted as a youthful figure wearing ivy or grape crown and carrying a wand or thyrsus. Also, he frequently rides in a chariot drawn by leopards.

Being the god of wine and intoxication, like his Greek counterpart Dionysus, his court included female Bacchanites, nymphs, fauns, and satyrs. Bacchus was widely worshipped and commanded a number of festivals including the Liberalia and Bacchanalia. These possessed strong phallic connotations that caused the god on occasions to be represented by a modeled phallus. A.G.H.


Grimal, Pierre, Larousse World Mythology, Secaucus, New Jersey, Chartwell Books, 1965, p. 138
Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 38