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The legend of Zagreus is one of the strangest stories in Greek
mythology. Zagreus was born after Zeus disguised
himself as a serpent and ravished Persephone.
The god wanted to make Zagreus his heir and eventually confer world
upon himself. But the Fates decided otherwise. In order to escape Hera's
jealousy, Zeus entrusted the little child to the
care of Apollo and the Curetes, who hid him in
the forests of the Parnassus. But Hera discovered where the child was
and ordered the Titans to abduct him. Zagreus changed into a bull, but
to escape the Titans, who cut him to pieces and devoured him, half raw and
half cooked. Athena
and Apollo rushed to the scene of the disaster, but they were too late; they were able to save only pieces of the divine child. But these included the heart of Zagreus, which was still beating. Zeus absorbed it and regenerated the child within his own body, and then he took the name of Iacchus. Following this he became more or less confused with Dionysus and figured in the mysteries of Eleusis. His previous fate made him able to be the patron of any religion of rebirth and immortality, because in the Titan's banquet he had lost his entire mortal life and in returned obtained divine life. A.G.H.
Grimal, Pierre, Larousse World Mythology, Secaucus, New Jersey, Chartwell Books, 1965, p. 121