Dionysos was frequently associated with wild animals, and had the ability to take on their appearance, often in dramatic circumstances.

Compared to Demeter, the goddess of growth and the grain harvest, who is associated with domesticated animals, Dionysos acts as mediator between the wild and destructive forces of nature and the order of Greek civilisation. Dionysos’ ability to transform himself, and others, was a key part of his power.


Show yourself as a bull in appearance, or a many-headed serpent, or a lion blazing like fire! Go, O Bacchus!

- Euripides, Bacchae, 1017-20