Dionysos: Portrait of a God

Dionysos Exhibit Header

Dionysos, protective god of the vine, was also the god of regeneration and transformation. He offered his ecstatic followers the opportunity to transcend their everyday lives through cult, theatre, the mysteries, and ultimately, the afterlife.

Unlike other gods, Dionysos was a powerful self-revelatory role model to his initiates. Although his image and cult were defined by very distinct features, he also played an important part in mainstream Greek religion, particularly as god of wine and of the theatre. Dionysiac ritual was accompanied by revelry and license.

Of all the Greek gods, Dionysos’ image was the most frequently represented in art. He was a god whose character was based on illusion, transformation, ambiguity, impersonation and the coexistence of opposite traits. He was thus both man and beast, male and effeminate, youthful and mature. We invite you to explore a few of the many faces of Dionysos and his playful, mysterious and, at times, dark world.

I salute you, Dionysos of the abundant grape clusters: grant that we may come again in happiness at the due time, and time after time for many a year.

- Homeric Hymn 26 to Dionysos


Curated by Dr Janette McWilliam, Mr James Donaldson and Ms Rebecca Smith, 2018.
Physical Exhibition converted to Omeka online format for the RD Milns Antiquities Museum by Ms Alessandra Schultz, 2019.
Dionysos: Portrait of a God