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The power of Dionysos could only be fully expressed in a group, who gave up their individual identity for the god.

Consequently, Dionysos was usually depicted in the company of his thiasos, a ritual band who came together to revel in his presence through wine, dance, and music.

This group included satyrs (half man, half animal), and maenads (frenzied women) in service of the god.

Hail, master, master, come then to join our thiasos, O Bromios, O Roaring-one.

- Euripides, Bacchae, 582-84 

       

Amphora with Dionysos and Thiasos

Amphora with Thiasos

Dionysos is one of the only Greek gods frequently shown in the company of followers. Here he is flanked by pairs of satyrs and maenads. Dionysos holds a rhyton (drinking horn) and is crowned by vine or ivy.

Likewise the maenads, with arms raised in frenzied dance, are crowned, while the bearded satyrs dance on the periphery, recognisable by their tails. The thiasos was a mythical group, but was replicated in festivals, where all members of the polis (city-state) came together in worship. At several Athenian festivals, men and boys paraded through the streets dressed as satyrs, singing                                                                                      bawdy songs and hurling abuse at onlookers.

Followers