Black-Figure Amphora with Dionysos and two satyrs.
Dionysus ("twice-born") was the god of wine in ancient Greek mythology. He was known to the Romans as Bacchus. Wine was viewed as a feature of civilization and Dinoysus (as Bacchus) was seen by the Romans as the patron of civilized activities such as the law, agriculture, theatre, and the promotion of peace. However, he had a more serious and dangerous side (see The Bacchae)
The bacchanal, often portrayed as the innocent and charming play of satyrs and nymphs, was patently immoral:
- "The intention and chief effect of the bacchanal was to liberate the instinctive life in man from the bondage imposed upon it by reason and social custom."