Bacchus was the god of the grape-harvest, winemaking and wine, fertility, ritual madness and religious ecstasy in Roman religion.

Symbols: Grapevine, ivy
Parents: Jupiter
Consort: Ariadne
Festivals: Bacchanalia
Greek equivalent: Dionysus

Dionysos Louvre Ma87 n2.jpg
Statue of Bacchus, 2nd c. AD, Louvre. (c) Marie-Lan Nguyen

The mystery cult of Bacchus was brought to Rome from the Greek culture of southern Italy or by way of Greek-influenced Etruria. It was established around 200 BC in the Aventine grove of Stimula by a priestess from Campania, near the temple where Liber Pater had a State-sanctioned, popular cult. Liber was a native Roman god of wine and fertility, and Bacchus and Liber were often equated with each other.

Bust of Bacchus from the temple of Liber Pater, 1st c. AD. (c) Sailko
Bacchuus triumph, a mosaic from the House of Poseidon, Zeugma Mosaic Museum. (c) Dosseman
The over-life size 2nd c. AD Ludovisi Dionysus, with panther, satyr and grapes on a vine, Palazzo Altemps, Rome.
Epiphany of Bacchus mosaic, from the Villa of Dionysus, 2nd c. AD, in Dion, Greece.
A Roman fresco depicting Bacchus with red hair, Boscoreale, c. 30 BC.
A Roman mosaic from Antioch representing Dionysos. 2nd-3rd c. AD.
Marble head of Bacchus, 2nd c. AD, Capitoline Museum, Rome. (c) Raffaele Pagani

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