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Episode Two: Red, Red Wine

It’s a new year and THANK GOD 2020 is behind us. We suspect many of you may have had a drink or two last night saying goodbye to this shitshow of a year, so we thought: who better to soothe your hangover than the god of revelry himself? That’s right, today we’re bringing you DIONYSUS, the god of wine, ecstasy, madness, theatre, generally cool animals, partying, and all-round goodness. He is, without a doubt, the SEXIEST god of the Greco-Roman pantheon.

In this episode, you’ll hear about some of the main associations of the god, Dionysus (or Bacchus if you’re Roman). Abi gets to nerd out about one of her favourite Greek drinking vessels, Sarah gets to nerd out about Greek theatre, and we revel (geddit?) in the glory that is the wine god. We’ve got stories about kidnapping pirates who get turned into dolphins, a chariot pulled by panthers, Emperor Hadrian’s boyfriend, some good-old Roman bureaucracy, Zeus giving birth from his thigh, and even a bit of Egyptian mythology (or at least we try anyway...).

Full of mystery, scandal and intrigue, Dionysus is sometimes thought of as the new kid on the pantheon block, as a foreign god with unknown origins; but in this episode, we’ll be revealing just how old the link between booze and religion is and just how deeply intertwined Dionysus was with the heart of Greek culture and civilisation itself.

So, if you can stomach it, raise a glass to Dionysus and get stuck into his fantastical world.

The first feature this week comes from Catullus, Carmina 64 and the closing feature is from The Bacchae by Euripides.


Unknown Author, Homeric Hymns 1, 7 & 26

Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book 3.253-315 (birth of Dionysus); Book 3.572-691 (metamorphosis of the pirates); Book 3.511-733 (death of Pentheus); Book 6.401-674 (the tale of Philomela and Procne); Book 8.152-182 (Ariadne and Bacchus)

Ovid, Heroides 10 (Ariadne and Bacchus)

Nonnus, Dionysiaca

Plato, Timaeus, 91c (the wandering womb)

Euripides, Bacchae

Livy, ab Urbe Condita, Book 39.14-18 (senatorial decree banning Bacchanalia)

Pliny, Historia Naturalis, Book 7.57 (Dionysus as inventor of the triumph)

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