Cosmogony and Eschatology in Eastern Mediterranean Religions: Similarities, Differences, Processes

The Dionysian retinue

The primary goal of this project was to assemble as much material as possible for the purpose of analysing the presence of the god Dionysus in the earliest ages of Greek culture: the Mycenaean and archaic periods. The project analysed texts and images in their different contexts from a diachronic perspective.

It is obvious that the images of such a multiform god, the myths in which he appears, the powers he is attributed and the rites performed in his honour were significantly different in the Mycenaean, archaic and classical worlds. In fact, they do not even coincide in the various literary genres where he is mentioned or the iconographic support surfaces on which he is depicted. For this reason, it was important to create a profile of Dionysus in each chronological or geographic sphere, each literary genre and each image type, in order to understand how this deity’s multiple identities came into being during the oldest periods accessible to us as researchers.

With regard to the images, the study distinguished between images of the god himself and images of his cults and festivals. This was done to systematise and compare the data contained in texts and images, and briefly outline the conclusions that can be drawn from that information.


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