And as I sat, over the light blue hills
There came a noise of revelers: the rills
Into the wide stream came of purple hue-
'Twas Bacchus and his crew!
The earnest trumpet spake, and silver trills
From kissing cymbals made a merry din-
'Twas Bacchus and his kin!
Like to a moving vintage down they came,
Crown'd with green leaves, and faces all on flame ;
All madly dancing through the pleasant valley.

— Keats

The god of wine and vegetation, who showed mortals how to cultivate grapevines and make wine. He is good and gentle to those who honor him but he brings madness and destruction upon those who spurn him or the orgiastic rituals of his cult. According to tradition, Dionysus dies each winter and is reborn in the spring. To his followers this cyclical revival, accompanied by the seasonal renewal of the fruits of the earth, embodies the promise of the resurrection of the dead. The yearly rites in honor of the resurrection of Dionysus gradually evolved into the structured form of the Greek drama, and important festivals are held in honor of Dionysus during which great dramatic competitions are conducted. The most important festival, the Greater Dionysia, is held in Athens for five days each spring. It is for this celebration that the Greek dramatists Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides wrote their great tragedies.

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