Dionysos and the Symposium
Wine, Poets, and Performers in Ancient Greece
God of wine, intoxicated ecstasy, and theater: Dionysos was, for good reason, the most popular of all Greek gods. He gave the ancients the gift of wine and, in his role as god of the grape harvest and wine making, ensured a key economic industry for many Greek cities. His worship took the form of celebration; festivals in his honor, often held outdoors, featured recitations, song, and dance, which developed into theater as we know it today. This gallery transports visitors to an era in which guests reclined on couches at elite symposia and where the images on jars, cups, and mixing bowls might provide topics for conversation: the heroic past, the day’s theatrical life, and, of course, the gods—especially Dionysos, whose image and spirit pervaded drinking and merriment in all its forms.