A deity revered by the Greeks and called Bacchus by the Romans, he is generally known as the god of wine. His worship, perhaps of Phrygian origin, was highly celebrated in Athens, so much so that the theatre of Dionysus represented by the biggest Greek tragedians between the 6th and 5th centuries BC, Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, became the most represented in the entire Mediterranean.
Veneration of the god made its entrance onto the Italic peninsula after the 2nd century BC, in the Bacchanalia, an orgiastic rite.
In Rome, Bacchus was linked to nature, vegetation and water, the vital element of the nymphs. He was represented in different ways, with the feminine beauty of a man, usually naked and only covered by a panther skin, the pardalis. He often appears drunk, with his head surrounded by grape vine leaves and holding a cup of wine or a thyrsus, or with an animal-like appearance, a symbol of the irrational forces of nature, accompanied by his priestesses, satyrs and sileni.