The maenads were the three daughters of Minyas, King of Orchomenus, a city near Thebes. According to the mythological story, the young women were not interested in worshipping Dionysus, who, irritated, drove the sisters to madness. The story ends with the intervention of Hermes, the Roman Mercury, who transformed the young girls into three nocturnal creatures: bat, owl and eagle-owl. The maenads were part of the Dionysian procession and accompanied the god on his journeys, including as protective warriors.
The maenads were specifically followers of the god Dionysus, while the women who worshipped the god were called “Bacchae”, in an ecstatic frenzy and driven mad by him. The name bacchae derives from Bacchus attributed to Dionysus, then from the Romans.