Bacchus was the Roman god of wine and agriculture. He was the son of the head god Jupiter and his mother was a mortal named Semele. Bacchus had a difficult birth, in that his mother was burnt up prior to his birth by gazing upon Jupiter in his divine form. This occurred due to trickery on the part of Juno (Jupiter’s divine wife), who did not appreciate her husbands’ wandering nature. Mortals were unable to view gods in their divine form and, usually, dealt with them in a transformed state. Jupiter sowed the foetus into his thigh until Bacchus was ready to be born. Bacchus: What a god he is! Twice born and brought up by fierce Maenads, the bacchantes.
From Bacchus Myth to Bacchus Marsh
One cannot underestimate the importance of wine to the Graeco-Roman ancient world. Dionysus was the name of the Greek god of wine and agriculture, from which the Romans borrowed their version of the same. Even Down Under, we have the town of Bacchus Marsh, named after Captain William Henry Bacchus. Whose family name may well have its origin in the great god Bacchus, somewhere down the line. Thus, we have the grape god inspiring even a dentist in the Australian town of Bacchus Marsh, albeit indirectly.
The Grape Graces Us with the Semi-Divine
Homo sapiens seem to enjoy naming the prosaic with high falutin monikers. A track becomes a street and is, then, graced with the name of some divinity, hero, king or queen. We invest our little lives with aspirational conceptions in an attempt to ensure that we are perceived as more than two legged animals. Our love of wine, of getting pissed, is recognised as a semi-divine state in ode to the great god Bacchus. Drinking wine on the couch was a sign of status in the ancient Roman world. There were slaves to serve their masters and mistresses, as they reclined on their dining couches, with cups in hand.
A fit looking bearded bloke with bunches of grapes in hand, he does not look like a big imbiber (perhaps Bacchus does not get high on his own supply). Bacchus was an inspirational force for art, love and an energy beyond the rational. Wild women would rip apart their victims on mountainsides, like beasts in the wild. These maenads were in service to the great god Bacchus. It did not do to get on the wrong side of Bacchus in the ancient world.