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Dionysos' Rebirth

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Dionysos' Rebirth

Post  AgathonZante on Tue Nov 17, 2015 12:08 am

The most common version of the rebirth of Dionysos, seemingly is the one where Zeus placed Him in His thigh after Semele is killed and rebirths Him. But I have also heard a version which states that Dionysos, as a child, we ripped apart by some of the Titans, leaving only His heart behind. Zeus took that heart and placed it in the womb of Semele and Dionysos was reborn through her. Is there any ancient basis for this version?

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Re: Dionysos' Rebirth

Post  Human on Wed Nov 18, 2015 10:52 am

I believe the first version is the Athenian version of the myth and the second is the Cretan version. The entire Cretan version is that Zeus had a kid Zagerus with Persephone, Hera was jealous and plotted so that the Titans would devour the child. The Titans ate everything but the heart before Zeus struck them with lightning and they turned to ash then Athena retrieved Zagerus' heart meanwhile humanity arose from the ashes. Now from here the myth varies from sources but it's believed Zeus put him in his thigh, recreated him in the womb of Semele, or gave her the heart to eat which then impregnated her.

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Re: Dionysos' Rebirth

Post  Thrasyvoulos on Thu Nov 19, 2015 5:29 am

AgathonZante wrote:The most common version of the rebirth of Dionysos, seemingly is the one where Zeus placed Him in His thigh after Semele is killed and rebirths Him. But I have also heard a version which states that Dionysos, as a child, we ripped apart by some of the Titans, leaving only His heart behind. Zeus took that heart and placed it in the womb of Semele and Dionysos was reborn through her. Is there any ancient basis for this version?

There are various accounts. The myth you refer to, where he is dismembered by the Titans, is Orphic. In this myth, he is conceived by the union of Persephone and Zeus and is born as Zagreus. Zeus places Zagreus on the throne and gives him the thunderbolts, declaring him his Successor. Hera, in the myth, is jealous and instigates the Titans into luring him away from the throne and, after having succeeded in doing so, dismembered him into seven parts and consumed his flesh. Only his heart was spared, saved by Athena and taken to Zeus in a silver box. Apollo, in some accounts, retrieved what remained of the rest of Zagreus' body and buried them at Parnassus. Zeus, in his fury, smote the Titans with lightning, reducing them to ash, scorched the surface of the earth and only after listening to the supplications of Okeanos (the only Titan male who did not rebel), washed away the ashes of the Titans and the destruction of the scorched earth with a great deluge. Ensouled, corporeal creatures later arose over time, containing remnants of the ashes of the Titans and the parts of Zagreus they consumed.

Now, for the heart which Athena saved, the tale varies somewhat. In some versions Zeus consumes the heart and later impregnates Semele with Zagreus' new form Dionysos. In other versions, Zeus powders the heart and mixes it into a drink which he gives to Semele, and she becomes pregnant with Dionysos in that manner. The minor details don't matter too much, the important part is that Zagreus is regenerated through Semele. Hera, again, is jealous and convinces Semele to demand to see Zeus' true form, and having seen the true form of Zeus, is burned away by it, leaving only the fetus Dionysos behind, which Zeus takes and sews into his thigh (a veiled reference to the genital area, the generative portion of Zeus' being), and Dionysos comes to term in Zeus' thigh, which is when Zeus removes the stitching and frees Dionysos. This is the basis behind his epithet "Thrice-Born."

All of this is spoken of by Nonnus in the Dionysiaca and the Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony,

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