Abstract: Dionysos and the Afterlife

During the 6th and 5th Centuries BCE, Dionysos is the deity most often shown on Attic vases, most of which are of shapes designed for the mixing and consumption of wine at the symposion. Dionysos’ association with wine and the symposion makes him an appropriate subject on those vessels. Then during the 4th Century when South Italian workshops adopt and develop the red-figure technique, Dionysos continues to be the principal deity depicted, but now on vases most often associated with the tomb and with the native, as opposed to Greek, people. The images are similar to those on Attic vases, but the meaning has changed. The Dionysos of the Italic people of South Italy holds the promise of a joyous afterlife, and scenes on red-figure vases often depict fabricated realities representing aspirations of this afterlife, which may have connotations of an eternal symposion.

 

Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

H. Bowden, Mystery Cults of the Ancient World (Princeton, 2010)

F. Graf and S. I. Johnston, Ritual Texts for the Afterlife (Routledge, 2007)

R. Seaford, Dionysos (Routledge, 2006)

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