- In Roman mythology, Bacchus, the equivalent of the Greek Dionysus, was the respected god of wine and vineyards. It was he who planted the vine. The triennial festivals paying homage to the harvest were originally characterized by propriety and sobriety and were followed by dignified rituals. But with time the nature of the celebration changed. Bacchus's worshipers succumbed to the delights and effects of the wine, and the revelers became known for their drunkenness and licentiousness. If it were not for Zeus, there might have been no Bacchus and no wine. According to legend, Bacchus was the son of Zeus and Semele. Foolishly, Semele asked Zeus to appear before her in all his glory, as he was wont to do before his wife Hera. Zeus complied and appeared in thunder and lightning. As Semele was being devoured by the flames, she gave birth prematurely. Zeus took the child (Bacchus) and sewed him into his thigh, where he remained until reaching maturity. Bacchus was one son who was truly raised at his father's knee.A bacchant is a worshiper of Bacchus and a bacchante is a priestess or female admirer of Bacchus.
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.