Bacchanalian
   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. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bacchanalian — Bac cha*na li*an (b[a^]k k[.a]*n[=a] l[i^]*an; 106), a. Of or pertaining to the festival of Bacchus; relating to or given to reveling and drunkenness. [1913 Webster] Even bacchanalian madness has its charms. Cowper. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Bacchanalian — Bac cha*na li*an, n. A bacchanal; a drunken reveler. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bacchanalian — (adj.) 1560s; see BACCHANALIA (Cf. bacchanalia) + AN (Cf. an). As a noun from 1610s …   Etymology dictionary

  • bacchanalian — bac|cha|na|li|an Bacchanalian [ˌbækəˈneıliən] adj literary [Date: 1500 1600; : Latin; Origin: bacchanalis of Bacchus ] a bacchanalian party involves a lot of alcohol, sex, and uncontrolled behaviour ▪ a bacchanalian orgy …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • bacchanalian — adjective literary a bacchanalian party, celebration etc involves alcohol, sex, and uncontrolled behaviour: a bacchanalian orgy …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • bacchanalian — See Bacchanalian. * * * …   Universalium

  • Bacchanalian — 1. adjective Of or pertaining to the festival of Bacchus; relating to or given to reveling and drunkenness. Even bacchanalian madness has its charms. 2. noun A bacchanal; a drunken reveler …   Wiktionary

  • bacchanalian — bac|cha|na|li|an [ ,bækə neıliən ] adjective FORMAL a bacchanalian party involves noisy and uncontrolled enjoyment and usually a lot of alcohol or sex …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • bacchanalian —    drunken    Literally, anything to do with Bacchus, or Dionysus, who was the god of wine and debauchery:     Burgess fell from grace at the Foreign Office as a result of another bacchanalian holiday trip. (Boyle, 1979 the authorities were less… …   How not to say what you mean: A dictionary of euphemisms

  • bacchanalian — UK [ˌbækəˈneɪlɪən] / US adjective formal a bacchanalian party involves noisy and uncontrolled enjoyment and usually a lot of alcohol or sex …   English dictionary

  • bacchanalian — adjective used of riotously drunken merrymaking a night of bacchanalian revelry carousing bands of drunken soldiers orgiastic festivity • Syn: ↑bacchanal, ↑bacchic, ↑carousing, ↑orgiastic …   Useful english dictionary

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