Dionysus was the god of the vine. He invented wine and spread the art of tending grapes. He had a dual nature. On one hand, he brought joy and divine ecstasy. On the other hand, he brought brutality, thoughtlessness and rage. This reflected both sides of wine's nature. If he chooses, Dionysus can drive a man mad. No normal fetters can hold him or his followers. Dionysus was the son of Zeus and Semele.
Zeus came to Semele in the night, invisible, felt only as a divine presence. Semele was pleased to be a lover of a god, even though she did not know which one. Word soon got around and Hera quickly realized who was responsible. Hera went to Semele in disguise and convinced her she should see her lover as he really was. When Zeus next came to her, she made him promise to grant her one wish.
She went so far as to make him swear on the River Styx that he would grant her request. Zeus was madly in love and agreed. She then asked him to show her his true form. Zeus, was unhappy, and knew what would happen but, having sworn he had no choice. He appeared in his true form and Semele was instantly burnt to death by the sight of his glory. Zeus did manage to rescue Dionysus and stitched him into his thigh to hold him until he was ready to be born.
His birth from Zeus alone conferred immortality upon him. Dionysus' problems with Hera were not yet over. She was still jealous and arranged for the Titans to kill him. The Titans ripped him into pieces. However, Rhea brought him back to life. After this, Zeus arranged for his protection and turned him over to the mountain nymphs...