The Bacchae, reactions and interpretations

Essay by germanicusHigh School, 12th grade July 2004

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What are the reactions and interpretations of the Bacchic cult?

An historian is influenced by their context, as anyone one is. One cannot escape the society that they live in and the ideals, values and social norms that it places on the individual. Religion is indeed a key focus within each society and the religion can have different impacts on the society and on the individual. Each society will hence forth respond differently as they are influenced by those ideals, values and social norms that that society is based on. A religion that was under key debate in the ancient world was the Bacchic cult and that issue is still resonated through the modern world. I will examine the ancient societies and modern society's reaction to the Bacchic cult and how their society influenced them and the way they reacted.

It is important to discuss Dionysus as he is a key element in Bacchic cult.

Dionysus is a paradox within a paradox, he challenges and re-invents. He has two distinct origins, on one hand he is the god of wine, agriculture and fertility and one the other the patron god of theatre. He is both male and female at once, young and old, wild and civilized, near and far, beyond and here below is joined in him by him. He abolishes the distance that separates the gods from men and men from animals. He is the god of ecstasy, madness and freedom. The Bacchic cult as such is not well known about and little is known about their practices. The Bacchic cult of Dionysian cult consisted of maenads, which translated means "Mad woman" The maenads were worshippers of Dionysus a.k.a Bacchus. They were mothers and wives who, upon being summoned by Dionysus would leave their domestic lives, their traditional roles...