Bacchus/Dionysus. Dionysus is the god of the grape-harvest, winemaking and wine, of fertility, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, and theatre in ancient Greek religion and myth. He is also known as Bacchus, the name adopted by the Romans and the frenzy he induces is bakkheia. His thyrsus, sometimes wound with ivy and dripping with honey, is both a beneficent wand and a weapon used to destroy those who oppose his cult and the freedoms he represents. As Eleutherios, his wine, music and ecstatic dance free his followers from self-conscious fear and care, and subvert the oppressive restraints of the powerful. Those who partake of his mysteries are believed to become possessed and empowered by the god himself. In his religion, identical with or closely related to Orphism, Dionysus was believed to have been born from the union of Zeus and Persephone, and to have himself represented a chthonic or underworld aspect of Zeus. Many believed that he had been born twice, having been killed and reborn as the son of Zeus and the mortal Semele. In the Eleusinian Mysteries he was identified with Iacchus, the son of Demeter. His origins are uncertain, and his cults took many forms; some are described by ancient sources as Thracian, others as Greek. Though most accounts say he was born in Thrace, traveled abroad, and arrived in Greece as a foreigner, evidence from the Mycenaean period of Greek history show that he is one of Greece's oldest attested gods. His attribute of foreignness as an arriving outsider-god may be inherent and essential to his cults, as he is a god of epiphany, sometimes called the god that comes. Wine played an important role in Greek culture, and the cult of Dionysus was the main religious focus surrounding its consumption. Wine, as well as the vines and grapes that produce it, were seen as not only a gift of the god, but a symbolic incarnation of him on earth. However, rather than being a god of drunkenness, as he was often stereotyped in the post-Classical era, the religion of Dionysus centered on the correct consumption of wine, which could ease suffering and bring joy, as well as inspire divine madness distinct from drunkenness. Performance art and drama were also central to his religion, and its festivals were the initial driving force behind the development of theatre. The cult of Dionysus is also a cult of the souls; his maenads feed the dead through blood-offerings, and he acts as a divine communicant between the living and the dead. He is sometimes categorised as a dying-and-rising god. The dio-element has been associated since antiquity with Zeus. The earliest attested form of the name is in Mycenaean Greek, Ancient Greek /di.ˇ.ny╦É.sos/. This is attested on two tablets that had been found at Mycenaean Pylos and dated to the 12th or 13th century BC, but at the time, there could be no certainty on whether this was indeed a theonym. But the 1989-90 Greek-Swedish Excavations at Kastelli Hill, Chania, unearthed, inter alia, four artefacts bearing Linear B inscriptions; among them, the inscription on item KH Gq 5 is thought to confirm Dionysus's early worship. Later variants include Dionusos and Dionusos in Boeotia; Dienusos in Thessaly; Deonusos and Deunusos in Ionia; and Dinnusos in Aeolia, besides other variants. A Dio-prefix is found in other names, such as that of the Dioscures, and may derive from Dios, the genitive of the name of Zeus. The second element-nusos is associated with Mount Nysa, the birthplace of the god in Greek mythology, where he was nursed by nymphs, but according to Pherecydes of Syros, n┼ęsa was an archaic word for tree. Nonnus, in his Dionysiaca, writes that the name Dionysus means Zeus-limp and that Hermes named the new born Dionysus this, because Zeus while he carried his burden lifted one foot with a limp from the weight of his thigh, and nysos in Syracusan language means limping. In his note to these lines, W. H. D. Rouse writes It need hardly be said that these etymologies are wrong. The Suda, a Byzantine encyclopedia based on classical sources, states that Dionysus was so named from accomplishing for each of those who live the wild life. Or from providing everything for those who live the wild life. R. S. P. Beekes has suggested a Pre-Greek origin of the name.