The following summary of  an article entitled "Dionysos-Bacchus and the Theatre" by J. Richard Green in Jean-Paul Descoeudres' Pompeii Revisted (Meditarch) was summarized by Joshua Lee and Beth McGrew,  students enrolled in Prof. Tom Sienkewicz' Ancient Societies class at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois, in 1997. If you have any questions or comments, you may contact him at Hist. 240

Dionysos--Bacchus and the Theater

We think the importance of this article can be summed up with two quotes from the book. The first.. "Theater as we know it in the western world was invented in Athens and performed at festivals held in honor of the god." (Dionysos--Bacchus) So much of our culture today is based on theater. Even though we may have moved to more technologically advanced techniques, the principle remains the same. Theater offers the audience an escape from the reality and hardships of the everyday world. It is possible to assume that life without the comedy, drama, passion, and yes even the tragedy of theater would be unbearable. Therefore, the contribution of theater may arguably be considered one of the great contributions of ancient society to modern civilization. The second.. "An amazing number of what we would think of as Dionysiac motifs were adopted into early Christian art...". It goes on to cite examples such as the vine, or the cupids\angles. This was hardly common knowledge taught in my sunday school. A great number of the things we were being taught in class may have been borrowed from an ancient Greek or Roman god. I wonder what Christianity would look like if Dionysos--Bacchus had not exsisted? Just a tidbit I thought you all might be interrested in.

Back to the Table of Contents for Pompeii Revisited Summaries
Return to Monmouth College Department of Classics Homepage