Let's dive into some Greek Mythology!


(c) Marrhowl via DeviantArt. This artwork depicts "Dionysus".



Although there's a few days left on this poll, I am writing an article about ancient Greece in this moment. However, this has nothing to do with the poll I created. I've been wanting to publish this content from my writing vault, and I'll be respecting the results of this poll in a few days.


Through existing spheres of influence, Demeter and Dionysus create danger for humans in the Homeric Hymns. The concept of existing danger works with Demeter and Dionysus’ role as gods, as their respective spheres of influence result in consequences for those in the mortal world- when failing to respect the gods of Olympus. Dionysus creates danger for mortals in "hymn seven" when he is captured and crewman of a ship fail to recognize his divine status, despite initial claims that he is the son of Zeus.


"Fair use".


Within this passage, the crewman anger Dionysus by abducting him- no surprises there. However, Dionysus’ anger also draws from the mortal’s inability to respect his divine status. Furthermore, Greek gods and goddesses expect constant respect and worship from mortals. More specifically, the failure to respect Dionysus demonstrates the inability to trust the divine because of his own actions. Dionysus resorts to physically harming the mortals as the passage states:


“Wine at first began along the swift, black ship to gurgle… the scent that rose up was divine- and all the sailors were seized with awe at the sight.”


Dionysus’ spheres of influence involve controlling the production of wine, as our pal Dionysus creates a visual spectacle to distract the mortals. With that in mind, Dionysus successfully does this through the use of his power; and conveying belief he and the crew have made amends. Of course, they haven't. However, due to his anger of being abducted and the failure to be recognized as a god, Dionysus proceeds to physically harm the mortals as the passage tells us:


“The god with a sudden rush forward seized the captain; the men, as they tried to escape from an evil doom, All together plunged… And into dolphins turned...."



(c) The Mythology Guy. Check out this hilarious video!


With respect to the nature of these passages, Greek and Roman gods viewed mortals as a representation of weakness, and being vulnerable to the slightest danger. Dionysus’ visual creations with wine distract the crew, which further demonstrates Dionysus’ ability to manipulate the human mind. Despite not using his spheres of influence to intoxicate the mortals, this visual presentation corresponds with the role of alcohol as it conflicts cognitive perception.


(c) Family Guy (1999-). Watch this video at your own discretion, as some readers might find this video offensive. Our team does intend to offend any of our readers, but this clip from the popular animated sitcom provides a comedic representation of intoxication from alcohol.


In ancient times, the altered states of intoxication were interpreted as possession by Dionysus. Consequently, Dionysus' visual creations suggests his ability to control the mortal mind in various ways.


Despite not killing the humans, Dionysus’ actions presents danger for humans because gods cannot be trusted, and this punishment highlights the inability to reasons with the gods. Dionysus’ act of transforming the mortals into dolphins provides significant danger for mortals as well, because the sea was depicted as a hostile environment. More or less, peoples of ancient Greece were afraid of the unknown.


Clearly, things haven't changed much. It's likely human beings will always be afraid of what we cannot fully understand. Another factor, most people were unable to swim in ancient times. Despite its dangers, the sea was also the primary source for food during ancient times in Greece.




With the pirate crew being transformed into dolphins, Dionysus easily shows his superiority while he punishes the crew due to constant danger from fisherman- and other sea predators. More specifically, the passage of Dionysus’ revenge against the crewman highlights the cruelty of the gods based on their divine status- and the idea that human life is insignificant because it doesn't last forever.


The stories of Dionysus are noteworthy, but it's necessary we discuss his mother- Demeter. Demeter represents agriculture through her spheres of influence, such that her performance as a god determines whether agricultural resources continue to grow in the mortal world. Furthermore, in the event Demeter abandons her agricultural role determines the fate of human civilization.



In the first hymn to Demeter, Hades abducts Demeter’s daughter Persephone with the permission of Zeus. With the inability to locate Persephone, Demeter refuses to maintain her role as the goddess of agriculture and this act of neglect provides significant danger for the mortal world. Despite not directly harming mortals in this area of the passage, Demeter’s refusal to perform her divine role leads to economic decline for the farming community and malnourishment for human civilization as a whole.


“But Demeter, Bringer of Seasons, Bestower of Splendid Gifts, Had no desire to sit upon the gleaming chair.”


Demeter’s refusal to perform her divine role demonstrates the power deities’ have over the mortal world. Considering Demeter controls agricultural production and success, her status as a goddess means she is superior to all mortals. Furthermore, Demeter’s refusal to maintain her role as the goddess of agriculture following her inability to locate Persephone suggests that gods do not care for human survival, because mortal life is temporary. Divine life is eternal, such that Demeter’s behaviour within this passage highlights the cruelty gods place upon humans because human life is deemed insignificant.



(c) The Mythology Guy. You know, Hades is the ideal "tumblr boyfriend." He has his own place, he's rich, and he has a dog.


Within the context of ancient civilization, the divine responsibilities of Demeter resonates with the ancient interpretation for the changing of seasons. Ancient Greeks believed Demeter was responsible for seasons changing, and without Demeter’s presence this results in catastrophe for the mortal world.


Demeter does not have to personally harm humans in order to create danger, as Demeter’s role as the goddess of agriculture decides the fate of human civilization. With that in mind: in the event of a decline in agricultural success, such occurrences were interpreted as Demeter being upset or angered by humans. Thus, respecting and worshipping the gods was vital for the survival of human civilization during ancient times.


Thanks for stopping by, and let us know what you think!


The Modernist Son, 2020-2021.


Further Reading:

https://www.britannica.com/art/Homeric-Hymns


https://chs.harvard.edu/primary-source/homeric-hymn-to-demeter-sb/


https://chs.harvard.edu/primary-source/homeric-hymn-to-dionysus-sb/

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