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I am sure you have seen, somewhere, of a male god eating grapes or in some classical romantic settings, a half-naked woman putting grapes in the mouth of a half-naked man. I am very curious, where and when did this concept originate?

  • 2
    This might be more suited to Mythology.SE.
    – user12566
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 3:51
  • @HistoryStackIsLaughablyBad no, this focuses more on the cultural and historical origination of the imagery. thus it would be equally suited for either.
    – tox123
    Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 20:46
  • @tox123 That was a two year old comment. It did not need a reply.
    – user12566
    Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 3:30

1 Answer 1


The god in question is Dionysus (or Bacchus, if you're from Rome), god of the grape harvest and wine, among other things.

The geographical origins of Dionysus are Greek. From the Mycenaean Linear B tablets, we know that a "DI-WO-NI-SO-JO" was known (at least) in Pylos before 1200 B.C. (source)

Homer's relative neglect of Dionysus, coupled with the location of his cult-places, had once led some to speculate that Dionysus "is in fact a fusion of a local Greek nature god, and another more potent god imported rather late in Greek pre-history from Phrygia (the central area of modern day Turkey) or Thrace."

Whatever the truth of these claims, the grape-nature-intoxication aspects of Dionysus wouldn't have come from his possible Phyrigian aspect, so some kind of Dionysus-with-grapes was likely a part of Bronze Age Greek religious belief long before the Homeric epics.

  • Pantheon is a very bad source for this. Dionysus was mentioned in Mycenaean texts.
    – user12566
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 3:51
  • @C.M.Weimer: Thanks! Please let me know if I have anything else wrong--or of course, feel free to leave your own (probably better) answer :)
    – two sheds
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 4:33
  • You're probably accurate, insofar as current scholarship goes. There's a debate still, but it should fully suffice as an answer to the question.
    – user12566
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 6:20
  • So are the modern cinematic depictions of Roman and/or Greek Emperors eating grapes a reference to that myth? I always thought the depictions are because grapes were either luxourious or common in the Mediterranean lands at those times.
    – user40948
    Commented Jun 27, 2023 at 21:39

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