Cultures & Traditions

Bacchantes or Maenads

In Greek mythology, Dionysus is the god of wine and wine-making. The Roman counterpart is Bacchus. The cult of Bacchus seems to have held a particular attraction for women. A Bacchante is a female follower of Bacchus; Maenads refers to the women devotees to Dionysus. The representations of bacchantes are first known from drinking cups in the 5th Century BCE where they are shown wearing swirling drapery, with expressions of physical abandonment and beating a tambourine.