Son of Zeus and Semele and god of wine, vegetation, fertility and often celebrated at theaters. Dionysus was also connected with the seasons and the death- and resurrection beliefs of ancient times. He surrounded himself with maenads (orgiastic women) and satyrs, and held constant festivities in the forests. Anyone who angered him was struck with madness. In art, Dionysus was shown wearing a wreath of vine leaves, and holding the thyrsos rod in his hand. His worshippers tried to reach a point of extasis (to stand out of ones body) and wine was an important factor in his rituals and the achievement of exctasy. He was often depicted on the Greeks sarcophaguses. This is because he was connected to the belief in immortality. In mythology, his birth is quite remarkable. Since Semele died before she could give birth to Dionysus Zeus took the embryo out of its dying mothers womb, and put it in his thigh. After Dionysus was born out of Zeus leg Hermes took the baby to nymphs on the mountain Nysa, they raised him. This scene can be seen in the famous statue of Hermes and the baby Dionysus in Olympia.
Dionysus was also the god of drama, especially tragedy, since this theatre was said to have been invented by the satyrs. They would sing and play roles, and the very word tragedy means "goat song". Dionysus' drunken party that followed him around was called Komos, and from that we have the word comedy, which means "song by drunken party". The Great Dionysia were annual festivals in Athens where dramatists competed with their plays. The god was also connected to the orphicism, again a mystery cult having to do with immortality and resurrection.
Dionysus was called Liber by the Romans, but the Greek name for him was Bacchus. Dionysus also had many nicknames like:
Acratophorus, Acroreites, Aesymnetes, Agrionius, Amphietes, Antheus, Aroeus, Bassareus, Brisaeus, Calydonius, Cissus, Colonatas, Cresius, Eleuthereus, Hygiatis, Iatros, Lampter, Laphystius, Larymna, Limnaea, Lysius, Meilichius, Melanaegis, Melpomenus, Mesaetus, Methymnaeus, Mystos, Nyctelius, Nysaeus, Omaclius, Orthos, Psilas, and Saotes.