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Dionysus the Twice-Born Son of Zeus


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Dionysus the Thrice-Born
Fall of the Titans, by Peter Paul Rubens (1637/8)

Fall of the Titans, by Peter Paul Rubens (1637/8)

Public Domain. Courtesy of Wikimedia.

Myth Monday on Dionysus the Thrice Born

Dionysus (or Zagreus) had an earlier birth experience than the one involving Semele and Zeus; thereby making him not just twice, but thrice born.

Dionysus consorted with Persephone, daughter of Zeus's sister Demeter and the queen of the Underworld. The offspring they created was called Zagreus. Zeus' wife was angry, as she always was when her husband mated with anyone but herself. There was no mortal to punish, but only powerful deities, and a newborn god, still too weak to fight back. Hera had the Titans destroy the little god, which they did, and ate him, but before they could finish him, Athena snatched his heart and brought it to Zeus. Zeus used this most important organ to create a new version, through Semele. This new version was the god Dionysus.

The Titans pay the price for their cannibalism. They are sent to Tartarus, the region of the Underworld where those who have supremely offended the gods suffer eternal punishment.

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