The Tomis Sculpture Treasure: Bacchus

Bacchus is one of the most popular deities of the ancient world. This deity came from Thrace, entered Ancient Greece, from where it reached Dobruja. From Greece it came under the name of Dionysus. Later, through assimilation to a divinity in Asia Minor, he was also called Bacchus.The divinity represents the fecundity of vegetation, especially of the grape vine.The Dionysian celebrations took place in the spring, involving sacred cohorts in which other acolyte divinities were involved, with excessive manifestations, but normal for a celebration of wine, like partying till inebriation, orgies and going up to sexual orgy. The acolyte divinities were: Pan, Priapus, Silenus, the Satyrs. Votive relief on a yellowish marble slab with big crystals, representing Bacchus in the middle together with his main acolytes.Bacchus wears a rich wreath of vine leaves and ivy on his head.An inscription in Greek can be translated as: "Cheers! To Dionysus Kethegemon Aquilinus of Artemidoros (was offered) this ex voto (offering), in happy circumstances, for his well-being."The text of the inscription was dedicated to the wine god by a Romanized Greek who mentions the word Kathegemon (leader), an epithet attributed to the divinity that was yet not used in Dobruja.It is possible that the votive slab was imported from Greece, where other attributes of Bacchus are also present. Bas-relief in yellowish marble, sugar-like appearance, with big crystals.Height = 0.320m; width = 0.210m; depth = 0.087mBacchus, in resting position, with a wreath on his head under which his hair comes out. Short knee-high tunic.The god has a goat skin around his waist and wears a belt under his chest. He wears short boots. His left hand is raised and he holds the thyrsus. In his right hand he holds the cantharos by its handle turned towards the head of the panther.All these utensils are part of the identification inventory of the deity, and the animals, the panther and the snake accompany the god in his beneficent mission. Translated by Ştefania Tarbu 

by Petre Covacef