Dionysus ‘ birth was not the most usual of births. He was a fun loving boy and became the god of wine, partying and fun. Dionysus was the one who invented wine, discovering the possible use of grapes. Semele was the mother of Dionysus.
Seduced by Zeus, she became pregnant. Zeus had not told her he was mortal man but a god. Hera was a clever woman and found out about this other child that he had not with her. His wife was so enraged by Zeus’ affair and the existence of the baby. She was furious but she had a plan. Hera discovered where the woman was, tracked her down and she befriended her as a mortal woman.
“Semele, how are you pregnant without a husband?” Hera asked, despite already knowing the answer. Across the room, on a small couch of her own, Semele blushed and replied to her ” I can not marry the father of this child because he is a god. But not just any god, Zeus! He has a wife already.” Hera hid her anger behind a grim parody of a smile.
Acting confused, Hera asked the mother, “But now do you know he was a god? He could have been a handsome man, wanting to sleep with women without responsibility. Or a even married man?” She smiled a spine curling grin, out of Semele’s sight when the young woman looked unsure of herself. “Well, you don’t ask a god to prove himself when he approaches you! ” Semele told the woman, questioning.
After many months, Hera continued to convince Semele that she should question Zeus. Telling her that there was no way to know, if the god didn’t do a miracle that only gods could do or if you see their true form. So Semele waited until she saw Zeus next.
Semele clutched Zeus hand and asked “Will you do anything if I asked you to do it?”
“Of course, I would my darling” Zeus replied.Then Semele looked in his eyes, begging “Do you promise?”
“I do” Zeus promised, smiling at her. Semele glanced at him, feeling confident and told him to transform into his true form. Zeus tried to persuade her to change her mind, trying to warn her. Honour bound by his promise, Zeus transformed into the body of a god. The sight was too much for the pregnant girl. Her body started to disappear, the only thing left of the young woman was dust floating in the wind and a premature baby lying in the cold dirt floor.
Feeling sorry for the child, Zeus pondered how to keep him alive for it was not his time to die nor was he able to live in the outside world. Zeus cut open his calf, having decided to raise the child himself. He place the baby in there. That is where the infant stayed until the night of his birth. Zeus named the child Dionysus.