Marble relief of Dionysos accompanied by a panther
2nd Century A.D.
Photographed by Roloff Beny
The world man knows, the world in which he has settled himself so securely and smugly—that world is no more. The turbulence which accompanied the arrival of Dionysos has swept it away. Everything has been transformed. But it has not been transformed into a charming fairy story or into an ingenuous child’s paradise. The primeval world has stepped into the foreground, the depths of reality have been opened, the elemental forms of everything that is creative, everything that is destructive, have arisen, bringing with them infinite rapture and infinite terror. The innocent picture of a well-ordered routine world has been shattered by their coming, and they bring with them no illusions or fantasies, but truth.
~Walter F. Otto, “Dionysos: Myth and Cult,” 1933.