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on 15 September 2010
Another jewel in the crown of this excellent series. From Dionysos' ancient roots right up to modern times, Richard Seaford brings a clarity and exuberance to the myth of Dionysos without being overly scholarly and obscure. He covers all angles from the mystery cult, its philosophical sources, to Dionysos as the inventor of theatre, and the comparison of his cult with the cult of Jesus. I would thoroughly recommend it, particulary the chapter on Dionysos' mystery cult.
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on 5 January 2016
I have been buying this series since it started and it certainly fills a gap, but it does have some problems. Firstly a certain amount of space is wasted: every volume has the same series introduction, an introduction telling us what each chapter is going to be about, and a summary at the end of each chapter in case we've forgotten it already. Secondly, the quotations are in very small, faint type, and the illustrations are not much clearer. Thirdly, the series attempts to cover too many fields, "from Greek and Roman religion ... to cultural studies". Those who buy this volume for the religion may feel that three chapters on cultural studies is too much, and that they learned more about Nietzsche than they wanted to know.

As can be seen from the table of contents, the cult is comprehensively covered in the hundred pages that are actually relevant. The author wisely warns about undue reliance on Homer, although it might be said that he relies too much on Euripides. One problem is that there is no clear statement of the myths: there are several references to Dionysos's mother as Semele and then one to her as Persephone, with no explanation. The index is poor: neither Persephone nor Semele appear, although Pater and Schopenhauer do. Nevertheless this book is at least more useful than Kerenyi's.
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on 22 December 2014
Dense but lucid summary of all aspects of the cult of Dionysos and its place in both classical and christian history.
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