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Bacchus and Christ

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)


The first Christians, wanting to gain as many followers as possible and to hide from the persecution of the authorities, tried to find an equivalent for the person of Christ in a pagan culture. It turned out that the most similarities can be found in Bacchus, the god of wild nature, vine and wine, who appeared relatively late in Roman culture. Both gods were portrayed as young and feminine when they were young.

Both Bacchus and Jesus were portrayed in a feminine way with long hair and a delicate face to emphasize their innocence and purity. In numerous catacombs in Rome, you can find images of young Jesus as the Good Shepherd, defender of the sheep of God – the human race. The wall drawings show a young shepherd holding a sheep in his arms or under his arm. Both gods physically change over time. They mature, they grow beards and their bodies become more muscular.

It is also worth emphasizing that both deities, through their feminine figures in the early period of life, tried to gain followers also among women, who in the world of ancient Greeks and Romans were dominated by men. For example, the most important worshipers of Bacchus were women – the Menads, who achieved their most enlightened state through a long alcoholic libation. Such a “feast” allowed them to achieve spiritual freedom and to get rid of the shackles of cultural norms of Roman-Greek society. Jesus, in turn, addressed the women and offered to help them. Moreover, both gods showed understanding for drinking wine, even a ritual drink. This resemblance of Christ to Bacchus allowed Christians to protect their faith from greater persecution and total destruction.


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