:"Zagreus is also the name of a genus of ladybird beetle. See Zagreus for more information."In Greek mythology, Zagreus was identified with the god Dionysus and was worshipped by followers of Orphism who believed him to be an ancient god of the Minoans.

According to the followers of Orphism, Zeus had lain with Persephone, daughter of Zeus and Demeter in Orphism, [cite book |last=Powell|first=Barry|authorlink=Barry B. Powell|year=2007|title=Classical Myth, Fifth Edition|chapter=Chapter 11: Myths of Death] in the form of a snake. The result of their union was Zagreus. Zeus had intended Zagreus to be his heir, but a jealous Hera persuaded the Titans to kill the child.

The Titans distracted Zagreus with toys, then carried him away and tore Zagreus to pieces. When the Titans were finished, nothing was left but Zagreus' heart, which Athena rescued and gave to Zeus. From the still-beating heart, Zeus made the body of the mortal Semele. The child was eventually born again, despite Hera's intervention. Some accounts say that he was reassembled and resurrected by Demeter; others, that Zeus fed his heart to Semele in a drink, making her pregnant with Dionysus.

Zeus then turned the Titans to ashes with his thunderbolt, and from the ashes came humankind. [cite book |last=Campbell |first=Lewis |authorlink=Lewis Campbell |year=1898 |title=Religion in Greek Literature |chapter=Chapter 11: The Mysteries |chapterurl=] The ashes explained the mix of good and evil in humans, the story goes, for humans possessed both a trace of divinity as well as the Titans' maliciousness.

The Orphics believed in the transmigration of souls and that a person was able to remove their intrinsic evilness by living three virtuous lives. Afterwards, they would dwell in Elysium forever.

In Orphic tradition, Persephone was the mother of Zagreus (Dionysus) by Zeus; but in the Iliad, Persephone's consort Hades is called Zeus Katachthonios, "Underground Zeus". It was by Zeus' decree that Hades abducted Persephone, suggesting that their roles are sometimes interchangeable. Both Zeus and Poseidon were consorts of Demeter. "Underworld Zeus" is linked with Demeter by Hesiod. It is this that has made many suggest that Zagreus may be a son of Persephone with her husband Hades.

In popular culture

In Big Finish Productions' "Doctor Who" audio dramas, Zagreus is a nursery rhyme villain on Gallifrey. According to the legendary "Book of Zagreus" he is a creature of anti-time whose domain is at the end of the universe, and who is being fought by Rassilon for eternity. "Zagreus" is also the title of an audio drama concerning this character.

In Wyndham Lewis' 1930 satirical novel "The Apes of God", there is a character named Horace Zagreus. A 60-something albino observer of the art world critically described in the novel, he serves as mentor of the hapless protagonist, Daniel Boleyn. Later, Zagreus drops Boleyn in favor of another young protegé, Archie Margolin, before finally marrying the wealthy, elderly Lady Fredigonde, generally considered to be a parody of Dame Edith Sitwell. Horace Zagreus himself is thought by some to be a caricature of Aleister Crowley or a similar figure of the period.


*March, J., Cassell's Dictionary Of Classical Mythology, London, 1999. ISBN 0-304-35161-X
* [ Article for Zagreus at the Theoi Project]

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  • Zagréus — Zagreus Dans la religion orphique, Zagreus ou Zagrée (en grec ancien Ζαγρεύς / Zagreús) est un avatar du Dionysos mystique, dont le Dionysos, dieu de la vigne que nous connaissons, est la réincarnation. Ce mythe Thrace, central de l orphisme… …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Zagreus — Zagreus, tilnavn til Dionysos som orfikernes hovedguddom, verdens hersker. Se artiklen: Zagreus …   Danske encyklopædi

  • Zagreus — {{Zagreus}} Vorgriechischer Gott der Jagd und des Todes, in der angeblich von Orpheus* begründeten Mysterienreligion die erste Erscheinungsform des Dionysos*. Bei Nonnos ist er ein Sohn der Persephone* und des Zeus*, der als Drache bei ihr… …   Who's who in der antiken Mythologie

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  • Zagreus — Zagreus, bei den Orphikern Name des Dionysos (s. d.), den Zeus in Schlangengestalt mit der Persephone zeugte. Vgl. Lobeck, Aglaophamus, S. 547 ff …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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  • Zagreus — Za·greus (zāʹgro͞os, grē əs) n. Greek Mythology The son of Zeus and Persephone who was slain by the Titans and reborn as Dionysus. * * * In Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and his daughter Persephone. Zeus intended to make Zagreus his heir and… …   Universalium

  • Zagreus — Dans la religion orphique, Zagreus ou Zagrée (en grec ancien Ζαγρεύς / Zagreús) est un avatar du Dionysos mystique, dont le Dionysos, dieu de la vigne que nous connaissons, est la réincarnation. Ce mythe Thrace, central de l orphisme semble… …   Wikipédia en Français

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