More about Maenads


Maenads comes from the Greek word maenades meaning “mad,” “demented,” or “the raving ones.”

The Maenads were the female groupies of Dionysus, the god of wine, fertility, ritual madness and fertility. And groupies is an intense understatement. When possessed by the spirit of Dionysus the maenads acted like they were blacked out and on bath salts, tearing animals and people limb from limb, and dancing ecstatically. Dionysus’ love was their drug and there was no stopping them.

This decently unflattering portrait of the maenads by John Currin shows the maenads at rest aka not acting like complete psychos. They are however engaging in some very intimate acts that are all conveniently covered by the girl in the front with the dead eyes and the apples (not not an illusion to forbidden fruit/the fact that women got humans expelled from paradise). Maenads were known for their sexual ferocity in addition to their man-destroying tendencies.

In defense of the maenads, they were at their craziest only when overcome with the spirit of Dionysus and can’t really be held responsible for their actions. At least ancient Greeks were smart enough not to blame “female hysteria” for women being anything other than compliant. They were sort of like pawns for Dionysus and he used them to do all of his own dirty work. So the message here is support your local maenad girl-gang, or else you’ll be ripped to shreds...literally.