Floor Mosaic Depicting Dionysos' Discovery of Ariadne
The Ancient World Online Blog recently drew our attention to the MIHO Museum in Shiga, Japan, which houses a small collection of artifacts from antiquity. One particularly interesting artifact is a 3rd – 4th century CE floor mosaic of Dionysos's first encounter with Ariadne. In the central panel of the mosaic, a bloody wound has been drawn onto the rib cage of Dionysos, and some type of chalice or small plate is in his right hand. An image of this panel can be found above (click to enlarge). According to the description on the MIHO Museum's website, the bloody wound and chalice or plate are Christian symbols of Jesus' side-wound on the cross (from John's Gospel) and the Eucharist, respectively. This is the first time I have heard about the "Christianization" of Dionysos, if that is indeed what is going on here. I am wondering if anyone else might know if this phenomenon can be found elsewhere. The parallels between Dionysos and Jesus would of course explain why some Christians would forge a connection between the two persons. Bultmann is famous for claiming that the author of the story of Jesus' miracle of turning water into wine (John 2) was taken over from the Dionysos legend and ascribed to Jesus. I am not a specialist of Christian iconography and art so I do not know the extent of this phenomenon of transforming Dionysos into Jesus. I would be grateful if readers could point me to other examples.