Perhaps originally part of an altar, this remarkable relief depicts the god of wine and revelry. He is nude except for a crown of ivy and berries, holding a staff and attended by his sacred animal, the panther. Throughout classical history the worship of Bacchus (Dionysus in Greek) was widespread, for he was believed to rule over mankind's less inhibited nature. In Athens, great dramatic festivals were celebrated in his honor, and Alexander the Great spread the cult of Dionysus as far east as India. This splendid Roman work draws on centuries of visual tradition to evoke a part of the human spirit that is never far beneath the surface.