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The son of Zeus and Persephone, and considered the 'first Dionysus'. Zeus was said to have taken on the form of a serpent in order to beget him. He had a particular affection for Zagreus, and intended to make him his successor and bestow on him sovereignty over the world, but the Fates decided otherwise. Anticipating Hera's jealousy Zeus entrusted the infant Zagreus to Apollo and the Curetes, who brought him up in the forest of Parnassus, but Hera managed to discover where he was and gave the Titans the task of abducting him. Zagreus tried in vain to escape from them by changing shape, metamorphosing himself, notably into a bull; however the Titans cut him into pieces and ate him partly cooked and partly raw. Pallas could only save the heart, which was still beating. Several scattered peices of him were gathered by Apollo, who buried them near the tripod of Delphi. Zeus wanted him restored to life, and this occurred either through Demeter who reconstituted what remained of him, or because Zeus forced Semele to consume Zagreus' heart and then give birth to a 'second Dionysus'. It was also said that Zeus consumed the child's heart (see Iacchus) before fathering Zagreus/Dionysus on Semele. Zagreus was on Orphic god, and the preceding legend belongs to the theology of Orphic mysteries. The identification of the hero with Dionysus is attributed to Orphism. Aeschylus, on the other hand, called him an underworld Zeus and likened him to Hades.


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