The Body Horror of Semele

Semele and Zeus

The Body Horror of Semele

Today I will tell a story from Greek mythology, which seems to have come out from one of those horror films, where people have their bodies deformed beyond imagination.

Let me introduce you to Semele

Semele was a princess of Thebes, daughter of Cadmus and Harmony. Apparently, she was very beautiful, because Zeus fell in love with her and began to woo her. The girl seemed to reciprocate his intentions.

Safety first

And no, I am not talking about condoms. It seems that the gods cannot show their true form to humans, for security reasons that I will develop later. So Zeus appeared before Semele disguised as another man.

We gathered DNA from dad, DNA from mom…

As a result of that relationship, Sémele became pregnant. Zeus, for a change, was excited about his new son.

The spiteful wife attacks again

But Hera was terribly jealous, and decided to disguise herself as an old woman, to appear before Semele, so the girl wouldn’t suspect her true intentions.

They began to talk and, as soon as she had the opportunity, Hera hinted to Semele that the father of her son might not be the real Zeus, but an impostor, who was taking advantage of her.

And the seed of doubt was sown

Semele did not believe her, and dismissed the old woman, but then she began to think about it. Finally, she decided to search for the truth.

Ah, couples’ arguments…

When Zeus arrived, Semele demanded that he take off his disguise. At first, Zeus refused, but the discussion grew increasingly heated and, in a moment of anger, the god removed his disguise.

Instantly, Zeus understood that it had all been a conspiracy of his wife, and he had all eternity to regret what he had done.

That’s really hot!

The light that Zeus emitted in his true form melted Semele. It was no longer possible to save her, but the child was still alive. So Zeus took the placenta with the child inside and sewed it to his thigh. There the gestation continued.

three months later, Dionysus was born, with the help of Hermes, on Mount Pramnos, on the island of Icaria.

We must protect the baby

So that his wife would not find Dionysus, Zeus again asked Hermes for help, who took him to Atamante and Ino. They hid him in Orcomeno, dressed him in women’s clothing and camouflaged him in a harem.

But Hera discovered the hiding place, and sent madness to Orcomeno’s house. Once again, Hermes rescued Dionysus: he turned him into a little goat and took him to Nisa. There the nymphs raised him, along with Silenus, the chief of the satyrs.

And the boy grew up

By the time Hera found him again, Dionysus was already a strong and attractive man, as we could expect from the god of wine and the grape harvest.

Here is a sculpture of him:

Dionysus's statue
Dionysus’s statue


  • Antes del Principio, by Ariel Pytrell
  • Wikipedia

My comic book, “My First Job” is now available in my e-shop:

Also available on the following platforms:

Leave a Reply