Dionysus, the Roman Bacchus, was the god of wine, frenzied music and dance, and the irrational. He presided over ecstatic, sometimes orgiastic rites, which involved initiation and drove the participants into another plane of perception, as they became possessed by the deity. He is usually represented in the midst of a retinue of female worshippers, known as maenads, bacchae, or bacchantes (the feminine singular is bacchante; a male follower is a bacchant, plural bacchants); he is also attended by male satyrs, mischievous and lecherous creatures, half-human and half-animal. Wine proved a powerful conduit to the ineffable, amidst rituals that included the rending of a sacrificial victim and the eating of its raw flesh. Dionysiac rites among the Romans became known as Bacchanalia and the sometime extreme behavior of the initiates provoked the Roman Senate to outlaw them in 186 B.C. Thus we derive the words bacchanal and bacchanalia to refer to any debauched party or celebration. Bacchanal, bacchant, bacchante, and bacchae can be used to characterize an overzealous party-goer. The adjectives bacchanalian and bacchic describe any exuberant, drunken revelry. See dionysian and apollonian.