When traveling around the sites and museums of Rome, I was struck with how common Dionysus was. At one point, I actually stopped taking pictures of him! I kept remarking to Wade and Alexander how Dionysus was everywhere, more so than any of the other gods and goddesses. Was his cult that popular?
It wasn't until I viewed the mosaic floors kept in the National Museum of Rome near Termini that I had an epiphany. His popularity did not have to do with his mystery cult, although I imagine that it had a good number of followers. Who wouldn't want to get drunk and run around the woods with your friends in a wild frenzy?
His popularity in images and statues had to do with the dining room. If there was a dining room, and it was decorated, Dionysus, the god of wine and inebriation, was there because he owned the party. He was the god of the dining room, dinner parties, and bashes. He was the god of a good time.