Legendary Journeys
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"The Road to Calydon" | Episodes of Hercules: TLJ | "Ares"

The Festival of Dionysus
Festival 09.jpg
Ares in the New Wine
Series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
Season 1
Antagonist Ares, Pentheus
Setting Meliad
In-Universe Date Year 0
Production # 76609
Filming Dates 3 November to 11 November 1994
Original Air-Date 6 February 1995
Written By Andrew Dettmann
Daniel Truly
Directed By Peter Ellis
Episode Chronology
Order in Series 4 of 111
Order in Season 4 of 13
Order in Franchise 9 of 304
Previous Episode in Series "The Road to Calydon"
Next Episode in Series "Ares"
Previous Episode in Franchise "The Road to Calydon"
Next Episode in Franchise "Ares"
Title Image
Festival 01.jpg

Hercules uncovers an elaborate plot calling for the murder of a king during a celebration honoring the god of wine.


The episode begins with Hercules sitting in a local tavern listening as a satyr demands that an old man pay him for a bet of some kind that he lost. The old man insists he doesn't have the money, prompting the satyr to get physical. Hercules stops him, but then the satyr challenges the demigod. Hercules accepts, but instead of a fight he finds he has agreed to a drinking contest. As they drink, the viewer sees that the satyr is continually switching places with his twin brother, meaning he is only drinking half as much as Hercules, but Hercules is unaware of this fact. Eventually, however, the brothers get so drunk that they try to sit down at the same time. Hercules sees this and questions it, but they assure him there is only one of them and he is just drunk. Hercules accepts this, but vows to put them back together and slams them into one another, prompting them to flee as Hercules passes out.

Elsewhere in the distant city of Meliad preparations are underway for the Fesitval of Dionysus. Queen Camilla, however, is disturbed by a dream in which she and her husband are murdered by the city's virgins who are enacting the will of Dionysus. It seems that every year, Meliad celebrations involve the city's marriable virgins drinking the wine of Dionysus and, if the god finds the current king unworthy, they slay the king. The king Iphicles, however, is the best king in memory and no one even remotely fears this will happen, except the queen. Quietly she dispatches her younger son, Nestor, to find Hercules and bring him to the city for the festival.

The next morning, Hercules awakes hungover and stumbles out of the bar. Outside he meets Nestor who begs him to come to Meliad, but admits he does not know why his mother wants him there. Hercules finally relents as, although he dislikes most of the gods, he is somewhat fond of Dionysus. They journey to Meliad and meet Nestor's older brother, Pentheus. Pentheus welcomes them to the city and leaves to make preparations complete for the virgins.

Hercules looks around the city and finds nothing amiss. He is about to leave when he sees Tiresias hanging out at a small stand. Hercules grabs the old seer and demands to know what is going to happen as Tiresias would only be here if something very bad was about to happen. Tiresias denies any foreknowledge, but eventually slips up and lets out that the king is going to murdered by the virgins. Hercules does not understand why Dionysus would do such a thing, prompting Tiresias to suggest maybe some other god is present who might interfere with the wine of Dionysus.

Shortly after this the city's guards approach Hercules and try to take him in. Hercules refuses and a fight ensues. Hercules tells Tiresias to stop people from drinking the wine of Dionysus. As the guards chase Hercules, he enters a bar and finds the satyr brothers up to their usual tricks. They panic, but he assures them he doesn't want to fight as long as they can help him slow down the guards. They agree and when the guards enter a barroom brawl breaks out.

Hercules enters the palace and tries to find the king, but runs into Pentheus instead. Pentheus reveals that he is working for Ares and will lead his nation to war, once his father is killed by the virgins. Hercules moves after Pentheus, but ends up in a room with a trapdoor that drops him into a pool of water, along with Nestor who was also becoming suspicious. In the water an eel attacks them. As they struggle to survive, Pentheus leaves the room. Hercules defeats the eel and climbs out of the watery room with Nestor. The two race to the queen and king to warn them.

The scene shifts to the streets where the virgins have already drunk the wine. Tiresias arrives and stops anyone else from getting it, but the virgins take off to kill the queen and king, having become possessed by Ares. They enter the royal bedroom and stab the beds repeatedly, then dance off into the night. Pentheus, in the next room, waits a moment and then enters. He approaches the bed and lifts the covers to find that his parents are not there. As he turns they enter, along with Nestor and Hercules. Hercules bats Pentheus away as he tries to attack, but the prince has one last trick up his sleeve as he drinks some of the wine. Ares possesses him and attacks Hercules. The two fight, with Hercules coming out the winner. Hercules then finds the secret shrine to Ares that Pentheus had built and smashes it, releasing everyone who drunk the wine from Ares' control.

The city saved, Hercules goes to find Tiresias and tells him that the people can drink the wine now. They do to jubilation, prompting Tiresias to bemoan the fact that Hercules has stopped some good senseless carnage once again. His spirits pick up, however, when he receives a vision of a volcano in the near future and rushes off to find it. Hercules, bemused, continues on his neverending journey.


No disclaimer for this episode.


Background Information[]

  • First appearance of Ares, though he only appears briefly as a special effect.
  • First mention of Dionysus, who is rarely seen or mentioned in the Xenaverse.

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Other Cast[]


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