Amethyst enjoys a long association with Bacchus (Roman) or Dionysus (Greek), the god of wine. The ancient Greeks and Romans often made drinking vessels from amethyst, in the belief that the stone prevented one from becoming drunk. The word “amethyst” itself means “not intoxicated” (from Greek a- “not” + methystos “intoxicated”).
The earliest reference to amethyst in Greek mythology comes from the late 4th or early 5th century epic poem, Dionysiaca, by Nonnus. In it Nonnus states: “To Dionysos alone had Rheia given the amethyst, which preserves the winedrinker from the tyranny of madness.”