Ariadne (Greek: Αριάδνη, Latin: Ariana), in Greek mythology, was daughter of King Minos of Crete, and his queen Pasiphaë, daughter of Helios, the Sun-titan. She aided Theseus in overcoming the Minotaur (actually her half-brother) and was the bride of the god Dionysus.
Minos and Theseus
Since ancient Greek myths were passed down through oral tradition, many variations of this and other myths exist. According to an Athenian version of the legend, Minos attacked Athens after his son was killed there. The Athenians asked for terms, and were required to sacrifice seven young men and seven maidens every nine years to the Minotaur. One year, the sacrificial party included Theseus, a young man who volunteered to come and kill the Minotaur. Ariadne fell in love at first sight, and helped him by giving him a sword and a ball of red fleece thread that she was spinning, so that he could find his way out of the Minotaur's labyrinth.
She eloped with Theseus after he achieved his goal, but according to Homer "he had no joy of her, for ere that, Artemis slew her in seagirt Dia because of the witness of Dionysus" (Odyssey XI, 321-5). Homer does not expand on the nature of Dionysus' accusation, but the Oxford Classical Dictionary speculates that she was already married to Dionysus when Theseus ran away with her.
In Hesiod and most other accounts, Theseus abandoned Ariadne sleeping on Naxos, and Dionysus rediscovered and wedded her.
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