Ariadne. Greek Goddess Of The Suffering And Vegetation

Learn about the legend of Ariadne, the goddess of Suffering and vegetation. Discover her relationship with the mythical labyrinth of the Minotaur.

Ariadne Goddess

Ariadne Greek Goddess

Ariadne goddess of suffering and vegetation, according to Greek mythology. Although there are many stories about the Greek goddess Ariadne, it is generally stated that she lived a life of great suffering, especially after leaving Crete. During her time in Crete, she was venerated as a goddess of vegetation and later developed a cult, especially in the Greek islands. Although the goddess is best known for her involvement in the slaying of the Minotaur in the Labyrinth of Crete, she was also the owner of the first dance floor in history, created by the brilliant inventor Daedalus.

Mythology of Ariadne goddess of suffering

Ariadne’s most important myth comes from the hand of Androgeo, son of Minos, he participated in the Panathenaic Games, which were held in Athens every four years. His exemplary skill, however, caused serious jealousy among the Athenians, who decided that the best solution was to kill him. In another version of this legend, the king of Athens sent him to kill the Marathonian bull, a supposedly invincible beast. Upon learning of his son’s death, Minos, the king of Crete, took revenge on Athens and decided to declare war on the city.

The Athenians, unwilling to engage in a brutal war, asked Minos to surrender. Minos agreed to their surrender, but made sure that those responsible for the death of his son would pay dearly. He demanded a sacrifice of 7 maidens and 7 young men to the beast, the Minotaur, half man and half bull. Every year the sacrificed Athenian youths were sent to the labyrinth of Crete, where the beast dwelled. Ever since the Labyrinth was built by the genius inventor, Daedalus, it was thought to be impossible for anyone to get out of its many twists and turns before being annihilated by the Minotaur.

Theseus and Dionysus

Only with the help of Daedalus could Ariadne devise a plan to help a man out of the labyrinth. The man she chose to help was an Athenian named Theseus, with whom she had fallen in love. In exchange for his help, she asked him to marry her and take her to Athens. Ariadne provided Theseus with a ball of thread and a sword for his quest. Theseus used the thread to bind her to the door at the entrance of the labyrinth.


This allowed him to exit the labyrinth again, after overcoming the Minotaur. He was able to kill the Minotaur and, after slaying the beast, escaped from the intricate labyrinth. He and the other sacrificial youths fled Crete with Ariadne and reached the island of Naxos. Here, according to one version of the story, Theseus left Ariadne on the island, perhaps because of her betrayal of her own country, which at the time was considered a deplorable act.

Her Death

Another version of the legend postulates that, upon being abandoned on the island by Theseus, Ariadne hung herself from a tree. The goddess may also have died in childbirth on Cyprus after she and Theseus were married. The couple had been participating in prolonged celebrations in Crete and, after departing, had been caught in a storm at sea. Theseus managed to deposit her safely on the shore of Cyprus, but was then swept out to sea. Ariadne was heavily pregnant and was in the care of Cypriot women. She later died in childbirth and had a shrine dedicated to her.

Another version of the story tells that Theseus abandoned the sleeping Ariadne on the island of Dia. Here she was possibly killed by Artemis, on the instructions of Dionysus or married to Dionysus and was made immortal by Zeus. Dionysus gave a crown to his unhappy consort to cheer her up and then turned her into the constellation Corona.

Ariadne Family

Ariadne had several children with Dionysus, including Staphylus, Oenopion, Thoas, Euanthes and Maron.


The cult dedicated to the goddess spread from Crete to Argos, Naxos, Cyprus and the other Greek islands. Followers performed ceremonial dances, participated in orgies and sometimes even included a ceremony in which a young man emulated the pains and screams of a woman giving birth.

Modern Influence

Richard Strauss wrote an opera called Ariadne auf Naxos, Ariadne on Naxos, which premiered in 1912.

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