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Ariadne facts for kids

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Ariadne, in Greek mythology, was daughter of King Minos of Crete and his queen, Pasiphaë, daughter of Helios, the Sun-titan. She helped Theseus in defeating the Minotaur (by giving him a length of string to escape the labyrinth). But Theseus abandoned her so she became the consort of the god Dionysus. She is the Greek goddess of passion and mazes.


Because ancient Greek myths were orally transmitted, like other myths, that of Ariadne has many variations. According to an Athenian version, Minos attacked Athens after his son, Androgeus, was killed there. The Athenians asked for terms and were required to sacrifice 7 young men and 7 maidens to the Minotaur every 1, 7 or 9 years (depending on the source). One year, the sacrificial party included Theseus, the son of King Aegeus, who volunteered in order to kill the Minotaur. At first sight, Ariadne fell in love with him and provided him a sword and ball of thread (ο Μίτος της Αριάδνης, "Ariadne's string") so that he could retrace his way out of the labyrinth of the Minotaur.

Ariadne betrayed her father and her country for her love of Theseus. She eloped with Theseus after he killed the Minotaur.

Most accounts claim that Theseus abandoned Ariadne on Naxos, and in some versions Perseus mortally wounds her. According to some, Dionysus claimed Ariadne as wife, therefore causing Theseus to abandon her.


In Hesiod and in most other versions, Theseus abandoned Ariadne sleeping on Naxos, and Dionysus rediscovered and wedded her. In a few versions of the myth, Dionysus appeared to Theseus as they sailed from Crete, saying that he had chosen Ariadne as his wife and demanding that Theseus leave her on Naxos for him.

Ariadne bore Dionysus famous children, including Oenopion, Staphylus, and Thoas. Dionysus set her wedding diadem in the heavens as the constellation Corona Borealis. Ariadne was faithful to Dionysus. In one version of her myth, Perseus killed her at Argos by turning her to stone with the head of Medusa during Perseus' war with Dionysus.


Ariadneia (ἀριάδνεια) festivals honored Ariadne and were held in Naxos and Cyprus. According to Plutarch, some Naxians believed there were two Ariadnes, one of which died on the island of Naxos after being abandoned by Theseus. The Ariadneia festival honors Naxos as the place of her death with sacrifices and mourning.

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Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Ariadna para niños

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