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Ἀριάδνη). The daughter of Minos and Pasiphaë, who fell in love with Theseus when he came to Crete to kill the Minotaur, and gave him a clew of yarn, to help him to find his way back to the light of day after slaying the monster in the Labyrinth. She then escaped with him. Homer represents Ariadné as slain by Artemis in the island of Dia, close to Crete, at the request of Dionysus. But the later legend shifts the scene to the isle of Naxos, where the slumbering Ariadné is deserted by Theseus. On waking, she is in the depths of despair, when Dionysus comes and raises her to the dignity of a god's wife. Zeus grants her immortality, and sets her bridal gift, a crown, among the stars. She received divine honours: at Naxos her festivals were held, now with dismal rites recalling her abandonment, and now with bacchanalian revelry befitting the happy bride of Dionysus. The story of Ariadné has been a favourite subject for artists and poets in all ages.

Sleeping Ariadné. (Vatican.)

At Athens in the autumn they held a joyous festival to her and Dionysus, which Theseus was supposed to have founded on his return from Crete. In Italy, where they identified Dionysus with their wine-god Liber, they also took Ariadné for the wine-goddess Libera (q.v.). See in English, F. Tennyson's Ariadne, and Ross's Ariadne in Naxos.

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