Ariadne was a princess of Crete. She was a daughter of King Minos and his Queen, Pasiphaë, and the legacy of the god Zeus (on her father's side) and the titan Helios (on her mother's side). She is most commonly known for helping the Greek demigod hero Theseus get through the Labyrinth in Ancient Greece. She became the immortal wife of the god Dionysus after Theseus abandoned her. Her Roman counterpart is Ariana.
Ariadne was the young daughter of King Minos, she knew that he was evil, and that it was wrong to sacrifice people to the Minotaur.
Ariadne fell in love with Theseus the first time she saw him, and desperately wanted him to live. She agreed to help him. Theseus was brave, kind, and charming. He promised to marry her and take her with him back to Athens if he lived; she gave him a sword and a ball of magic yarn.
After those methods failed him, she used her ability to see through the Mist, to guide him through the maze safely, enabling him to slay the Minotaur.
After they were out to sea, it is said Theseus grew bored of Ariadne. It isn't known why or what caused this. Maybe he didn't like her at all, and resented her for making him take her away, even though he owed it to her, as she had thrown everything away to save him and his friends.
They stopped at the island of Naxos and Theseus had an idea. He didn't want to have Ariadne for a wife, so he would simply 'dump' her, and go home to Athens without her, and he would never be bothered with her again. Even though it was cruel, he carried it out.
That night, when they were sleeping on Naxos, Theseus woke up the crew, but didn't wake Ariadne. He let her sleep, and they set sail without her, leaving behind the beautiful girl that had saved their lives. Dionysus later found her, crying and weeping for Theseus. Dionysus fell in love with her, and they were married.
In one version, Ariadne was so full of sorrow she committed suicide. Dionysus, who is also a god of sympathy, went down to the Underworld and brought her back to life. Afterwards, he married her.
Another account says that they let Ariadne sleep ashore because of her seasickness, and a storm drove them away from the island and broke their mast. They were then forced to go to Athens both to repair the mast and to reach home. In this version, Theseus forgot to change the masts because of his worry for Ariadne. Later, when he returned to the island, he could not find her.
In another version, Theseus left Ariadne because she was awfully sick and he was going to go get medicine, but when he came back, she was gone. (Possibly because Dionysus married her and took her away.)
In yet another version, Theseus and his crew were sleeping on the island. Theseus loved Ariadne, but so did Dionysus as he watched the beautiful maiden. He whispered in Theseus's ear while he was sleeping to leave her on the island because he loved her. Unwillingly, but unable to refuse a god's wishes, Theseus set sail while she was sleeping.
Ariadne awoke, and she was alone. She looked around, and ran along the beach, calling for Theseus. She saw the sail on the horizon, and she knew that he had left her there. She collapsed on the ground and sobbed. While she was on the ground, she cursed Theseus, and pleaded to the gods to make him forget to change the sails from black to white. They answered her pleads, and Theseus' father Aegeus threw himself off his castle roof, into the sea and drowned.
In other tales, Theseus was so grief-stricken at losing his beautiful bride, he forgot to raise the white sails.
Some versions state that Ariadne had hung herself after being abandoned. Dionysus brought her back to life and later married her.
Dionysus was the guardian of the island of Naxos, and came upon Ariadne when she was still weeping. He comforted her, and was determined to make the poor girl happy again. Over time, he healed her broken heart, and they got married.
With Dionysus, she was the mother of Euanthes, Oenopion, Staphulus, Thoas, Latramys, and Tauropolus. Her wedding diadem was set in the heavens as the constellation Corona.
She remained faithful to Dionysus, but later died, and her sons became kings of various cities and islands. They were fine without her, but Dionysus was not.
Dionysus then descended into the Underworld and brought her and his mother Semele back. They then joined the gods in Olympus, and Ariadne was made a goddess. She is said to be the goddess of labyrinths, paths, and passion. But if you go by what the book says then she was made as Dionysus' immortal wife, not a goddess.
Dionysus despises heroes because of what a 'hero' (Theseus, Percy's half-brother) did to her. He later tells Ariadne's story to Percy Jackson, when he catches him riding Blackjack and trying to go on the quest with Zoe, Thalia, Bianca, and Grover. Then Dionysus decides to let Percy go on the journey he wanted, hoping that he'll get himself killed.
Ariadne then appears briefly at the end of The Titan's Curse, walking arm-in-arm with her husband on Olympus. Percy notices she's a beautiful woman, and that this was the first time he had ever seen Dionysus happy.
Ariadne is a very kind person, and was willing to throw away everything she had for a total stranger. She loved Theseus, but he was still a stranger. She was the daughter of a king, would presumably marry a king, was rich, very beautiful, and could have whatever she wanted. But, she threw it all away for a man.
Though Ariadne was a kind girl, when the man who she loved abandoned her, she cursed him for his faithlessness. It is unknown what made Theseus "dump" her, or if it was just a misunderstanding, as there are many different versions of the myth. Some say Theseus was told by Dionysus himself that Ariadne was to be left Naxos, as he had chosen her to be his wife. Others state that he abandoned her because she was already wedded to Dionysus. Considering the way Dionysus tells the story, however, it's most likely that Theseus simply abandoned her.
Ariadne is very beautiful, enough to have snared Dionysus' heart, and beautiful enough to convince Theseus to take her with him. In some myths, she has long, curly black hair, light skin, and green eyes. In others, she had wavy light brown hair, brown eyes, and light skin.
With Theseus (or Phaedra)
- In The Battle of the Labyrinth, when helping Percy figure out the best way to navigate through the Labyrinth, Hephaestus mentions that Ariadne did not possess even a drop of godly blood. This is ironic considering that her father was a demigod, her mother was an immortal, her paternal grandfather was Zeus, her maternal grandmother Hecate, and her maternal grandfather was the Titan Helios.
- However, Hephaestus may have been trying to emphasize Ariadne's clear sight to Percy, as that was his point. It might have been that Ariadne had this ability because she was three-quarters divine.