Ariadne (Greek: Αριάδνη, Latin: Ariana), in Greek mythology,
was daughter of King Minos of Crete and his queen,
Pasiphae, daughter of Helios, the Sun-titan. She aided
Theseus in overcoming the Minotaur (actually her half-brother)
but was equally the bride of the god Dionysus....
（Ἀριάδνη), a daughter of Minos and Pasiphae or Creta.
(Apollod. 3.1.2.) When Theseus was sent by his father to
convey the tribute of the Athenians to Minotaurus, Ariadne
fell in love with him, and gave him the string by means of
which he found his way out of the Labyrinth, and which she
herself had received from Hephaestus. Theseus in return
promised to marry her (Plut. Thes. 19; Hyg. Fab. 42 ; Didym.
ad Odyss. 11.320), and she accordingly left Crete with him;
but when they arrived in the island of Dia (Naxos), she was
killed there by Artemis. (Hom. Od. 11.324.) The words added
in the Odyssey, Διονύσου μαρτυρίῃσιν, are difficult to
understand, unless we interpret them with Pherecydes by " on
the denunciation of Dionysus," because he was indignant at
the profanation of his grotto by the love of Theseus and
Ariadne. In this case Ariadne was probably killed by Artemis
at the moment she gave birth to her twin children, for she
is said to have had two sons by Theseus, Oenopion and
Staphylus. The more common tradition, however, was, that
Theseus left Ariadne in Naxos alive; but here the statements
again differ, for some relate that he was forced by Dionysus
to leave her (Diod. 4.61, 5.51; Paus. 1.20.2, 9.40.2,
10.29.2), and that in his grief he forgot to take down the
black sail, which occasioned the death of his father.
According to others, Theseus faithlessly forsook her in the
island, and different motives are given for this act of
faithlessness. (Plut. Thes. 20; Ov. Met. 8.175, Heroid. 10 ;
Hyg. Fab. 43.) According to this tradition, Ariadne put an
end to her own life in despair, or was saved by Dionysus,
who in amazement at her beauty made her his wife, raised her
among the immortals, and placed the crown which he gave her
at his marriage with her, among the stars. (Hesiod. Theog.
949; Ov. Met. l.c. ; Hygin. Poet. Astr. 2.5.) The Scholiast
on Apollonius Rhodius (3.996) makes Ariadne become by
Dionysus the mother of Oenopion, Thoas, Staphylus, Latromis,
Euanthes, and Tauropolis. There are several circumstances in
the story of Ariadne which offered the happiest subjects for
works of art, and some of the finest ancient works, on gems
as well as paintings, are still extant, of which Ariadne is
the subject. (Lippert, Dactylioth. 2.51, 1.383, 384; Maffei,
Gem. Ant. 3.33; Pitture d'Ercolano, ii. tab. 14 ; Bellori,
Adm. Rom. Antiq. Vest. tab. 48; Böttiger, Archaeol, Mus.
part i.) - A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and
mythology, William Smith, Ed.