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Greek Myth

Mistress of the Labyrinth

a portrayal of the story of Ariadne and the Minotaur

In Greek mythology, was the daughter of Minos, King of Crete, and his Queen Pasiphae.

She is mostly associated with mazes and labyrinths, due to her involvement in the myths of the Minotaur and Theseus.

Her father put her in charge of the labyrinth where sacrifices were made as part of reparations (either to Poseidon or to Athena, depending on the version of the myth); however, she would later help Theseus in overcoming the Minotaur and saving the would-be sacrificial victims.

She eloped with Theseus after he achieved his goal, but according to Homer "he had no joy of her, for ere that, Artemis slew her in seagirt Dia because of the witness of Dionysus" (Odyssey XI, 321-5).

Homer does not expand on the nature of Dionysus' accusation, but there is speculation that she was already married to Dionysus when Theseus ran away with her.

Goddess of Olympus

In other stories, she was was one of the great goddesses of Crete, and became the bride of the god Dionysus. Some accounts also say that she was Minoan Crete's snake goddess. There are two accounts of how she became a goddess:

According to some, there were actually two Ariadnes, one a goddess, the other mortal royalty, with the mortal Ariadne being the goddess's namesake and the goddess Ariadne having been a goddess originally and never having been mortal at all.

In most other accounts, Theseus abandoned Ariadne sleeping on Naxos, and Dionysus discovered and wedded her, transforming her into a goddess so that they could always be together. In a few versions of the myth, Dionysus appeared to Theseus as they sailed away from Crete, saying that he had chosen Ariadne as his wife, and demanded that Theseus leave her on Naxos for him.

DC Comics

In DC Comics continuity, there are five distinct characters with the name Ariadne:

Ariadne of Themyscira

(in Wonder Woman Annual #6, Jan 1997)

Ariadne riding horses with a young Princess Diana and another of her fellow Amazons

As a young girl, Princess Diana of Themyscira was out horse riding with two of her friends among her fellow Amazons, Ariadne was one of them. She was also the leader of Queen Hippolyta's Blue Guard, who specialized in horse-mounted combat.

Diana, who at that young age did not even know that people could die, was headless and accidentally caused her death.

Ariadne saving Diana

Feeling guilty for this, Diana journeyed to the afterlife to try to bring her back to the land of the living. As it turned out though, Diana soon found herself in grave trouble, and, in the end, it was Ariadne who saved Diana so that she could return home.

Ariadne stayed behind in the afterlife, finding peace in the Elysian Fields.

In Greek myth, Ariadne is Circe's niece. It was never said if there was a similar connection for this version of her to the infamous Wonder Woman villain Circe, or what, if any, connection she may have had to Ariadne of Knossos whom Circe used as a tool for her wrath in both ancient and modern times. However, as an Themysciran Amazon, given the gift of immortality by their patron goddesses, she could well have been alive during the right time period for there to have been a connection like that.

Ariadne of the Amazons

(in Wonder Woman #317, July 1984)

A pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths version of her character. A hot-headed member of the Daughters of Atalanta (a tribe of Amazons that live by the Amazon river instead of on Paradise Island).

Ariadne attacks Wonder Woman

Ariadne the Goddess

(in Wow Comics and Mary Marvel, 1941-1947)

In the Mary Marvel comics, she was one of the 7 immortal goddesses who gave Mary her amazing powers and made her the world's mightiest girl.

Ariadne was the one who gave Mary the gift of Skill.

Ariadne is the one pictured in the upper right with the golden Alice-headband

Ariadne of Knossos

  • the ancient past

(in Wonder Woman #19, Aug 1988)

This version of Ariadne was more directly based on the Greek myth. In ancient times, she was Theseus's abandoned lover whom Circe used to do her dirty-work for her.

the story of Ariadne's dark prayer to Circe
  • resurrected in the present

(in Wonder Woman #168, 169, and Wonder Woman: Our Worlds at War #1, May-Oct 2001)

In the present time, Circe resurrected her from the dead to seek her vengeance once again. She masqueraded as an Amazon of Themyscira for a time and sowed the seeds of a civil war.

Ariadne's treachery revealed

Ariadne Persakis

(in JLA vs. Cobra #1-6 Aug 2009-Jan 2010)

Solo

In a short story by Paul Pope, a version of the Greek Myth is retold.

Ariadne in DC Comics' Solo #3 (2005)

Byzantine Empress

Aelia Ariadne (ca. 450 – 515) was the Empress consort of Zeno and Anastasius I of the Byzantine Empire. She was the daughter of Leo I and Verina. Her mother was a sister of Basiliscus. Aelia Ariadne also had a younger sister, Leontia.

Film and Television

Atlantis (2013-present)

Ariadne

Recently, the character of Ariadne has been featured heavily in a television series titled "Atlantis", where in she is at first a princess and the love interest for the hero of the story, Jason.

Later, her father dies, she becomes queen of Atlantis, and her adopted mother Pasiphae leads an army against her.

Inception (2010)

Ariadne

Inception is a science fiction heist thriller film.

Ellen Page played Ariadne, a graduate student of architecture who is recruited to construct various dreamscapes, which are described as mazes.

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