Ariadne was the daughter of King Minos of Crete and his wife Pasiphae, in Greek mythology. By her mother, she was the granddaughter of the sun god Helios. She is best known for her pivotal role in the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur.
According to the myth, Minos' son died during some games that were organised in Athens. In retribution, the king of Crete attacked Athens and won. He then imposed a heavy burden on the city; he demanded that seven young men and seven young women be sent to Crete every year in order to be sent for sacrifice into the Labyrinth underneath Minos' palace, where the Minotaur dwelt. The Minotaur was a half-bull, half-human creature that was born from the union of Pasiphae with a bull.
One year, when the fourteen young people of Athens were about to be sent to Crete, Theseus, son of King Aegeus of Athens, volunteered to be sent in order to kill the Minotaur and end the sacrifices for good. When they arrived in Crete, Ariadne fell in love with Theseus and decided to help him in his quest. She gave him a sword to fight the Minotaur, as well as a ball of thread; she advised him to tie one end near the entrance of the labyrinth and let the thread unroll as he delves deeper into the twisting and branching paths. When Theseus found the Minotaur, he managed to slay him, and then followed the thread back to the entrance, where Ariadne was waiting. She then eloped with him on his way back to Athens.
According to some versions of the story, when the ship of Theseus stopped at the island of Naxos on the way back home, he abandoned Ariadne there. She was then seen by the god of wine Dionysus, and married her. Other versions say that Dionysus demanded from Theseus to leave Ariadne on the island. From the union of Dionysus and Ariadne, a number of children were born; Oenopion, personification of wine; Staphylus, personification of grapes; Thoas, Peparethus, Phanus, and many more. A version of Ariadne's myth has it that she was killed by Perseus, while a different one says that she hanged herself. Dionysus then went to Hades, and brought her and his mother Semele to Mount Olympus, where they were deified.