Ariadne: Resources for Athenaze


Thinking about Ariadne's Role in the Myth


Ariadne with Dionysos
Ariadne and Dionysos on a kline, served by a satyr, Mississippi 1977.3.62

How would you characterize Ariadne's role in this story? Why does Ariadne decide to help Theseus? What do you think would have happened to him without her help? What does Ariadne risk in helping him? How is she rewarded? What happens to Ariadne after Theseus abandons her on Naxos?

Read the backstory on Ariadne's family and explore Ariadne's family tree, and then answer the following questions: Where does the Minotaur come from? Who is his mother? Who is Ariadne's sister? Do you see any patterns in the myths surrounding Ariadne, Pasiphae, and Phaedra? How is women's erotic desire represented in these myths?

Why might Myrrhine tell this story to her children? How does Melitta react to it? What is the significance of this myth? What can in tell us about the role of women in Greek culture? Why has it been such a popular myth in Western art and literature?

Check out Ariadne's letter to Theseus, written by the Roman poet Ovid. How does Ovid characterize Ariadne? Is this the sort of letter you think she would write? Why or why not?

Photo credit: Attic black figure neck amphora, 510-500 BCE. Mississippi 1977.3.62 (Vase)
Photograph by Maria Daniels, courtesy of the University Museums, University of Mississippi, May 1991



Classical Studies
Cornell College

Last Update: December 12, 2015 3:34 pm
John Gruber-Miller