Ariadne and Theseus: The Labyrinth
King Minos of Crete angered Poseidon, for he had promised to sacrifice to the Sea God his most beautiful bull, but when the time came he could not bring himself to do so. Queen Pasiphaê, his wife, had also neglected the Rites of Aphrodite, thereby incurring that goddesses' wrath. Therefore Poseidon and Aphrodite caused Pasiphaê to fall in love with the bull. Through the contrivance of Daidalos, a master craftsman from Athens, they were able to mate, and so was born the minotaur, who was named Asterios (Star).
Minos, in shame, ordered that Daidalos build the labyrinth to house it so that his wife's perfidy not be seen by the public. The labyrinth was so designed that it was easy to go in, but difficult, if not impossible, to come out again. At this time Crete was in conflict with Athens, and when the Athenians, struck by a terrible drought, asked advice from the oracle they were told they must appease Minos. Whereupon Minos demanded that every nine years, seven youths and seven maidens, chosen from the noblest of Athenian families, were to be sacrificed to the minotaur. When Minos came for the sacrificial victims, Theseus was chosen to be among them. Theseus picked six valiant youths and seven brave maidens to go with him to try to slay the beast. Ariadne (means "Very Holy") was the daughter of Minos. She hoped for some means of escape from her father's tainted kingdom, where she was Mistress of the Labyrinth. When she beheld Theseus disembarking from the boat, she immediately fell in love with him.
She consulted with Daidalos and he taught her that the only way to exit the labyrinth was by the exact same path by which one had entered into it. And so she came up with the method called Ariadne's Thread, the use of a string to mark the way, by which Theseus might escape after the monster was killed. The minotaur was slain by Theseus and his companions and the Athenians were able to return from the labyrinth by using the string. The Athenians then set sail back to Athens with Ariadne. However, an ill wind blew the ship off course to the isle of Dia. There, Theseus and Ariadne were drugged and put to sleep. While they slept, Dionysos came to Theseus in a dream and claimed Ariadne as his bride, and when Theseus awoke, Athena led him away and told him that his destiny was in Athens, and that he must leave Ariadne behind.
Theseus sadly boarded his ship and sailed for home. Theseus forgot, either because he was consumed with sorrow for having to leave Ariadne behind, or because Athena or Dionysos made him forget, that he had promised his father that if he was successful and killed the Minotaur he would take down the black sail and put up a white one. When King Aigeus saw the black sail come over the horizon, he threw himself in grief from the Acropolis and drowned. Ariadne and Dionysos meanwhile ascended together into the heavens where her crown is still visible (the constellation Corona). She became a goddess and dwells with Dionysos. She bore him two boys, Oinopion (from oinos, means wine) and Staphulos (from staphulê means a bunch of grapes).