Who was Ariadne?

Ariadne, Theseus and the maze detailMany clients ask us about our name so this page tells you something about Ariadne and why we chose the name

We chose the name Ariadne because she is synonymous with webs and weaving.

Ariadne herself was a Greek princess from mythology.

Ariadne (Greek Αριάδνη), in Greek mythology (Latin Arianna), was daughter of King Minos of Crete and his queen, Pasiphaë, daughter of Helios, the Sun-titan. She aided Theseus in overcoming the Minotaur and escaping from the labyrinth using a ball of red fleece thread to guide him. According to legend Theseus abandoned Ariadne on the Island of Naxos. There is a famous painting by Titian in which the Greek god Bacchus falls in love with Ariadne (he raises her into heaven and turns her into a constellation).

The figure of Ariadne originates from the Greek Island of Crete. The story of Ariadne and Theseus may symbolically represent the overthrow of the Minoan empire by Greece. The Minoans had a Goddess based culture and it could be that Ariadne is a representation of a Minoan Goddess. In Minoan culture acrobats leapt over bulls during major festivities, it is possible that the Minotaur is derived from the Minoan bulls. Sir Arthur Evans suggested that the labyrinth was in fact the royal palace of Knosos in Crete which he excavated. Knosos had over 1300 rooms and so was indeed like a labyrinth.

The name Ariadne means "most holy", composed of the Cretan Greek αρι (ari) "most" and αδνος (adnos) "holy" or "pure". The name certainly suggests a possible link between Ariadne and the Minoan Goddess. Some have suggested that Ariadne was the Minoan snake Goddess.

Other uses of the name Ariadne

In mythology Ariadne was the bride of the god Dionysus.

There is a "Saint Ariadne" and Ariadne is a female first name more common in Europe.

These days you find the name Ariadne all over the web - but Ariadne Designs Ltd was one of the first companies to use the name in the context of the world wide web. We were formed originally in 1996 and have been developing innovative websites and spreading the word ever since.

We are a company dedicated to improving the web through well designed websites. Just as Ariadne helped Thesius escape the labyrinth so we can help you to get through the maze of the World Wide Web.

You can find out more about Ariadne from the following sources:

Ariadne on Wikipedia

Theseus on the myth encyclopedia