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Ariadne ("very pure or pleasing") was a fertility goddess of Crete. She was especially worshipped on Naxos, Delos, Cyprus, and in Athens. The Romans called her Libera.

In later Greek mythology, Ariadne became known as the daughter of King Minos of Crete, who conquered Athens after his son was murdered there. The Athenians were required to sacrifice seven young men and seven maidens each year to the Minotaur. One year, the sacrificial party included Theseus, a young man who volunteered to come and kill the Minotaur. Ariadne fell in love at the first sight of him, and helped him by giving him a magic sword and a ball of thread so that he could find his way out the Minotaur's labyrinth. She ran away with Theseus after he achieved his goal, but he left her sleeping on Naxos, and Dionysus wedded her. With Dionysus, she was the mother of Oenopion.

Ariadne is also the name of a play by A.A. Milne