Painting Stories: Ariadne and Dionysus

Greek mythology was on my 4th grade literature curriculum. Don’t ask me why – even in the abriged version, those stories are not for the faint of heart. But, because my family never throws out books, I ended up going through our old, Titanic copy of the Myths and Legends. The one meant for adults.

For those of you who never heard of Ovidius and Homer, let me try and paint you the most flattering picture possible: A lot of shit happens.

The Gods of the greek pantheon are neither fair nor interested in fairness. In fact, many of them are as bad as humans, except… you know, they have superpowers. Being right didn’t really matter. Being on the gods’ good side… it sometimes saved you from a terrible fate, but not always.

Women (divine or not) frequently got the short end of the straw: Maya, Smela, Leda, and all of Zeus’ lovers eventually had to run from Hera’s wrath. Psyche basically had to go to Hell and back because Aphrodite didn’t like the way other people thought one was the earthly coming of the other. And don’t even get me started on Medusa. (Lucky me, there’s “The Deep End of the Sea” to fix that myth for me.)

Ariadne, too, is one who had to put up with a lot before she got a (sort of) happy ever after.

Daughter of the king of Crete (I think) and sister to the Minotaur, Ariadne didn’t like how the people of Athens had to pay a tithe of 7 youths and 7 maids in order to keep her monstrous brother satisfied, and her father from basically ransacking the city. (My memory off the myth is a bit foggy, mind you.) She helped the hero Theseus to escape the Labyrinth, where the Minotaur was trapped, thus saving the tithes, but also guaranteeing the death of her brother. She then escaped with them at sea.

You’d think she then marrier Theseus, because that is how stories go. But homeboy actually got a dream from the gods that Ariadne was meant to become the wife of Dionysus, the God of Wine, and thus had to abanon her on the island where they were staying overnight. In other versions of the myth, Theseus just abandoned her without any divine intervention. Eventually Dionysus came to save her but still…

Imagine what she must have gone through.

That is what this Inktober illustration came from.


Psst: It’s Black Friday weekend. RedBubble are sure to run a lot of fun promo. Maybe if you liked one of my designs, now is a good time to get it?


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