Aelian, On Animals 7.28
When Ikarios was slain by the relatives of those who, after drinking wine for the first time fell asleep (for as yet they did not know that what had happened was not death but a drunken stupor) the people of Attika suffered from disease, Dionysos thereby (as I think) avenging the first and the most elderly man who cultivated his plants. At any rate the Pythian oracle declared that if they wanted to be restored to health they must offer sacrifice to Ikarios and to Erigone his daughter and to her hound which was celebrated for having in its excessive love for its mistress declined to outlive her.
Aelian, Historical Miscellany 12.57
When Alexander the son of Philip led his forces against Thebes the gods sent them signs and portents presaging their imminent fate. At the temple of Demeter a spider began to cover the face of the cult statue with its handiwork and weave its usual product.
Aischylos, The Suppliant Maidens 885-88
Chorus of Danaïdes: Oh father … he carries me to the sea,
like a spider, step by step, a nightmare,
a black nightmare.
Anonymous, The Contest Between Hesiod and Homer Fragment 1
The local feast of Ariadne was being held.
Apollodoros, Bibliotheca 2.192
It was during the reign of Pandion that Demeter and Dionysos came to Attika. Keleus welcomed Demeter to Eleusis, and Ikarios received Dionysos, who gave him a vine-cutting and taught him the art of making wine. Ikarios was eager to share the god’s kindness with mankind, so he went to some shepherds, who, when they had tasted the drink and then delightedly and recklessly gulped it down undiluted, thought they had been poisoned and slew Ikarios. But in the daylight they regained their senses and buried him. As his daughter was looking for him, a dog named Maira, who had been Ikarios’ faithful companion, unearthed the corpse; and Erigone, in the act of mourning her father, hanged herself.
Apollodoros, Library E1. 7-1.9
Ariadne gave Theseus a ball of thread as he entered. He fastened this to the door and let it trail behind him as he went in. He came across the Minotaur in the furthest section of the labyrinth, killed him with jabs of his fist, and then made his way out again by pulling himself along the thread.
Diodoros Sikeliotes, Library of History 5.76.3
Britomartis was born at Kaino in Crete of Zeus and Karme, the daughter of Euboulos who was the son of Demeter; she invented the nets which are used in hunting, whence she has been called Diktynna, and she passed her time in the company of Artemis, this being the reason why some men think Diktynna and Artemis are one and the same goddess; and the Cretans have instituted sacrifices and built temples in honor of this goddess. But those men who tell the tale that she has been named Diktynna because she fled into some fishermen’s nets when she was pursued by Minos, who would have ravished her, have missed the truth; for its is not a probable story that the goddess should ever have got into so helpless a state that she would have required the aid that men can give, being as she is the daughter of the greatest one of the gods.
Etymologicum genuinum, s.v. auroschas
The vine: used by Parthenius in his Herakles: The vinecluster of the daughter of Ikarios.
Etymologicum Magnum 42.4
Aiora: A festival for the Athenians, which they call a feast offered to departed souls. For they say that Erigone, daughter of Aigisthos and Klytmenestra came with her grandfather Tyndareus to Athens to prosecute Orestes. When he was acquitted, she hung herself and became a cause of pollution for the Athenians. In accordance with an oracle, the festival is performed for her.
Etymologicum Magnum 62.9
Aletis: Some say that she is Erigone, the daughter of Ikarios, since she wandered everywhere seeking her father. Others say she is the daughter of Aigisthos and Klytemnestra. Still others say she is the daughter of Maleotos the Tyrrhenian; others that she is Medea, since, having wandered after the murder of her children, she escaped to Aigeus. Others say that she is Persephone, wherefore those grinding the wheat offer some cakes to her.
Hermesianax of Colophon, as quoted in Athenaios’ Deipnosophistai 597a
How, too, Sophokles the Attic bee left Colone of the many hillocks, and sang with choruses marshalled in tragedy – sang of Bakchos and of his passion for Theoris and for Erigone.
Hesiod, Theogony 947
And golden-haired Dionysos made blonde-haired Ariadne, the daughter of Minos, his buxom wife: and the son of Kronos made her deathless and unageing for him.
Hesiod, Works and Days ll. 770-779
But the twelfth is much better than the eleventh, for on it the airy-swinging spider spins its web in full day.
Homer, Odyssey 2.93-95, 104-105
This was her latest masterpiece of guile: she set up a great loom in the royal halls and she began to weave, and the weaving finespun, the yarns endless … So by day she’d weave at her great and growing web – by night, by the light of torches set beside her, she would unravel all she’d done.
Homer, Odyssey 11.321
And Phaedra and Prokris I saw, and fair Ariadne, the daughter of Minos of baneful mind, whom once Theseus was fain to bear from Crete to the hill of sacred Athens; but he had no joy of her, for ere that Artemis slew her in sea-girt Dia because of the witness of Dionysos.
Hyginus, Astronomica 2.5
This is thought to be Ariadne’s crown, placed by Father Liber among the constellations. For they say that when Ariadne wed Liber on the island of Dia, and all the gods gave her wedding gifts, she first received this crown as a gift from Venus and the Hours. But, as the author of the Cretica says, at the time when Liber came to Minos with the hope of lying with Ariadne, he gave her this crown as a present. Delighted with it, she did not refuse the terms. It is said, too, to have been made of gold and Indian gems, and by its aid Theseus is thought to have come from the gloom of the labyrinth to the day, for the gold and gems made a glow of light in the darkness.
Hyginus, Astronomica 2.2
The constellation Bootes. The Bear Watcher. Some have said that he is Icarus, father of Erigone, to whom, on account of his justice and piety, Father Liber gave wine, the vine, and the grape, so that he could show men how to plant the vine, what would grow from it, and how to use what was produced. When he had planted the vine, and by careful tending with a pruning-knife had made it flourish, a goat is said to have broken into the vineyard, and nibbled the tenderest leaves he saw there. Icarus, angered by this, took him and killed him and from his skin made a sack, and blowing it up, bound it tight, and cast it among his friends, directing them to dance around it. And so Eratosthenes says : `Around the goat of Icarus they first danced.’
Others say that Icarus, when he had received the wine from Father Liber, straightway put full wineskins on a wagon. For this he was called Boötes. When he showed it to the shepherds on going round through the Attic country, some of them, greedy and attracted by the new kind of drink, became stupefied, and sprawling here and there, as if half-dead, kept uttering unseemly things. The others, thinking poison had been given the shepherds by Icarus, so that he could drive their flocks into his own territory, killed him, and threw him into a well, or, as others say, buried him near a certain tree. However, when those who had fallen asleep, woke up, saying that hey had never rested better, and kept asking for Icarus in order to reward him, his murderers, stirred by conscience, at once took to flight and came to the island of the Ceans. Received there as guests, they established homes for themselves.
But when Erigone, the daughter of Icarus, moved by longing for her father, saw he did not return and was on the point of going out to hunt for him, the dog of Icarus, Maera by name, returned to her, howling as if lamenting the death of its master. It gave her no slight suspicion of murder, for the timid girl would naturally suspect her father had been killed since he had been gone so many months and days. But the dog, taking hold of her dress with its teeth, led her to the body. As soon as the girl saw it, abandoning hope, and overcome with loneliness and poverty, with many tearful lamentations she brought death on herself by hanging from the very tree beneath which her father was buried. And the dog made atonement for her death by its own life. Some say that it cast itself into the well, Anigrus by name. For this reason they repeat the story that no one afterward drank from that well. Jupiter, pitying their misfortune, represented their forms among the stars. And so many have called Icarus, Boötes, and Erigone, the Virgin, about whom we shall speak later. The dog, however, from its own name and likeness, they have called Canicula. It is called Procyon by the Greeks, because it rises before the greater Dog. Others say these were pictured among the stars by Father Liber.
In the meantime in the district of the Athenians many girls without cause committed suicide by hanging, because Erigone, in dying, had prayed that Athenian girls should meet the same kind of death she was to suffer if the Athenians did not investigate the death of Icarus and avenge it. And so when these things happened as described, Apollo gave oracular response to them when they consulted him, saying that they should appease Erigone if they wanted to be free from the affliction. So since she hanged herself, they instituted a practice of swinging themselves on ropes with bars of wood attached, so that the one hanging could be moved by the wind. They instituted this as a solemn ceremony, and they perform it both privately and publicly, and call it alétis, aptly terming her mendicant who, unknown and lonely, sought for her father with the god. The Greeks call such people alétides.
Hyginus, Fabulae 130
When Father Liber went out to visit men in order to demonstrate the sweetness and pleasantness of his fruit, he came to the generous hospitality of Icarius and Erigone. To them he gave a skin full of wine as a gift and bade them spread the use of it in all the other lands. Loading a wagon, Icarius with his daughter Erigone and a dog Maera came to shepherds in the land of Attica, and showed them the kind of sweetness wine had. The shepherds, made drunk by drinking immoderately, collapsed, and thinking that Icarius had given them some bad medicine, killed him with clubs. The dog Maera, howling over the body of the slain Icarius, showed Erigone where her father lay unburied. When she came there, she killed herself by hanging in a tree over the body of her father. Because of this, Father Liber afflicted the daughters of the Athenians with alike punishment. They asked an oracular response from Apollo concerning this, and he told them they had neglected he deaths of Icarius and Erigone. At this reply they exacted punishment from the shepherds, and in honour of Erigone instituted a festival day of swinging because of the affliction, decreeing that through the grape-harvest they should pour libations to Icarius and Erigone. By the will of the gods they were put among the stars. Erigone is the sign Virgo whom we call Justice; Icarius is called Arcturus among the stars, and the dog Maera is Canicula.
Kallimachos, Aitia 1.1
Nor did the morn of the Broaching of the Jars pass unheeded, nor that whereon the Pitchers of Orestes bring a white day for slaves. And when he kept the yearly festival of Ikarios’ child, thy day, Erigone, lady most sorrowful of Attic women, he invited to a banquet his familiars, and among them a stranger who was newly visiting Egypt, whither he had come on some private business.
Nonnos, Dionysiaka 18.216-217
Staphylos brought embroidered robes, which Persian Arachne beside the waters of Tigris had cleverly made with her fine thread. Then the generous king spoke to Bromios of the earlier war between Zeus and Kronos.
Nonnos, Dionysiaka 40
So Dionysos distributed the spoils of battle among his followers, after the Indian War, and sent returning home the whole host who had shared his labours. The people made haste to go, laden with shining treasures of the Eastern sea and birds of many strange forms. Their return was a triumphal march with universal acclaim to Dionysos the invincible Leaving the long stretch of Arabia with its deepshadowy forests he measured the Assyrian road on foot, and had a mind to see the Tyrian land, Cadmos’s country; for thither he turned his tracks, and with stuffs in thousands before his eyes he admired the manycoloured patterns of Assyrian art, as he stared at the woven work of the Babylonian Arachne; he examined cloth dyed with the Tyrian shell, shooting out sea-sparklings of purple: on that shore once a dog busy by the sea, gobbling the wonderful lurking fish with joyous jaws, stained his white jowl with the blood of the shell, and reddened his lips with running fire, which once alone made scarlet the sea-dyed robes of kings.
Nonnos, Dionysiaca 47.434
He shed the blood of the halfbull man whose den was the earthdug labyrinth, but you know your thread was his savior for the man of Athens with his club would never have found victory in that contest without a rosy-red girl to help him.
Nonnos, Dionysiaka 47.665 ff
Perseus shook in his hand the deadly face of Medousa, and turned armed Ariadne into stone. Bakchos was even more furious when he saw his bride all stone … Hermes descended upon the battlefield and spoke to Dionysos these words, ‘She has died in battle, a glorious fate, and you ought to think Ariadne happy in her death, because she found one so great to slay her … Come now, lay down your thyrsos, let the winds blow battle away, and fix the selfmade image of mortal Ariadne where the image of heavenly Hera stands.’
Ovid, Fasti 3
Theseus’ crime deified her. She gave that ingrate the winding thread and gladly swapped her perjured husband for Bacchus. Pleased with her marital fate, she asked: ‘Why did I sob like a country girl? His lies were my gain.’ Liber meanwhile conquered the coiffured Indians and returned rich from the Orient world. Among the captive girls of surpassing beauty was a princess whom Bacchus liked too much. His loving wife wept and, as she paced the curving beach, delivered words like these, dishevelled: ‘Come, waves, listen again to identical sobs. Come, sand, absorb again my weeping. I recall my cry, “Perjured, perfidious Theseus!” He left me. Bacchus incurs the same charge. Now again I cry, “No woman should trust a man!” My case is the same, the man’s name altered. I wish my fate had proceeded as it started, and at the present time I was nothing. Why did you save me, Liber, as I faced my death on lonely sands? I could have stopped my pain. Love-light Bacchus and lighter than the leaves hugging your brow, Bacchus known only for my tears, have you the gall to parade a whore before me and ruin our harmonious bed? O, where is your vow? Where are your many oaths? Pity me, how often must I say this? You sued to blame Theseus and call him false. That indictment makes your sin fouler. No one should know this. I burn with silent pain lest someone think I earned such deception. I especially want it kept from Theseus to prevent his delight in sharing guilt. I suppose you prefer a dark whore to my fairness. May my enemies have that complexion. But what’s the point? You like her more for that blemish. What are you doing? She defiles your embrace. Bacchus, remain faithful and prefer no woman to a wife’s love. I love a man forever. The horns of a handsome bull captured my mother, and your horns me. My love flatters, hers shames. My loving should not hurt. You were not hurt, Bacchus, when you admitted your flames for me. It’s no miracle you burn me. You were born in fire, it’s said, ripped from flames by your father’s hand. I’m the woman to whom you kept promising heaven. Ah, what gifts are mine in place of heaven!’ She spoke. Liber had long been listening to her words of complaint, as he followed behind her. He embraces her and mops her tears with kisses, and says: ‘Let us seek heaven’s heights together. You have shared my bed and you will share my name. You will be named Libera, when transformed. I will create a monument of you and your crown, which Volcanus gave Venus and she gave you.’ He does what he said, and turns its nine gems to fires, and the golden crown glitters with nine stars.
Ovid, Fasti 4.901ff
On his right hand hung a napkin with a loose nap, and he had a bowl of wine and a casket of incense. The incense, and wine, and sheep’s guts, and the foul entrails of a filthy dog, he put upon the hearth–we saw him do it. Then to me he said, ‘Thou askest why an unwonted victim is assigned to these rites?’ Indeed, I had asked the question. ‘Learn the cause,’ the flamen said. ‘There is a Dog (they call it the Icarian dog), and when that constellation rises the earth is parched and dry, and the crop ripens too soon. So this dog is put on the altar instead of the starry dog.’
Ovid, selections from Book Six of the Metamorphoses
The girl was not known for her place of birth, or family, but for her skill. Her father, Idmon of Colophon, dyed the absorbent wool purple, with Phocaean murex. Her mother was dead. She too had been of humble birth, and the father the same. Nevertheless, though she lived in a modest home, in little Hypaepa, Arachne had gained a name for artistry throughout the cities of Lydia.
Often the nymphs of Mount Tmolus deserted their vine-covered slopes, and the nymphs of the River Pactolus deserted their waves, to examine her wonderful workmanship. It was not only a joy to see the finished cloths, but also to watch them made: so much beauty added to art.
There, shades of purple, dyed in Tyrian bronze vessels, are woven into the cloth, and also lighter colours, shading off gradually. The threads that touch seem the same, but the extremes are distant, as when, often, after a rainstorm, the expanse of the sky, struck by the sunlight, is stained by a rainbow in one vast arch, in which a thousand separate colours shine, but the eye itself still cannot see the transitions. There, are inserted lasting threads of gold, and an ancient tale is spun in the web.
The Maeonian girl depicts Europa deceived by the form of the bull: you would have thought it a real bull and real waves. She is seen looking back to the shore she has left, and calling to her companions, displaying fear at the touch of the surging water, and drawing up her shrinking feet. Also Arachne showed Asterie, held by the eagle, struggling, and Leda lying beneath the swan’s wings. She added Jupiter who, hidden in the form of a satyr, filled Antiope, daughter of Nycteus with twin offspring; who, as Amphitryon, was charmed by you, Alcmena, of Tiryns; by Danaë, as a golden shower; by Aegina, daughter of Asopus, as a flame; by Mnemosyne, as a shepherd; by Proserpine, Ceres’s daughter, as a spotted snake.
She wove you, Neptune, also, changed to a fierce bull for Canace, Aeolus’s daughter. In Enipeus’s form you begot the Aloidae, and deceived Theophane as a ram. The golden-haired, gentlest, mother of the cornfields, knew you as a horse. The snake-haired mother of the winged horse, knew you as a winged bird. Melantho knew you as a dolphin. She gave all these their own aspects, and the aspects of the place. Here is Phoebus like a countryman, and she shows him now with the wings of a hawk, and now in a lion’s skin, and how as a shepherd he tricked Isse, Macareus’s daughter. She showed how Bacchus ensnared Erigone with delusive grapes, and how Saturn as the double of a horse begot Chiron. The outer edge of the web, surrounded by a narrow border, had flowers interwoven with entangled ivy.
And there was Bacchus, when he was disguised as a large cluster of fictitious grapes; deluding by that wile the beautiful Erigone;–and Saturnus, as a steed, begetter of the dual-natured Chiron. And then Arachne, to complete her work, wove all around the web a patterned edge of interlacing flowers and ivy leaves.
Neither Pallas nor Envy itself could fault that work. The golden-haired warrior goddess was grieved by its success, and tore the tapestry, embroidered with the gods’ crimes, and as she held her shuttle made of boxwood from Mount Cytorus, she struck Idmonian Arachne, three or four times, on the forehead. The unfortunate girl could not bear it, and courageously slipped a noose around her neck: Pallas, in pity, lifted her, as she hung there, and said these words, ‘Live on then, and yet hang, condemned one, but, lest you are careless in future, this same condition is declared, in punishment, against your descendants, to the last generation!’ Departing after saying this, she sprinkled her with the juice of Hecate’s herb, and immediately at the touch of this dark poison, Arachne’s hair fell out. With it went her nose and ears, her head shrank to the smallest size, and her whole body became tiny. Her slender fingers stuck to her sides as legs, the rest is belly, from which she still spins a thread, and, as a spider, weaves her ancient web.
Ovid, Metamorphoses 8.150 ff
The structure was designed by Daedalus, that famous architect. Appearances were all confused; he led the eye astray by a mazy multitude of winding ways … Daedalus in countless corridors built bafflement, and hardly could himself make his way out, so puzzling was the maze. Within this labyrinth Minos shut fast the beast, half bull, half man, and fed him twice on Attic blood, lot-chosen each nine years, until the third choice mastered him. The door, so difficult, which none of those before could find again, by Ariadne’s aid was found.
Ovid, Metamorphoses 10.451
Black clouds cover the hiding stars and night has lost her fires. The first to hide were stars of Icarus and of Erigone, in hallowed love devoted to her father.
From the trial on the Areopagus of Orestes, son of Agamemnon, and Erigone, daughter of Aegisthus, on behalf of Aegisthus and Clytaemnestra; which case Orestes won, since the votes were equal; 944 years, when Demophon was king of Athens.
Pausanias, Description of Greece 1.2.5
Pegasos of Eleutherai introduced the god Dionysos to the Athenians. Herein he was helped by the oracle at Delphoi, which called to mind that the god once dwelt in Athens in the days of Ikarios.
Pausanias, Description of Greece 2.23.7-8
The Argives have other things worth seeing in their town; for instance … the temple of Cretan Dionysos. For they say that the god, having made war on Perseus, afterwards laid aside his enmity and received great honors at the hands of the Argives, including this precinct set specially apart for himself. It was afterwards called the precinct of the Cretan god, because when Ariadne died Dionysos buried her here. Lykeas says that when the temple was being rebuilt an earthenware coffin was found and that it was Ariadne’s. He also said that both himself and his fellow Argives have seen it.
Pausanias, Description of Greece 3.24.3-4
The inhabitants of Brasiai in Lakedaimonia have a story, found nowhere else in Greece, that Semele, after giving birth to her son by Zeus, was discovered by Kadmos and put with Dionysos into a chest, which was washed up by the waves in their country. Semele, who was no longer alive when found, received a splendid funeral, but they brought up Dionysos. For this reason the name of their city, hitherto called Oreiatae, was changed to Brasiai after the washing up of the chest to land; so too in our time the common word used of the waves casting things ashore is ekbrazein. The people of Brasiae add that Ino in the course of her wanderings came to the country, and agreed to become the nurse of Dionysos. They show the cave where Ino nursed him, and call the plain the garden of Dionysos.
Pausanias, Description of Greece 8.23.5-6
About a stade distant from Caphyae is a place called Condylea, where there are a grove and a temple of Artemis called of old Condyleatis. They say that the name of the goddess was changed for the following reason. Some children, the number of whom is not recorded, while playing about the sanctuary found a rope, and tying it round the neck of the image said that Artemis was being strangled. The Caphyans, detecting what the children had done, stoned them to death. When they had done this, a malady befell their women, whose babies were stillborn, until the Pythian priestess bade them bury the children, and sacrifice to them every year as sacrifice is made to heroes, because they had been wrongly put to death. The Caphyans still obey this oracle, and call the goddess at Condyleae, as they say the oracle also bade them, the Strangled Lady from that day to this.
Philostratos the Younger, Imagines 10
Behold the troup of dancers, like the chorus which Daidalos is said to have invented for Ariadne, daughter of Minos; young men and maidens with hands clasped and going about in a circle.
Plutarch, Aetia Graeca 12
The Delphians celebrate three festivals one after the other which occur every eight years, the first of which they call Septerion, the second Heroïs, and the third Charilla. The greater part of the Heroïs has a secret import which the Thyiads b know; but from the portions of the rites that are performed in public one might conjecture that it represents the evocation of Semele. The story of Charilla which they relate is somewhat as follows: A famine following a drought oppressed the Delphians, and they came to the palace of their king with their wives and children and made supplication. The king gave portions of barley and legumes to the more notable citizens, for there was not enough for all. But when an orphaned girl, who was still but a small child, approached him and importuned him, he struck her with his sandal and cast the sandal in her face. But, although the girl was poverty-stricken and without protectors, she was not ignoble in character; and when she had withdrawn, she took off her girdle and hanged herself. As the famine increased and diseases also were added thereto, the prophetic priestess gave an oracle to the king that he must appease Charilla, the maiden who had slain herself. Accordingly, when they had discovered with some difficulty that this was the name of the child who had been struck, they performed a certain sacrificial rite combined with purification, which even now they continue to perform every eight years. For the king sits in state and gives a portion of barley-meal and legumes to everyone, alien and citizen alike, and a doll-like image of Charilla is brought thither. When, accordingly, all have received a portion, the king strikes the image with his sandal. The leader of the Thyiads picks up the image and bears it to a certain place which is full of chasms; there they tie a rope round the neck of the image and bury it in the place where they buried Charilla after she had hanged herself.
Plutarch, Greek and Roman Parallel Stories 9
The story of Ikarios who entertained Dionysos is told by Eratosthenes in his Erigone. The Romans, however, say that Saturnus when once he was entertained by a farmer who had a fair daughter named Entoria, seduced her and begat Janus, Hymnus, Faustus, and Felix. He then taught Icarius the use of wine and viniculture, and told him that he should share his knowledge with his neighbours also. When the neighbours did so and drank more than is customary, they fell into an unusually deep sleep. Imagining that they had been poisoned, they pelted Icarius with stones and killed him; and his grandchildren in despair ended their lives by hanging themselves. When a plague had gained a wide hold among the Romans, Apollo gave an oracle that it would cease if they should appease the wrath of Saturnus and the spirits of those who had perished unlawfully. Lutatius Catulus, one of the nobles, built for the god the precinct which lies near the Tarpeian Rock. He made the upper altar with four faces, either because of Icarius’s grandchildren or because the year has four parts; and he designated a month January. Saturnus placed them all among the stars. The others are called harbingers of the vintage, but Janus rises before them. His star is to be seen just in front of the feet of Virgo. So Critolaus in the fourth book of his Phaenomena.
Plutarch, Life of Themistokles 22.1
The temple of Artemis Themistokles established near his house in Melite, where now the public officers cast out the bodies of those who have been put to death, and carry forth the garments and the nooses of those who have dispatched themselves by hanging.
Plutarch, Life of Theseus 20.1-5
There are many other stories about these matters, and also about Ariadne, but they do not agree at all. Some say that she hung herself because she was abandoned by Theseus; others that she was conveyed to Naxos by sailors and there lived with Oinaros the priest of Dionysos, and that she was abandoned by Theseus because he loved another woman. […] A very peculiar account of these matters is published by Paion the Amathusian. He says that Theseus, driven out of his course by a storm to Kypros, and having with him Ariadne, who was big with child and in sore sickness and distress from the tossing of the sea, set her on shore alone, but that he himself, while trying to succour the ship, was borne out to sea again. The women of the island, accordingly, took Ariadne into their care, and tried to comfort her in the discouragement caused by her loneliness, brought her forged letters purporting to have been written to her by Theseus, ministered to her aid during the pangs of travail, and gave her burial when she died before her child was born. Paion says further that Theseus came back, and was greatly afflicted, and left a sum of money with the people of the island, enjoining them to sacrifice to Ariadne, and caused two little statuettes to be set up in her honor, one of silver, and one of bronze. He says also that at the sacrifice in her honor on the second day of the month Gorpiaeus, one of their young men lies down and imitates the cries and gestures of women in travail; and that they call the grove in which they show her tomb, the grove of Ariadne Aphrodite. Some of the Naxians also have a story of their own, that there were two Minoses and two Ariadnes, one of whom, they say, was married to Dionysos in Naxos and bore him Staphylos and his brother, and the other, of a later time, having been carried off by Theseus and then abandoned by him, came to Naxos, accompanied by a nurse named Korkyne, whose tomb they show; and that this Ariadne also died there, and has honors paid her unlike those of the former, for the festival of the first Ariadne is celebrated with mirth and revels, but the sacrifices performed in honor of the second are attended with sorrow and mourning.
Plutarch, Life of Theseus 21.1-2
On his voyage from Crete Theseus put in at Delos, and having sacrificed to the god and dedicated in his temple the image of Aphrodite which he had received from Ariadne, he danced with his youths a dance which they say is still performed by the Delians, being an imitation of the circling passages in the labyrinth, and consisting of certain rhythmic involutions and evolutions. This kind of dance, as Dikaiarchos tells us, is called by the Delians The Crane, and Theseus danced it round the altar called Keraton, which is constructed of horns taken entirely from the left side of the head.
Plutarch, Life of Theseus 23.2
It was Theseus who instituted also the Athenian festival of the Oschophoria. For it is said that he did not take away with him all the maidens on whom the lot fell at that time, but picked out two young men of his acquaintance who had fresh and girlish faces, but eager and manly spirits, and changed their outward appearance almost entirely by giving them warn baths and keeping them out of the sun, by arranging their hair, and by smoothing their skin and beautifying their complexions with unguents; he also taught them to imitate maidens as closely as possible in their speech, their dress, and their gait, and to leave no difference that could be observed, and then enrolled them among the maidens who were going to Crete, and was undiscovered by any. And when he was come back, he himself and these two young men headed a procession, arrayed as those are now arrayed who carry the vine-branches. They carry these in honor of Dionysos and Ariadne, and because of their part in the story; or rather, because they came back home at the time of the vintage. And the women called Deipnophoroi, or supper-carriers, take part in the procession and share in the sacrifice, in imitation of the mothers of the young men and maidens on whom the lot fell, for these kept coming with bread and meat for their children. And tales are told at this festival, because these mothers, for the sake of comforting and encouraging their children, spun out tales for them. At any rate, these details are to be found in the history of Damon.
Pliny the Elder, Natural History 7.196
The use of the spindle in the manufacture of woolen was invented by Closter son of Arachne, linen and nets by Arachne.
Servius, On Vergil’s Georgics 2.389
But after a certain time, a sickness afflicted the Athenians to such an extent that their maidens were driven by some kind of frenzy.
Statius, Thebaid 4. 684
When Bacchus sought to bring drought to the land of Argos he cried, ‘Ye rustic Nymphae, deities of the streams, no small portion of my train, fulfil the task that I now do set you. Stop fast with earth awhile the Argolic river-springs, I beg, and the pools and running brooks … The stars lend their strong influence to my design, and the heat-bringing hound of my Erigone is foaming. Go then of your goodwill, go into the hidden places of earth.
Statius, Thebaid 11.644
Sorrowful Erigone weeping in the Marathonian wood beside the body of her slain father, her plaints exhausted, began to untie the sad knot of her girdle and chose sturdy branches intent on death.
Suidas s.v. Ἠριγόνειος τάφος “Erigoneios taphos”
An Erigonian tomb.
The First Vatican Mythographer 19
Icarius’ dog returned to his daughter, Erigone; she followed his tracks and, when she found her father’s corpse, she ended her life with a noose. Through the mercy of the gods she was restored to life again among the constellations; men call her Virgo. That dog was also placed among the stars. But after some time such a sickness was sent upon the Athenians that their maidens were driven by a certain madness to hang themselves. The oracle responded that this pestilence could be stopped if the corpses of Erigone and Icarius were sought again. These were found nowhere after being sought for a long time. Then, to show their devotedness, and to appear to seek them in another element, the Athenians hung rope from trees. Holding on to this rope, the men were tossed here and there so that they seemed to seek the corpses in the air. But since most were falling from the trees, they decided to make shapes in the likeness of their own faces and hang these in place of themselves. Hence, little masks are called oscilla because in them faces oscillate, that is, move.
The Third Vatican Mythographer
When Icarius, a priest of Bacchus and King of Athens, and the best of hunters too, gave wine to the peasants to drink, they became inebriated. Thinking that they had taken poison, they killed him and, to conceal the crime, they threw him into a well. But a little dog that was with him returned home to Erigone, his daughter, and by its sorrow and whatever signs it could, the little dog led her to the well. When Erigone wept at the well for a long time, at last she was carried up into the sky with the little dog and became the sign called Virgo. The little dog became the principal constellation that is next to Virgo. When the sun is in this, the days called “dog days” are hot and hurtful, like a little dog. The sun is said to be in Virgo because, just as a virgin in barren, so when the sun courses through that sign, the earth is barren and dry, for it produces nothing because of the burning sun.
Xenophon, The Symposion 9.1-7
Autolykos got up to go out for a walk (it being now his usual time) and his father Lykon, as he was departing to accompany him, turned back and said “So help me Hera, Sokrates; if ever any one deserved the appellation beautiful and good, you are that man!”
After he had withdrawn the Syracusan came in and announced, “Gentlemen, Ariadne will soon enter the chamber set apart for her and Dionysos; after that, Dionysos — a little flushed with wine drunk at a banquet of the gods — will come to join her, and then they shall play!”
He had scarce concluded when Ariadne entered, attired like a bride. She crossed the stage and sat herself upon the throne. Meanwhile, before the god himself appeared a sound of flutes was heard; the cadence of the Bacchic air proclaimed his coming. At this point the company broke forth in admiration of the master of the dance. For no sooner did the sound of music strike upon the ear of Ariadne than something in her action revealed to all the pleasure which it caused her. She did not step forward to meet her lover, she did not rise even from her seat; but the flutter of her unrest was plain to see.
When Dionysos presently caught sight of his beloved, lightly he danced towards her, and with show of tenderest passion gently reclined upon her knees; his arms entwined about her lovingly, and upon her lips he sealed a kiss;–she the while with most sweet bashfulness was fain to wind responsive arms about her lover; then the banqueters, who had been eagerly watching the whole while clapped their hands and cried “Encore!” Dionysos rose to his feet and lifted Ariadne to her full height and the action of those lovers as they kissed and caressed one another was a thing to contemplate. As to the spectators, they could see that Dionysos was indeed most beautiful, and Ariadne like some lovely blossom; nor were those mocking gestures, but real kisses sealed on loving lips; and so, with hearts aflame, they gazed expectantly. For they overheard Dionysos asking her if she loved him, and heard her vowing that she did, so earnestly that not only Dionysos but all the bystanders as well would have taken their oaths in confirmation that the youth and the maid surely felt a mutual affection. For theirs was the appearance not of actors who had been taught their poses but of persons now permitted to satisfy their long-cherished desires.
At last, the banqueters, seeing them in each other’s embrace and obviously leaving for the bridal couch, those who were unmarried swore on the spot that they would wed and those who were wed mounted their horses and galloped off to join their wives, eager for the joys of marriage.
As for Sokrates and the others who had lingered behind, they went out with Kallias to join Lykon and his son in their walk. So broke up the banquet held that evening.