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Object of the Month: Scene from a Marriage

Find out about Dionysus' marriage to Ariadne in our profile about a beautifully illustrated ancient Greek mixing pot, over 2400 years old!


In the Gods, Myths and Mortals exhibition at the Hellenic Museum is a pot called a calyx crater (meaning “flower bud mixing-pot,” named after the pot’s shape). It is magnificently illustrated with the marriage of Dionysus and Ariadne.


The woman on the left is Ariadne. She was the princess of Crete, but she betrayed her father, King Minos, when she fell in love with the Athenian hero Theseus. Theseus was to be fed to the minotaur in King Minos’ labyrinth — a maze from which no one could escape. Ariadne, however, gave Theseus a piece of thread so that he could trace his path through the labyrinth, and find his way out once he killed the minotaur!


When he escaped, he took Ariadne with him, and set sail for Athens to marry her. But on the way, Theseus abandoned Ariadne on the island of Naxos! She was left alone to die, but luckily Dionysus (seen on the right of the pot) saw her from the heavens and fell in love. By marrying Dionysus, Ariadne was welcomed to the domain of the gods!


Can you pick out any symbols of Dionysus on this pot? What is he holding in his left hand, and who might be those ugly characters dancing on the far sides of the pot?


For help answering these questions, visit our Mythic Profile of Dionysus!

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