While you comfortably lay on the beach and sip your coffee, well, try to imagine that, many years ago, a myth was born in Naxos!
Do you remember that mythical minotaur that was locked up by King Minos in the labyrinth of Knossos, on the island of Crete? That labyrinth was built by Daedalus and counted a number of corridors, doors and entrances to make sure anyone who entered would be immediately lost.
When Androgeo, son of Minos, was killed in Athens, his father took revenge on the Athenians by forcing them to hand, each year, 7 young women and 7 men over, to be locked up in the labyrinth as a gift for the Minotaur. Theseus, son of the king of Athens, decided to put an end to this terrible habit, and confront the Minotaur, with the aim to kill him. Once in Crete, he met Ariadne, the beautiful daughter of Minos, and fell in love with her. To save him from certain death, just before he entered the labyrinth, Ariadne gave Theseus a ball of thread, so that he could make his way out of it after killing the monster.
As expected, Theseus succeeded to exit the maze following the thread and left for Athens together with Ariadne. While on the way, they stopped in Naxos, Theseus dreamt of Dionysus ordering him to abandon Ariadne… and so he did, as soon as he awoke, and left her alone on the island.
There is also another legend, much less romantic, that claims that, once in Athens, Theseus was never to merry her anyway, and abandoned the girl, by night time, to leave with his fleet.
Ariadne woke up in tears and did nothing but spend her days on the island of Palatia, where today we can admire Portara, staring at the sea hoping to see Theseus return. But fairy tales are meant to have a happy ending… and here came Dionysus, on his chariot drawn by panthers, who consoled her, fell in love, and married her.
Hey! Wait a moment here. Who was Dionysus? The god of wine, and the son of Zeus -Zeus who was actually raised in Naxos- and of Semeli, daughter of the king of Thebes. His mother died before his birth, so Zeus himself led the son to his birth, sewing him inside his thigh, until the baby was born in Naxos, making the island fertile and rich in vineyards.
To celebrate the wedding, a large temple was built on the beautiful beach of Agia Anna, they married on the beach, in the small church of Agio Nikolas.
As a wedding gift, Dionysus had a golden diadem made by the god of Sun, Hephaestus, he threw it into the sky and the constellation of the boreal crown was made. It is said that, for the duration of their entire honeymoon, the two spent the nights sleeping on the beach, how romantic!
But what about Theseus? Well, he was probably not the luckiest, as when he finally reached Athens, he forgot to change the black sails with which he then left for Crete and his father, the Aegean king, believing he had been killed by the Minotaur, in despair, threw himself into the sea, which has since been called the Aegean.