+ Cycladia Travel Guides | Mythology



Zeus in Naxos

The myths and stories surrounding the island's past concerning Gods & other mythological creatures are not only numerous but represent "food" for the imagination of Naxian people and the island's visitors. It is said that Zeus himself sent his son Dionysus to Naxos in order to be brought up by the Nymphs Filia, Kleidi & Koroni. Moreover, one of the tallest mountains in the Cyclades, mount Zas (Zeus) in Filoti, was named after the king of Gods. At the foot of the mountain is Mount Zas Cave, in which Dionysus was brought up.

Dionysus in Naxos

God Dionysus is believed to have lived on Naxos. Dionysus followers were the Satyrs (men followers) & Maenads (women followers) who were constantly dancing and drinking.

When Theseus, son of Poseidon, left Crete with Ariadne, the daughter of King Minoa, after killing the Minotaur, they arrived at Naxos and moored at Palatia, the little island connected to Naxos town, which was then called Dia after Zeus. According to the most popular myth, as Theseus and Ariadne were sleeping, Dionysus, who had seen Ariadne and had fallen in love with her, visited Theseus in his dream to tell him that he had chosen her to become his wife and demanded that he leave her on the island for him. Theseus, who was also in love with Ariadne, refused to leave her at first, but when Dionysus, who was after all a god, threatened him, he had no choice but to leave. The morning after, when Ariadne woke up and found Dionysus instead of Theseus, she started looking in vain for her beloved, Dionysus proposed her and offered her two gifts: wine from a golden cup and a golden crown with valuable stones made by Efestus. Ariadne, who was at first angry at Theseus for abandoning her, accepted Dionysus' proposal and left Naxos Island with him after their marriage.

Other myths

God Apollo was also fondly worshiped on Naxos. Apollo's parents were Zeus and Leto. When Leto was on the run, trying to escape from Hera's wrath (Hera was Zeus' wife), she found refuge on Delos Island with the assistance of Poseidon. Apollo and Artemis were born there. Apollo was the god of music and light. In his honor, tyrant Lygdamis tried to build a temple on the isle Palatia but his rule ended before finishing it. Amongst the remains of this temple is Portara, the most famous attraction of Naxos Island.

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