Roman Myths for Kids - Bacchus, the Pirates, & Ariadne Illustration

Bacchus & Ariadne
Greek Name: Dionysus

Some gods could turn into other things. This was called shape shifting. Bacchus had the power of shape shifting. He could be a fierce lion one minute, and a handsome young man the next. Bacchus could also make vines thick with grapes and orchards heavy with fruit grow instantly.

One day, when he was in the shape of a rich man, wearing lots of jewels, he was spotted by some pirates. They kidnapped him. They planned to hold him for ransom. They were very rough with him and tied him to the mast of their ship. They sailed away, all pleased with themselves.

Bacchus waited until the ship had reached deep water. When he was sure he was far enough for shore that it would be very difficult for the men to swim safely back to land, Bacchus caused thick vines to rear up from the ocean floor. The vines tangled and strangled the men. Bacchus shape shifted into a lion. He roared and clawed. The terrified pirates, those who were not caught up in vines or ripped to shreds, jumped overboard to escape.

The vines fell away. Bacchus shape shifted into a handsome young man. With no one at the wheel, the ship magically sailed towards the distance island of Naxos. When Bacchus arrived at the island, the first thing he spotted was the lovely Ariadne, fast asleep on the sea wall. Bacchus fell in love. He waited patiently until Ariadne awoke, and then asked her to marry him.

Ariadne was a bit startled, but she took a long look at the beautiful young man in front of her. He was obviously wealthy, just look at his jewels! He had such a nice smile. He was undeniably handsome. Besides all that, Ariadne was very tired of the island of Naxos. She consented to be his wife.

Believe it or not, Ariadne and Bacchus lived happily ever after!

With all the violence of ancient Rome, we sometimes forget that it was the Romans who invented valentines, and the Romans who invented the engagement ring. The Romans did enjoy a really good love story.

King Midas and the Golden Touch

Theseus, Ariadne, and the Children of Athens