Ariadne of Europe

a historical novel by Henk Ruis

Frederick Leighton (1830-1896), Nausicaa
(oil paint on canvas, approx. 1879)

Ariadne of Europe

Ariadne, daughter of King Minos of Crete, was in fact the first self-dependant woman in Europe. Was she a feminist 'avant la lettre'? Well maybe, but most of all she was not only beautiful, but ambitious and intelligent, too.

This historical novel takes you back to a time when the world was still full of Gods, to the palaces and temples of Crete, where 3500 years ago the first feminist of Europe lived and worked. The smart and emancipated Ariadne stands up for her father, the old and moody Minos, and secures him a kingdom. In the meantime, she remains firmly in charge there.

Immerse yourself in the world of the young princess, who initially prefers her own career at the Court of King Minos to the advances of the divine Dionysus. With a strongly developed sense of justice, she writes a law book that reflects equality between men and women. Crete becomes widely known for its balanced justice system.

In the end, Fate can not be avoided. And it comes from an unexpected angle.

In the meantime, a series of Pre-Greek myths are told.

The art treasures and objects that are handed over to us as heritage do not speak for themselves. “We are the ones who tell the story about those objects, we give them meaning, we hold them up to the light, examine them, cherish them and relate them to other stories,” Bas Heijne wrote in NRC (a Dutch newspaper) on 20 September 2019.

Minoan society was a high culture, and its heyday was from approx. 2,000 BC to 1,200 BC.

Due to causes that have not yet been fully uncovered, this culture seems to have vanished without a trace around 1,200 BC.

It was only around 500 BC that the Classical Greek culture was born, which we value so much today. The Minoan culture is a bit underexposed in history books though.

Henk Ruis is a Dutch lawyer (, writer and editor.

Minoan women, fresco in the Palace of Knossos, Crete, Greece
paperback (English; illustrations in black and white) £7.66
e-book (e-pub, English) available soon

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Kindle eBook (Amazon) (English)
Paperback (Dutch edition)
Kindle eBook (Amazon) (English)