Pasiphaë decorates the bull with flowers. French, Paris or Sèvres;
Relief in glass. Between 1891 and 1907 (22.9 x 33.0 cm.)
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, United States

Ariadne of Europe is the first novel Henk Ruis published.

The author refutes the erroneous information that comes from classical Greek sources, read: the Athenians from about 500 BC. Ariadne and her family lived a thousand years earlier though, around 1.500 BC, among the high cultured Minoans. With this historical novel, Henk Ruis explains how the essentially fake news about Minos and Ariadne could have been spread, and with the hitherto unexplained demise of Minoan culture, that simply vanished around 1.200 BC, could be firmly anchored in Greek mythology. A Queen having intercourse with a bull, and giving birth to a ferocious creature, half man, half bull: this is of course bullshit. King Minos is portrayed by the Athenians as a cruel tyrant, who each year has seven young men and seven young women from Athens sacrificed to the man-eating Minotaur. Ariadne is portrayed as the silly girl who becomes so infatuated with the Greek hero Theseus that she betrays her own father, lets her own brother be killed by Theseus, who escapes using her famous thread, and then elopes with the Greek hero: only to be left for trash on the Greek island of Dia (Naxos). Henk Ruis thinks that all these are evil and malicious stories, and in this book she wants to let the world know what really happened 3.500 years ago on Crete. The novel takes the form of a love story about Ariadne and her divine boyfriend Dionysus, who wants to make her his wife. Dionysus has never before seen such a witty, wise and funny girl. But also the sea God Poseidon and the Greek hero Theseus have an eye on the beautiful and seductive princess, with the stunning blonde curls (καλλιπλοκάμῳ), that Homer already mentioned in his Iliad 18:594 (appr. 800 BC). Ariadne 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. Ultimately, fate, from an unexpected side, is inevitable. En passant a whole number of pre-Greek myths, more than 30, are told. Some of these classic stories are told at length, others are briefly touched upon. The novel is very well presented in a beautiful and legible font (Minion Pro) and the layout is well thought out, which increases readability.The book is available in full colour or (a lot cheaper!) in black and white, with more than 40 reproductions of beautiful works of art.The author has added a 14-page note chapter with references to the works of the classical writers.

Henk Ruis, the author, really has writing as a profession already (as a lawyer), although the papers he drafts as such are not so much intended for publication. He sees the legal profession as a matter of writing texts, at least to a large extent. Texts that have to run smoothly, keep the reader's attention and have an inner power of persuasion.

Henk attended gymnasium in his early years, and has had a keen interest in Greek mythology ever since. Later, this dormant interest was again aroused by reading Stephen Fry's novel "Mythos" (November 2017).

When Henk read and re-read the wel known myths, it struck him how much those stories were coloured by the classical Greeks. Ancient stories associated with the pre-Greek culture of Crete were generally told in a way that painted rather a bad picture of the Cretans, with a queen mating with a bull and giving birth to a monster, with an evil King Minos making human sacrifices, and his daughter Ariane, who - for essentially incomprehensible reasons - should have betrayed her father to elope with the great Greek hero Theseus. The latter only to be abandoned on the island of Naxos by that same hero.

A closer examination of the time-honoured stories and the removal of the old layer of dust and varnish that has emerged over the years has shown that there is a completely different layer of stories underneath. This provides a fresh look at this ancient history worth retelling.

With the publication of Ariadne of Europe, Henk Ruis not only wants to tell the story of Europe's first feminist, but also wants to rehabilitate the reputation of the inhabitants of ancient Crete. In this story, the classical Greeks come out less attractive than usual.

Dalfsen, the Netherlands, April 2020