Tuesday 23 December 2014



                                      In Greek mythology, Theseus was described as  the great hero and the slayer of Minotaur. Theseus was the son of Aegeus, king of Athens and Aethra, daughter of Pittheus, king of Troezen or  of sea god Poseidon and Aethra. According to some versions, both King Aegeus of Athens and sea god Poseidon were described as Theseus father.                                                            
Theseus and Ariadne

                            According to Greek legend, King Aegeus of Athens was without a male heir, so he asked the oracle at Delphi for advice. Aegeus did not understand the puzziling prophecy made by oracle. Therefore Aegeus visited Pittheus, King of Troezen, who was famous for his wisdom and skill at expounding oracle. King Pittheus understood the prophecy, whose prospects for a son-in-law had recently vanished, plied Aegeus with wine and  lured him into Aethra's (his daughter) bed. But following the instruction of goddess Athena in a  dream, Aethra left the sleeping Aegeus and went to the island of Sphairia that lay close to Troezen's shore. There sea god Poseidon seduce her in the night. Thus the mix gave Theseus a combination of divine as well as moral characteristic in his nature.  
Theseus discovering his fathe sword and sandals and his mother Aethra revealing true identity of his father 

                   When Aegeus awoke and saw where he was, he placed as birth token a sword and a pair of sandals under a large rock, telling Aethra that if she bore a son who could lift the rock she should send him to Athens with the items. Thus Theseus was raised in his mother's land. When Theseus grew up and became a brave young man, he moved the rock and recovered his father's tokens. His mother then told him the truth about his father's identity and that he must take the sword and sandals back to king Aegeus to claim his birth right. Young brave and ambitious Theseus choose to go alone by dangerous land route to Athens, even he could choose to go by safe sea route.

                                        On his journey  to Athens, he slew many legendary villains, including Sinis, Sciron, and Procrustes. (Journey of Theseus)On his arrival in Athens Theseus found his father married to the sorceress Medea. Medea recognized Theseus immediately as Aegeus's son and worried that Theseus would be chosen as heir to Aegeus' kingdom instead of her son Medus. She tried to arrange to have Theseus killed by asking him to capture the fire breathing Marathonian Bull, an emblem of Cretan power. 
Theseus taming the Bull of Marathon

                                     On the way to Marathon, Theseus took shelter from a storm in the hut of woman named Hecale. She swore to make a sacrifice to Zeus, if Theseus got successful in capturing the bull. Theseus did capture the bull, but when he returned to Hecale's hut, she was dead. In her honor Theseus gave her name to one of the demes of Attica, making it inhabitants in a sense of her adopted children. Theseus returned victorious to Athens and sacrificed the bull.  


Theseus, his father king Ageus, and Medea.
                                     Medea told Aegeus that Theseus had came to kill him and that she would give Theseus poisoned wine. Aegeus unaware that Theseus was his son, agreed. He invited Theseus to a banquet, however, when Theseus was just about to drink his wine, Aegeus recognized the sword and knocked the poisoned wine cup from Theseus's hand. Theseus and Aegeus were filled with happiness and Medea fled from there.    
                     Aegeus declared Theseus heir to the throne and Theseus crush a conspiracy by Pallantides. Pallantides were the sons of Pallas and nephews of Aegeus. Theseus and Aegeus were happy for long time, but at end of every Great Year, all Athenians were in desperation, as a ship with black sail approached Athens.  
                                        Soon, Theseus came to  know about Androgeus, the eldest son of King Minos of Crete had accidentally killed in Athens. Minos was very angry. He attacked Athens and demanded that the Athenian pay a yearly tribute of seven young man and seven young woman to be fed to the Minotaur. The Minotaur was a monster half man and half bull residing in the Labyrinth (created by Daedalus), an large maze under king Minos' palace. 
Pallantides planning to assassinate Androgeus, son of King Minos of Crete

                                                     According to some versions, Androgeus set sail for Athens to take part in the Pan-Athenia games. Being strong and skillful he did very well, winning some events outright. He so became a crowd favorite, much to the resentment of Pallantides (nephews of King Aegeus) and they assassinated him.  King Minos attacked Athens and asked Aegeus for his son's assassins and if they were to be handed to him, the town would be spared. However not knowing who the assassins were, king Aegeus surrendered the whole town to Minos' mercy. His retribution was that at end of every Great Year the seven young man and seven young woman were to board a boat and sent as a tribute to Crete never to be seen again. 
Ariadne giving a ball of silk thread to Theseus and Phaedra

                                 Theseus wanted to end this horror and volunteered as one of the fourteen tributes to slay the Minotaur. King Aegeus disagreed with his son decision. In end Aegeus let Theseus go but made him promise that if he returned back to Athens alive, he should change the black sail to white one. Like the others, Theseus was stripped of his weapons when they sailed. On his arrival in Crete, Ariadne, king Minos' daughter fell in love with Theseus. Ariadne gave Theseus a ball of silk thread, on the advice of Daedalus, so he could find his way out of the Labyrinth. 
Theseus and Minotaur
                                            That night, Ariadne escorted Theseus to the Labyrinth and Theseus promised that if he returned from the Labyrinth he would take Ariadne with him. As soon as Theseus entered the Labyrinth, he tied one end of the  ball of silk thread to the entrance of the Labyrinth unrolling it as he moved through the tunnels. He took out the sword which he had kept hidden from the guards inside his tunic. Theseus followed Daedalus instructions given to Ariadne, go forwards, always down and never left or right. Theseus came to the heart of the Labyrinth and also upon the sleeping Minotaur. The beast awoke and a tremendous fight then occurred. Theseus overpowered the Minotaur with his strength and stabbed the beast in the throat with his sword. 
Goddess Athena orders Theseus to leave sleeping Ariadne in the island of Naxos 
After killing the beast Theseus used the thread to escape the Labyrinth. Theseus managed to escaped with all of the young Athenians and Ariadne in black sail ship. In some version Ariadne younger sister Phaedra also came with them. On the journey back to Athens, Theseus stopped at island of Naxos. Theseus and rest of the crew fell asleep on the beach of Naxos. Goddess Athena woke Theseus and told him to leave early that morning also to leave Ariadne on the beach. Ariadne was abandone by Theseus on the beach. God Dionysus later saw Ariadne crying out for Theseus and took pity on her and married her.
God Dionysus found Ariadne on the island of Naxos
                                         According to some versions, one night, the god Dionysus came to Theseus and told him not to marry Ariadne. As Dionysus himself wanted to marry Ariadne. So Dionysus told Theseus to leave her on the island of Naxos. Theseus did as the Dionysus told him. Theseus was so sad for leaving Ariadne on the beach of Naxos and forgot to put the white sails instead of black one. As the ship approached Athens, king Aegeus  sat on a cliff watching and waiting for Theseus to come, when he saw the black sail, he committed suicide by jumping into the sea. Thus causing this body of of water to be named Ageus. 
King Aegeus waiting for Theseus

                                     Theseus became the king, united the various Attic communities into a single state, and extended the borders of Attica. Theseus captured the Amazon princess Antiope (or Hippolyte), with the result that the Amazons attacked Athens and Antiope1 was killed whiled defending it. By Antiope he had a son Hippolytus. Theseus with help of his friend Pirithous abducted the child Helen and attempted to steal Persephone from Hades. But they were caught and confined in underworld until Hercules came and released Theseus. 

Theseus and his friend kidnapping Helen

                                  When Theseus returned to Athens, he face an uprising led by Menestheus. Falling to quell the outbreak, Theseus send his children to Euboea and after solemnly cursing the Athenians he sailed away to the island of Scyros. Lecomedes, king of Scyros killed Theseus by throwing him into the sea from a cliff. Later according to command of the Delphic oracle, the Athenian general Cimon fetched the bones of Theseus from Scyros and laid them in Attica earth.  

Related Posts 
  Aethra : Antiope1 : Ariadne : Perigune :  Pirithous : The six labors of Theseus Theseus and Pirithous :     

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