THESEUS


THESEUS
GOT A B+ (89%)
In Greek mythology, Theseus can truely be thought of as the greatest Athenian hero.
He was the son of Aegeus, king of Athens, and Aethra, princess of Troezen, and daughter of
Pittheus, king of Troezen.
Before Theseus was born his father Aegeus left Aethra in Troezen of Argolis and
returned to Athens before he was born. But before he left king Aegeus put his sword and his
pair of sandals under a large rock and said to Aethra that when Theseus was old enough to lift
the heavy rock that Theseus should take the sword and sandals and come to see him in
Athens.
At the age of 16 after being brought up in Troezen, Theseus was finally able to lift the
heavy rock. Theseus with his long blond hair then took the sword and the sandals and began
his journey to Athens to claim Aegeus as his father. The young Theseus made his hazardous
journey by the coast road along the Isthmus, clearing the road of six villains, murderers, and
monsters which inhabited the road. Theseus killed these villains by the same method by which
they had murdered their own victims. Among the villains that Theseus killed, were Sciron,
Sinis, Procrustes and Phaea.
Theseus arrived in Athens wearing a sword and a pair of sandals that Aegeus had left
for him in Troezen. He was then greeted by his father Aegeus and his stepmother Medea
who was a sorceress. But she was jealous of his influence over Aegeus so Medea tried to kill
him by sending him to kill a wild bull. But Theseus succeeded and sacrificed the bull to Apollo.
He then returned to Athens and was almost poisoned by Medea, but as soon as Aegeus got
wind of her plot, he proclaimed Theseus his son and heir to the thrown and banished Medea
from Athens and she escaped to what is now Asia.
According to legend, the people of Athens had to send seven youths and seven
Maidens every year as a tribute to Minos, the king of Create, to be eaten by the Minitor, who
was a terrible monster, half man and half bull.
Theseus decided to go as one of the youths and try to kill the minitor. When he
reached Create, Ariadne, the beautiful daughter of Minos fell in love will him and helped him
kill the Minitor by giving him a sword which he killed the Minitor with and a ball of thread to
help him find his way out of the labyrinth in which the Minitor lived. Theseus then left Create
with Ariadne but dumped her on the way back to Athens.
On his return from Create to Athens, however, in his hurry to get home, he forgot to
hoist a white sail signaling his success against the Minotaur. So when Aegeus saw a black
sail, he believed that his son was dead and was so sad that he threw himself from a high
rocky cliff into the sea, which has ever since been known as the Aegean Sea in his honor.
Theseus then became the King of Athens. And as king of Athens, Theseus was wise
and generous, and united the many small communitties of the Attic plain into a strong and
powerful nation and brought prosperity and civilization to the people.
But he kept his love of danger and adventure and during a war with the Amazon
Women he abducted the Amazon Hippolyta, who bore him a son who was named Hippolytus.
He took part in the Calydonian boar hunt and in the quest of the Argonauts for the Golden
Fleece. He was a devoted friend of Pirithous, king of the Lapithae, whom he accompanied to
the underworld to rescue the goddess Persephone. Both men were imprisoned by the god
Hades for their rash deed, but Theseus was subsequently rescued by Hercules.
Returning to Athens, Theseus found his kingdom in disarray, torn by rebellion and corruption.
Unable to reestablish authority, he sent his children away and sailed to the island of Skyros,
where Lycomedes, king of Skyros, murdered him by throwing him from a cliff into the sea.
Later the Delphic oracle commanded the Athenians to gather Theseus\'s bones and bring them
back to Athens. The Athenians then paid him great honor by building him a tomb dedicated to
the poor and helpless whom he had befriended.

Category: Mythology