24 Facts About Theseus


Theseus is sometimes described as the son of Aegeus, King of Athens, and sometimes as the son of the god Poseidon.

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Theseus was raised by his mother, Aethra, and when upon discovering his connection to Aegeus travels overland to Athens, having many adventures on the way.

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Theseus then goes on to unite Attica under Athenian rule: the synoikismos.

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Pausanias reports that after synoikismos, Theseus established a cult of Aphrodite on the southern slope of the Acropolis.

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Plutarch's Life of Theseus makes use of varying accounts of the death of the Minotaur, Theseus' escape, and his romantic involvement with and betrayal of Ariadne, daughter of King Minos.

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Theseus asked the advice of his host Pittheus, king of Troezen.

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The mix gave Theseus a combination of divine as well as mortal characteristics in his nature; such double paternity, with one immortal and one mortal, was a familiar feature of other Greek heroes.

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Young, brave, and ambitious, Theseus decided to go alone by the land route and allegedly defeated many bandits along the way.

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Theseus tried to arrange to have Theseus killed by asking him to capture the Marathonian Bull, an emblem of Cretan power.

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Theseus swore to make a sacrifice to Zeus if Theseus were successful in capturing the bull.

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Theseus did capture the bull, but when he returned to Hecale's hut, she was dead.

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Theseus soon became a crowd favorite, much to the resentment of the Pallantides, who assassinated him, incurring the wrath of Minos.

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Theseus's retribution was to stipulate that at the end of every Great Year, which occurred after every seven cycles on the solar calendar, the seven most courageous youths and the seven most beautiful maidens were to board a boat and be sent as tribute to Crete, never to be seen again.

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Theseus then demanded that, at nine-year intervals, seven Athenian boys and seven Athenian girls were to be sent to Crete to be devoured by the Minotaur, a half-man, half-bull monster that lived in the Labyrinth created by Daedalus.

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Theseus took the place of one of the youths and set off with a black sail, promising to his father, Aegeus, that if successful he would return with a white sail.

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Theseus followed Daedalus' instructions given to Ariadne: go forwards, always down, and never left or right.

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Theseus came to the heart of the Labyrinth and upon the sleeping Minotaur.

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Theseus overpowered the Minotaur with his strength and stabbed the beast in the throat with his sword.

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Theseus then abandoned Ariadne, where Dionysus eventually found and married her.

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Theseus forgot to put up the white sails instead of the black ones, so his father, the king, believing he was dead, died by suicide, throwing himself off a cliff of Sounion and into the sea, causing this body of water to be named the Aegean Sea.

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Also according to Ovid, Phaedra, Theseus' wife, felt left out by her husband's love for Pirithous and she used this as an excuse to try to convince her stepson, Hippolytus, to accept being her lover, as Theseus neglected his son because he preferred to spend long periods with his companion.

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Many months in half-darkness, Theseus sat immovably fixed to the rock, mourning for both his friend and for himself.

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Theseus believed her and used one of the three wishes he had received from Poseidon against his son.

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Theseus welcomed the wandering Oedipus and helped Adrastus to bury the Seven against Thebes.

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