The adventures of Theseus (I)



Theseus was the son of the king of Athens, Aegeus and Aethra. He had been educated by his grandfather, Pittheus at Troezen, and at age sixteen, he dedicated his forelocks to the Delian Apollo. Theseus is lifting the rock under which his father left the sword and the sandals, Roman relief, 1st century BC His father Aegeus was childless and when he consulted the oracle at Delphi, he received an obscure reply and in order to interpret it, he visited Pittheus, the king of Troezen, famous for his wisdom. Pittheus made him drunk and put him to sleep with his daughter, Aethra, which became pregnant after that. When Aegeus departed, he left behind a sword and a pair of sandals, under a rock and told Aethra, that if the child was a boy and reached manhood to lift the rock, take the sword and the sandals and come to Athens.
Aegeas, king of Athens, meets his son. A maiden holds a crown to honor the hero, skyphos 470 BC.When Theseus reached the age of sixteen, his mother led him to the rock, which he lifted with ease, took his father presents and set out to meet him.
When Theseus arrived at Athens, Medeia, the wife of Aegeus, suspecting who was, she persuaded Aegeus to invite him to a banquet, intending to kill him with poison. His father however recognized him in time, from the sword he was wearing and banished Medeia and her son, to Asia. 

During his way to Athens, he had a series of adventures, all of them victorious. At that time, many bandits were killing and terrorizing the travelers.


Theseus is killing Periphetes,  kylix 440-430 BC




When Theseus arrived at Epidaurus, he met Periphetes, a large man with a club made out from brass, who was killing the passers by. Theseus after killing Periphetes, kept the club from himself.




Theseus kills Sini the Pityokampe, by tying him in two branches of a pine tree, as he did with his victims, kylix 490 BC.

Sinis, the pine bender

When Theseus reached Kechreae near Isthmos, he met with Sinis, the so-called pine bender, a strong man who would kill the travelers after he tighten them on bend branches of pine trees and let them go, tearing the victim in two. Sinis, after a short fight with Theseus had the same fate, as his victims.


Theseus is killing the wild sow Phaea and Sinis, attic vase.


Theseus is killing the wild sow Phaea,  kylix 440-430 BC      Theseus is killing the wild sow Phaea, kylix 450 BC.

Phaea, the wild sow

Not far from Isthmos, at Krommyon (Agioi Theodoroi), Theseus killed the wild sow Phaea, that caused a lot of destruction in the territory.





  Theseus is killing Skiron in Skironidae rocks, kylix 450 BC.Theseus and Skiron, kylix 420-410 BC.


Near by, at Skironidae Rocks (Kakia Skala), he met Skiron, a giant man, who was holding an axe, forcing the passers by to wash his feet, but when his victims were bending to wash them, he would kick them with his feet over the cliff, where a monstrous turtle at the bottom was waiting to eat them. When Skiron tried to kick him, Theseus jerked aside and pushed Skiron off the cliff.


Theseus is killing Skyron and Kerkyon, while Athena is watching


Theseus wrestles with Kerkyon,  kylix 440-430 BC Theseus is killing Kerkyon, kylix 450 BC.


At Eleusis, Theseus met Kerkyon, who was forcing the travelers to wrestle with him till death. Theseus grabbing Kerkyon, lifted him off the ground and then he dropped him with all his strength at the ground killing him.




Theseus with the ax is killing Procrustes, kylix 440-430 BCTheseus with the ax is killing Procrustes, kylix 450 BC.


The last adventure of Theseus occurred at the Sacred Way (near today's Dafni), where Damastes, the so-called Procrustes had a house, inviting the people  to rest. Inside the house he had two beds, one big and one small. At the big bed, he would put the short in height travelers and with a hammer he would beat them, to become longer. The tall ones, he would put them at the small bed and he would chop their legs, to fit the bed. Theseus pushed Procrustes on his short bed and cut his feet and head off.

Theseus is killing Prokroustes, kylix 440-430 BC, Louvre


Theseus is tighting with ropes the Marathon Bull, hydria (Danae and Perseus) 490 BC.

The Marathon bull

After Theseus arrival at Athens, his fifty gigantic cousins, the sons of Pallas, brother of Aegeus, came hastily to Athens, but they were all slain by him.
Some time later, he seized the bull of Marathon, which was causing a lot of damage in Attica. Plutarch mentions that on his way to Marathon, a fierce storm developed and Theseus saught shelter in the hut of an old woman, whose name was Ecale. The old woman promised to Theseus to sacrifice to Zeus, to have success to his mission. When Theseus seized the bull, he returned to the hut and found the woman dead. Theseus later established a demo in her name. At Athens Theseus carried the bull around the streets triumphantly and sacrificed him to the Delphinio Apollo.


Continue... Theseus and Minotaur More...


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