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Theseus
Theseus
(UK: /ˈθiːsjuːs/, US: /ˈθiːsiəs/; Ancient Greek: Θησεύς [tʰɛːsěu̯s]) was the mythical king and founder-hero of Athens. Like Perseus, Cadmus, or Heracles, Theseus
Theseus
battled and overcame foes that were identified with an archaic religious and social order: “This was a major cultural transition, like the making of the new Olympia by Hercules” (Ruck & Staples, p. 204).[1] Theseus
Theseus
was a founding hero for the Athenians in the same way that Heracles
Heracles
was the founding hero for the Dorians. The Athenians regarded Theseus
Theseus
as a great reformer; his name comes from the same root as θεσμός (thesmos), Greek for "The Gathering". The myths surrounding Theseus
Theseus
– his journeys, exploits, and family – have provided material for fiction throughout the ages. Theseus
Theseus
was responsible for the synoikismos ("dwelling together") – the political unification of Attica
Attica
under Athens
Athens
– represented emblematically in his journey of labours, subduing ogres and monstrous beasts. Because he was the unifying king, Theseus
Theseus
built and occupied a palace on the fortress of the Acropolis
Acropolis
that may have been similar to the palace that was excavated in Mycenae. Pausanias reports that after the synoikismos, Theseus
Theseus
established a cult of Aphrodite
Aphrodite
Pandemos (" Aphrodite
Aphrodite
of all the People") and Peitho
Peitho
on the southern slope of the Acropolis. Plutarch's Life of Theseus
Theseus
(a literalistic biography) makes use of varying accounts of the death of the Minotaur, Theseus' escape, and the love of Ariadne
Ariadne
for Theseus.[2] Plutarch's sources, not all of whose texts have survived independently, included Pherecydes (mid-fifth century BCE), Demon (c. 400 BCE), Philochorus, and Cleidemus (both fourth century BCE).[3]

Contents

1 Birth and early years

1.1 The Six Labours

2 Medea
Medea
and the Marathonian Bull, Androgeus and the Pallantides 3 The myth of Theseus
Theseus
and the Minotaur 4 Ship of Theseus 5 Theseus
Theseus
and Pirithous

5.1 The abduction of Persephone
Persephone
and encounter with Hades

6 Phaedra and Hippolytus 7 Other stories and his death 8 Adaptations of the myth

8.1 Literature 8.2 Opera, film and television

9 Notes 10 Sources 11 External links

Birth and early years[edit]

Theseus
Theseus
and Aethra, by Laurent de La Hyre

Aegeus, one of the primordial kings of Athens, was childless. Desiring an heir, he asked the Oracle of Delphi
Oracle of Delphi
for advice. Her cryptic words were "Do not loosen the bulging mouth of the wineskin until you have reached the height of Athens, lest you die of grief." Aegeus
Aegeus
did not understand the prophecy and was disappointed. He asked the advice of his host Pittheus, king of Troezen. Pittheus understood the prophecy, got Aegeus
Aegeus
drunk, and gave Aegeus
Aegeus
his daughter Aethra.[4] But following the instructions of Athena
Athena
in a dream, Aethra left the sleeping Aegeus
Aegeus
and waded across to the island of Sphairia that lay close to Troezen's shore. There she poured a libation to Sphairos (Pelops' charioteer) and Poseidon, and was possessed by the sea god in the night. The mix gave Theseus
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.[5] After Aethra became pregnant, Aegeus
Aegeus
decided to return to Athens. Before leaving, however, he buried his sandals and sword under a huge rock[6] and told Aethra that when their son grew up, he should move the rock, if he were heroic enough, and take the tokens for himself as evidence of his royal parentage. In Athens, Aegeus
Aegeus
was joined by Medea, who had left Corinth after slaughtering the children she had borne, and had taken Aegeus
Aegeus
as her new consort. Priestess and consort together represented the old order in Athens. Thus Theseus
Theseus
was raised in his mother's land. When Theseus
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
Aegeus
to claim his birthright. To journey to Athens, Theseus
Theseus
could choose to go by sea (which was the safe way) or by land, following a dangerous path around the Saronic Gulf, where he would encounter a string of six entrances to the Underworld,[7] each guarded by a chthonic enemy. Young, brave, and ambitious, Theseus
Theseus
decided to go alone by the land route and defeated a great many bandits along the way. The Six Labours[edit]

The deeds of Theseus, on an Attic red-figured kylix, c. 440–430 BC (British Museum)

At the first site, which was Epidaurus, sacred to Apollo
Apollo
and the healer Asclepius, Theseus
Theseus
turned the tables on the chthonic bandit, Periphetes, the Club Bearer, who beat his opponents into the Earth, and took from him the stout staff that often identifies Theseus
Theseus
in vase-paintings. At the Isthmian entrance to the Underworld was a robber named Sinis, often called "Pityokamptes" (Greek: Πιτυοκάμπτης, "he who bends Pinetrees"). He would capture travellers, tie them between two pine trees that were bent down to the ground, and then let the trees go, tearing his victims apart. Theseus
Theseus
killed him by his own method. He then became intimate with Sinis's daughter, Perigune, fathering the child Melanippus.

Detail of the kylix: Theseus
Theseus
and the Crommyonian Sow, with Phaea

In another deed north of the Isthmus, at a place called Crommyon, he killed an enormous pig, the Crommyonian Sow, bred by an old crone named Phaea. Some versions name the sow herself as Phaea. The Bibliotheca described the Crommyonian Sow
Crommyonian Sow
as an offspring of Typhon and Echidna. Near Megara, an elderly robber named Sciron
Sciron
forced travellers along the narrow cliff-face pathway to wash his feet. While they knelt, he kicked them off the cliff behind them, where they were eaten by a sea monster (or, in some versions, a giant turtle). Theseus
Theseus
pushed him off the cliff.

Map of Theseus's labours

Another of these enemies was Cercyon, king at the holy site of Eleusis, who challenged passers-by to a wrestling match and, when he had beaten them, killed them. Theseus
Theseus
beat Cercyon at wrestling and then killed him instead. The last bandit was Procrustes
Procrustes
the Stretcher, who had two beds, one of which he offered to passers-by in the plain of Eleusis. He then made them fit into it, either by stretching them or by cutting off their feet. Since he had two beds of different lengths, no one would fit. Theseus
Theseus
turned the tables on Procrustes, cutting off his legs and decapitating him with his own axe.

Medea
Medea
and the Marathonian Bull, Androgeus and the Pallantides[edit]

Theseus
Theseus
captures the Marathonian Bull (kylix painted by Aison, 5th century BC)

When Theseus
Theseus
arrived at Athens, he did not reveal his true identity immediately. Aegeus
Aegeus
gave him hospitality but was suspicious of the young, powerful stranger's intentions. Aegeus's wife Medea
Medea
recognised Theseus
Theseus
immediately as Aegeus' son and worried that Theseus
Theseus
would be chosen as heir to Aegeus' kingdom instead of her son Medus. She tried to arrange to have Theseus
Theseus
killed by asking him to capture the Marathonian Bull, an emblem of Cretan power. On the way to Marathon, Theseus
Theseus
took shelter from a storm in the hut of an ancient woman named Hecale. She swore to make a sacrifice to Zeus
Zeus
if Theseus
Theseus
were successful in capturing the bull. Theseus
Theseus
did capture the bull, but when he returned to Hecale's hut, she was dead. In her honour Theseus
Theseus
gave her name to one of the demes of Attica, making its inhabitants in a sense her adopted children. When Theseus
Theseus
returned victorious to Athens, where he sacrificed the Bull, Medea
Medea
tried to poison him. At the last second, Aegeus
Aegeus
recognised the sandals and the sword, and knocked the poisoned wine cup from Theseus's hand. Thus father and son were reunited, and Medea, it was said, fled to Asia. When Theseus
Theseus
appeared in the town, his reputation had preceded him, having travelled along the notorious coastal road from Troezen and slain some of the most feared bandits there. It was not long before the Pallantides' hopes of succeeding the apparently childless Aegeus would be lost if they did not get rid of Theseus
Theseus
(the Pallantides were the sons of Pallas and nephews of King Aegeus, who were then living at the royal court in the sanctuary of Delphic Apollo[8]). So they set a trap for him. One band of them would march on the town from one side while another lay in wait near a place called Gargettus in ambush. The plan was that after Theseus, Aegeus, and the palace guards had been forced out the front, the other half would surprise them from behind. However, Theseus
Theseus
was not fooled. Informed of the plan by a herald named Leos, he crept out of the city at midnight and surprised the Pallantides. " Theseus
Theseus
then fell suddenly upon the party lying in ambush, and slew them all. Thereupon the party with Pallas dispersed," Plutarch
Plutarch
reported.[9] The myth of Theseus
Theseus
and the Minotaur[edit]

Theseus
Theseus
and the Minotaur

Theseus
Theseus
and the Minotaur
Minotaur
on 6th-century black-figure pottery

Pasiphaë, wife of King Minos
Minos
of Crete, had several children. The eldest of these, Androgeos, set sail for Athens
Athens
to take part in the Panathenaic Games, which were held there every four years. Being strong and skilful, he did very well, winning some events outright. He soon became a crowd favourite, much to the resentment of the Pallantides who assassinated him, incurring the wrath of Minos. When King Minos
Minos
had heard of what befell his son, he ordered the Cretan fleet to set sail for Athens. Minos
Minos
asked Aegeus
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 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. In another version, King Minos
Minos
had waged war with the Athenians and was successful. He 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
Labyrinth
created by Daedalus. On the third occasion, Theseus
Theseus
volunteered to slay the monster to stop this horror. He 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.[10] Like the others, Theseus
Theseus
was stripped of his weapons when they sailed. On his arrival in Crete, Ariadne, King Minos' daughter, fell in love with Theseus
Theseus
and, on the advice of Daedalus, gave him a ball of thread (a clew), so he could find his way out of the Labyrinth.[11] That night, Ariadne
Ariadne
escorted Theseus
Theseus
to the Labyrinth, and Theseus
Theseus
promised that if he returned from the Labyrinth
Labyrinth
he would take Ariadne
Ariadne
with him. As soon as Theseus entered the Labyrinth, he tied one end of the ball of string to the door post and brandished his sword which he had kept hidden from the guards inside his tunic. Theseus
Theseus
followed Daedalus' instructions given to Ariadne; go forwards, always down and never left or right. Theseus came to the heart of the Labyrinth
Labyrinth
and also upon the sleeping Minotaur. The beast awoke and a tremendous fight then occurred. Theseus
Theseus
overpowered the Minotaur
Minotaur
with his strength and stabbed the beast in the throat with his sword (according to one scholium on Pindar's Fifth Nemean Ode, Theseus
Theseus
strangled it).[12] After decapitating the beast, Theseus
Theseus
used the string to escape the Labyrinth
Labyrinth
and managed to escape with all of the young Athenians and Ariadne
Ariadne
as well as her younger sister Phaedra. Then he and the rest of the crew fell asleep on the beach of the island of Naxos, where they stopped on their way back, looking for water. Athena
Athena
woke Theseus
Theseus
and told him to leave early that morning and to leave Ariadne
Ariadne
there for Dionysus, for Naxos was his island. Stricken with distress, Theseus forgot to put up the white sails instead of the black ones, so his father, the king, believing he was dead, committed suicide, throwing himself off a cliff of Sounio and into the sea, thus causing this body of water to be named Aegean Sea. Dionysus
Dionysus
later saw Ariadne
Ariadne
crying out for Theseus
Theseus
and took pity on her and married her. Ship of Theseus[edit] According to Plutarch's Life of Theseus, the ship Theseus
Theseus
used on his return from Crete to Athens
Athens
was kept in the Athenian harbour as a memorial for several centuries.

The ship wherein Theseus
Theseus
and the youth of Athens
Athens
returned had thirty oars, and was preserved by the Athenians down even to the time of Demetrius Phalereus,[13] for they took away the old planks as they decayed, putting in new and stronger timber in their place...[14]

The ship had to be maintained in a seaworthy state, for, in return for Theseus's successful mission, the Athenians had pledged to honour Apollo
Apollo
every year henceforth. Thus, the Athenians sent a religious mission to the island of Delos
Delos
(one of Apollo's most sacred sanctuaries) on the Athenian state galley – the ship itself – to pay their fealty to the god. To preserve the purity of the occasion, no executions were permitted between the time when the religious ceremony began to when the ship returned from Delos, which took several weeks.[15] To preserve the ship, any wood that wore out or rotted was replaced; it was, thus, unclear to philosophers how much of the original ship actually remained, giving rise to the philosophical question whether it should be considered "the same" ship or not. Such philosophical questions about the nature of identity are sometimes referred to as the Ship of Theseus
Ship of Theseus
Paradox. Regardless of these issues, Athenians preserved the ship. Their belief was that Theseus
Theseus
had been an actual, historic figure and the ship gave them a tangible connection to their divine providence. Theseus
Theseus
and Pirithous[edit]

Theseus
Theseus
Defeats the Centaur
Centaur
by Antonio Canova
Antonio Canova
(1804–1819), Kunsthistorisches Museum

Theseus's best friend was Pirithous, prince of the Lapiths. Pirithous had heard stories of Theseus's courage and strength in battle but wanted proof so he rustled Theseus's herd of cattle and drove it from Marathon and Theseus
Theseus
set out in pursuit. Pirithous
Pirithous
took up his arms and the pair met to do battle but were so impressed with each other they took an oath of friendship and joined the hunt for the Calydonian Boar. In Iliad I, Nestor numbers Pirithous
Pirithous
and Theseus
Theseus
"of heroic fame" among an earlier generation of heroes of his youth, "the strongest men that Earth has bred, the strongest men against the strongest enemies, a savage mountain-dwelling tribe whom they utterly destroyed." No trace of such an oral tradition, which Homer's listeners would have recognised in Nestor's allusion, survived in literary epic. Later, Pirithous
Pirithous
was preparing to marry Hippodamia. The centaurs were guests at the wedding feast, but got drunk and tried to abduct the women, including Hippodamia. The Lapiths
Lapiths
won the ensuing battle. In Ovid's Metamorphoses
Metamorphoses
Theseus
Theseus
fights against and kills Eurytus, the "fiercest of all the fierce centaurs"[16] at the wedding of Pirithous and Hippodamia. The abduction of Persephone
Persephone
and encounter with Hades[edit]

Theseus
Theseus
carries off the willing Helen, on an Attic red-figure amphora, c. 510 BC

Theseus, a great abductor of women, and his bosom companion, Pirithous, since they were sons of Zeus
Zeus
and Poseidon, pledged themselves to marry daughters of Zeus.[17] Theseus, in an old tradition,[18] chose Helen, and together they kidnapped her, intending to keep her until she was old enough to marry. Pirithous
Pirithous
chose Persephone. They left Helen with Theseus's mother, Aethra at Aphidna, whence she was rescued by the Dioscuri. On Pirithous' behalf they travelled to the underworld, domain of Persephone
Persephone
and her husband Hades. As they wandered through the outskirts of Tartarus, Theseus
Theseus
sat down to rest on a rock. As he did so he felt his limbs change and grow stiff. He tried to rise but could not. He was fixed to the rock. As he turned to cry out to his friend, he saw that Pirithous
Pirithous
too was crying out. Around him gathered the terrible band of Furies
Furies
with snakes in their hair, torches and long whips in their hands. Before these monsters the hero's courage failed and he was led away to eternal punishment. For many months in half darkness, Theseus
Theseus
sat immovably fixed to the rock, mourning for both his friend and for himself. In the end he was rescued by Heracles
Heracles
who had come to the underworld for his 12th task. There he persuaded Persephone
Persephone
to forgive him for the part he had taken in the rash venture of Pirithous. So Theseus
Theseus
was restored to the upper air but Pirithous
Pirithous
never left the kingdom of the dead, for when he tried to free Pirithous, the underworld shook. When Theseus
Theseus
returned to Athens, he found that the Dioscuri
Dioscuri
had taken Helen and Aethra to Sparta. Phaedra and Hippolytus[edit]

Theseus
Theseus
saves Hippodameia, work by Johannes Pfuhl
Johannes Pfuhl
in Athens

Phaedra, Theseus's second wife and the daughter of King Minos, bore Theseus
Theseus
two sons, Demophon and Acamas. While these two were still in their infancy, Phaedra fell in love with Hippolytus, Theseus's son by the Amazon queen Hippolyta. According to some versions of the story, Hippolytus had scorned Aphrodite
Aphrodite
to become a follower of Artemis, so Aphrodite
Aphrodite
made Phaedra fall in love with him as punishment. He rejected her out of chastity. Alternatively, in Euripides' version, Hippolytus, Phaedra's nurse told Hippolytus of her mistress's love and he swore he would not reveal the nurse as his source of information. To ensure that she would die with dignity, Phaedra wrote to Theseus
Theseus
on a tablet claiming that Hippolytus had raped her before hanging herself. Theseus
Theseus
believed her and used one of the three wishes he had received from Poseidon
Poseidon
against his son. The curse caused Hippolytus' horses to be frightened by a sea monster, usually a bull, and drag their rider to his death. Artemis
Artemis
would later tell Theseus
Theseus
the truth, promising to avenge her loyal follower on another follower of Aphrodite. In a version by Seneca, the Roman playwright, entitled Phaedra, after Phaedra told Theseus
Theseus
that Hippolytus had raped her, Theseus
Theseus
killed his son himself, and Phaedra committed suicide out of guilt, for she had not intended for Hippolytus to die. In yet another version, Phaedra simply told Theseus
Theseus
Hippolytus had raped her and did not kill herself. Dionysus
Dionysus
sent a wild bull which terrified Hippolytus's horses. A cult grew up around Hippolytus, associated with the cult of Aphrodite. Girls who were about to be married offered locks of their hair to him. The cult believed that Asclepius
Asclepius
had resurrected Hippolytus and that he lived in a sacred forest near Aricia in Latium. Other stories and his death[edit]

A fresco depicting Theseus, from Herculaneum
Herculaneum
(Ercolano), Italy, 45–79 AD

According to some sources, Theseus
Theseus
also was one of the Argonauts, although Apollonius of Rhodes states in the Argonautica
Argonautica
that Theseus was still in the underworld at this time. Both statements are inconsistent with Medea
Medea
being Aegeus' wife by the time Theseus
Theseus
first came to Athens. With Phaedra, Theseus
Theseus
fathered Acamas, who was one of those who hid in the Trojan Horse
Trojan Horse
during the Trojan War. Theseus welcomed the wandering Oedipus
Oedipus
and helped Adrastus to bury the Seven Against Thebes. Lycomedes
Lycomedes
of the island of Skyros
Skyros
threw Theseus
Theseus
off a cliff after he had lost popularity in Athens. In 475 BC, in response to an oracle, Cimon
Cimon
of Athens, having conquered Skyros
Skyros
for the Athenians, identified as the remains of Theseus
Theseus
"a coffin of a great corpse with a bronze spear-head by its side and a sword." (Plutarch, Life of Cimon, quoted Burkert 1985, p. 206). The remains found by Cimon
Cimon
were reburied in Athens. The early modern name Theseion (Temple of Theseus) was mistakenly applied to the Temple of Hephaestus
Temple of Hephaestus
which was thought to be the actual site of the hero's tomb. Adaptations of the myth[edit]

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Literature[edit]

Theseus
Theseus
with the head of Minotaur

Greek mythology

Deities

Primordial Titans

Olympians Nymphs

Sea-deities Earth-deities

Heroes and heroism

Heracles / Hercules (Labors)

Achilles Hector (Trojan War)

Odysseus (Odyssey)

Jason Argonauts (Golden Fleece)

Perseus (Medusa Gorgon)

Oedipus (Sphinx) Orpheus (Orphism) Theseus (Minotaur)

Bellerophon (Pegasus Chimera)

Daedalus (Labyrinth)

Atalanta Hippomenes (Golden apple)

Cadmus (Thebes) Aeneas (Aeneid) Triptolemus (Eleusinian Mysteries) Pelops (Ancient Olympic Games) Pirithous (Centauromachy) Amphitryon (Teumessian fox) Narcissus (Narcissism) Meleager (Calydonian Boar) Otrera (Amazons)

Related

Satyrs Centaurs Dragons Demogorgon

Religion in Ancient Greece Mycenaean gods

Greek mythology
Greek mythology
portal

v t e

Sophocles' tragedy Oedipus
Oedipus
at Colonus features Theseus
Theseus
as a major character. Euripides' tragedy Hippolytus and Seneca's Phaedra revolve around the death of Theseus' son. In Geoffrey Chaucer's epic chivalric romance "The Knight's Tale," one of the Canterbury Tales, Theseus
Theseus
is duke of Athens, husband of Ypolita, and protector of Emelye, Ypolita's sister, for whom the two knights of Thebes, Arcite and Palamon, do battle. Racine's Phèdre
Phèdre
(1677) features Theseus
Theseus
as well as Hippolytus and the title character Phaedra. Theseus
Theseus
is a prominent character as the Duke of Athens
Athens
in William Shakespeare's plays, A Midsummer Night's Dream
A Midsummer Night's Dream
and The Two Noble Kinsmen. Hippolyta
Hippolyta
also appears in both plays. F. L. Lucas's epic poem Ariadne
Ariadne
(1932) is an epic reworking of the Labyrinth
Labyrinth
myth: Aegle, one of the sacrificial maidens who accompany Theseus
Theseus
to Crete, is Theseus's sweetheart, the Minotaur
Minotaur
is Minos himself in a bull-mask, and Ariadne, learning on Naxos of Theseus's earlier love for Aegle, decides to leave him for the Ideal [Dionysus].[19] André Gide's 1946 Thésée
Thésée
is a fictional autobiography where the mythical hero of Athens, now elderly, narrates his life story from his carefree youth to his killing of the Minotaur. Mary Renault's The King Must Die
The King Must Die
(1958) is a dramatic retelling of the Theseus
Theseus
legend from his childhood in Troizen until the return from Crete to Athens. While fictional, it is generally faithful to the spirit and flavor of the best-known variations of the original story. The sequel is The Bull from the Sea
The Bull from the Sea
(1962), about the hero's later career. Evangeline Walton's 1983 historical fiction novel The Sword is Forged chronicles the story of Theseus
Theseus
and Antiope.[20] Stephen Dobyns, wrote the poem Theseus
Theseus
within the Labyrinth
Labyrinth
(1986) which provides a retelling of the myth of Ariadne, Theseus
Theseus
and the Minotaur, in particular the feelings of Ariadne. In issue No. 12 of Fright Night comics, entitled Bull-Whipped, Theseus and the Minotaur
Minotaur
are resurrected by the comic's Aunt Claudia Hinnault, who is the reincarnation of Ariadne. Kir Bulychov's 1993 book An Attempt on Theseus' Life (Покушение на Тезея) is about a plot to assassinate a man during a virtual reality tour in which he lives through Theseus' life. Troy Denning's 1996 novel Pages of Pain features an amnesic Theseus fighting to recover his past while interacting with some of the more colourful beings of the Planescape
Planescape
universe. Steven Pressfield's 2002 novel Last of the Amazons
Amazons
attempts to situate Theseus's meeting and subsequent marriage to Antiope, as well as the ensuing war, in a historically plausible setting. Jorge Luis Borges
Jorge Luis Borges
presents an interesting variation of the myth in a short story, "La Casa de Asterión" ("The House of Asterion"). British comedian Tony Robinson
Tony Robinson
wrote a version of the Theseus
Theseus
story entitled Theseus: Super Hero. Author Suzanne Collins
Suzanne Collins
was inspired by Theseus
Theseus
to write The Hunger Games trilogy, which was published from 2008 to 2010.[21]

Opera, film and television[edit]

Thésée
Thésée
(1675) is an early French opera by Jean-Baptiste Lully
Jean-Baptiste Lully
to a libretto by Philippe Quinault, based on Ovid. Teseo
Teseo
(1713) is an opera seria by George Frideric Handel
George Frideric Handel
to a libretto by Nicola Francesco Haym, based on Quinault. The opera Hippolyte et Aricie
Hippolyte et Aricie
(1733) by Jean-Philippe Rameau, based on Racine, features Theseus
Theseus
as a character. Theseus
Theseus
is played by Bob Mathias
Bob Mathias
in the 1960 film Minotaur, the Wild Beast of Crete, and by Tom Hardy
Tom Hardy
in the 2006 film Minotaur. The first episode of the 2001 children's television series MythQuest, entitled "Minotaur," features a story in which the modern day teen-aged protagonist finds himself unexpectedly thrust into Theseus' role and must follow through with the events of the existing myth, including slaying the Minotaur
Minotaur
with the help of Ariadne
Ariadne
and Daedalus.[22][better source needed] The storyline was also adapted into a novelisation.[23] In the 2003 miniseries Helen of Troy, Theseus, played by Stellan Skarsgård, kidnaps Helen with Pirithous
Pirithous
and waits for her to reach marriageable age; however, he is slain by Pollux and she is returned to Sparta. In the film Immortals (2011), directed by Tarsem Singh, Theseus, played by Henry Cavill, leads a war against King Hyperion of Heraklion, played by Mickey Rourke. The Indian film Ship of Theseus
Ship of Theseus
(2012) directed by Anand Gandhi, is an exploration of the philosophical idea underlying the myth. In the Canadian television series, Continuum (2012–2015), the leader of an anti-corporate human rights/terrorist group is called Theseus. In 2013, the BBC series Atlantis was released. In the first episode of season one, The Earth Bull, Jason
Jason
enters the labyrinth. He is helped by Ariadne
Ariadne
to slay him, as the myth of the Minotaur. Jason
Jason
is based on the characters of Theseus, Perseus
Perseus
and the myth of Jason
Jason
And The Argonauts. In Season 2 Part 1, Medea
Medea
is introduced. Pasiphaё seeks to take back Atlantis after Ariadne
Ariadne
is made Queen. The plot seems to be leading to Jason
Jason
and The Argonauts. In Canadian/British television series Olympus (2015), the main character 'Hero' is loosely based on the myths of Theseus. The show follows Hero's quest to unlock the 'Lexicon', the door to Olympus, and to stop the apocalypse as foreseen by the Oracle of Gaia.

Notes[edit]

^ Carl A.P. Ruck & Danny Staples. (1994). The World of Classical Myth, ch. ix, "Theseus: Making the New Athens", pp 203–222. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press. ^ "May I therefore succeed in purifying Fable, making her submit to reason and take on the semblance of History. But where she obstinately disdains to make herself credible, and refuses to admit any element of probability, I shall pray for kindly readers, and such as receive with indulgence the tales of antiquity." (Plutarch, Life of Theseus). Plutarch's avowed purpose is to construct a life that parallels the Life of Romulus
Romulus
that embodies the founding myth of Rome. ^ Edmund P. Cueva. (Fall 1996). "Plutarch's Ariadne
Ariadne
in Chariton's Chaereas and Callirhoe". American Journal of Philology, 117 (3) pp. 473–484. ^ Morford, Mark P. O., Robert J. Lenardon, and Michael Sham. Classical Mythology. 10th ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2014. ^ The theory, expounded as natural history by Aristotle, was accepted through the nineteenth century and only proven wrong in modern genetics: see Telegony. Sometimes in myth the result could be twins, one born divine of a divine father, the other human of a human sire: see Dioscuri. Of a supposed Parnassos, founder of Delphi, Pausanias observes, "Like the other heroes, as they are called, he had two fathers; one they say was the god Poseidon, the human father being Cleopompus." (Description of Greece x.6.1). ^ Rock "which had a hollow in it just large enough to receive these objects," Plutarch
Plutarch
says. ^ Compared to Hercules and his Labours, " Theseus
Theseus
is occupied only with the sacred Entrances that are local to the lands of Athens" (Ruck and Staples 1994:204). ^ "...where now is the enclosure in the Delphinium, for that is where the house of Aegeus
Aegeus
stood, and the Hermes to the east of the sanctuary is called the Hermes at Aegeus's gate." (Plutarch, 12) ^ Plutarch, 13. ^ Plutarch
Plutarch
quotes Simonides
Simonides
to the effect that the alternate sail given by Aegeus
Aegeus
was not white, but "a scarlet sail dyed with the tender flower of luxuriant holm oak." (Plutarch, 17.5). ^ Ariadne
Ariadne
is sometimes represented in vase-paintings with the thread wound on her spindle. ^ Noted by Kerenyi 1959:232 note 532. ^ Demetrius Phalereus
Demetrius Phalereus
was a distinguished orator and statesman, who governed Athens
Athens
for a decade before being exiled, in 307 BC. ^ Plutarch. "Theseus". The Internet Classics Archive. Retrieved 17 January 2013.  ^ Cooper, John M., ed. (1997). Plato: Complete Works. Associate editor, D. S. Hutchinson. Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett. p. 37. ISBN 0-87220-349-2.  ^ Ovid, Metamorphoses, XII:217–153 ^ Scholia on Iliad iii.144 and a fragment (#227) of Pindar, according to Kerenyi 1951:237, note 588. ^ Reported at Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae
Deipnosophistae
13.4 (557a); cf. Kerenyi 1959:234 and note. ^ F. L. Lucas
F. L. Lucas
(2014). Ariadne. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107677524.  ^ " The Sword is Forged
The Sword is Forged
by Evangeline Walton". Kirkus Reviews. 1983. Retrieved 16 March 2016.  ^ Zeitchik, Steven (24 March 2012). "Which dystopian property does The Hunger Games most resemble?". Los Angeles Times via Boston Herald. Boston Herald and Herald Media. Retrieved 24 March 2012.  ^ TV Tropes – Recap: Myth
Myth
Quest E 1 "The Minotaur" ^ The Minotaur
Minotaur
( MythQuest #1) goodreads.com

Sources[edit] Primary sources

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca Ovid, Metamorphoses Plutarch, Theseus

Secondary sources

Burkert, Walter, Greek Religion (1985) Stephen Dobyns, Theseus
Theseus
within the Labyrinth
Labyrinth
(1986) https://www.jstor.org/stable/20600617 Kerényi, Karl, The Heroes of the Greeks (1959) Price, Anne, The Quest for Theseus
Theseus
(London, 1970) examines the Theseus-Minotaur- Ariadne
Ariadne
myth and its historical basis, and later treatments and adaptations of it in Western culture. Ruck, Carl A.P. and Danny Staples, The World of Classical Myth: ch. IX "Theseus: making the new Athens" (1994), pp. 203–222. Sideris, Athanasios, Theseus
Theseus
in Thrace. The silver lining on the clouds of the Athenian-Thracian relations in the 5th century BC (Sofia, 2015) presents new iconographical sources and examines the role of Theseus
Theseus
in the state ideology of Athens
Athens
and in its gift-diplomacy with Thrace. Walker, Henry J., Theseus
Theseus
and Athens, Oxford University Press (US 1995). The most thorough scholarly examination of Theseus's archaic origins and classical myth and cult, and his place in classical literature.

External links[edit]

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Theseus

Wikisource
Wikisource
has original text related to this article: Theseus

Media related to Theseus
Theseus
at Wikimedia Commons (Theoi Project) Plutarch: Life of Theseus Greek Myth
Myth
Comix: The Story of Theseus, pt.1 Pt.2 Pt.3 The story of Theseus
Theseus
in comic-strip format, by Greek Myth
Myth
Comix

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