Mythology  History

The Death


Egeus, the king of Athens, was very sad because he could not have any children with his wife. So he decided to secretly marry another woman and then left to Troy where he slept with Aithra, the daughter of his friend Pittheus. Before leaving, he hid his sword and his sandals under a big rock a told Aithra that if she would have a son from him and the boy would be strong enough to lift the rock, then she should send the child to him to Athens. After he returned and  did not tell anybody about his son.

And the story happened as he had told. Aithra gave birth to a boy and when he grew up she brought him to the place where the rock stand and told him the story of his father. Theseus did not wait one minute to start his way to Athens, which was not that easy and safe. Already on the way to Corinth he met the robber Periphetes, who he quickly killed before he would get him with his cudgel.

But this was not the only robber he met ready to attack the travelers with cruel methods. He killed also the famous Sinis, who put his victims up between two trees to rip them to pieces, Skiron, who punched down the travelers of the coast, and Prokrustes, who chopped off the victims' legs. Because of all this, when he got to Athens they already knew about him, and there he found his father waiting for him impatiently, since the years had not made him younger.

During this time the Athenians had had a hard time because of the tribute Crete had imposed on them. Some years ago, the son of Minos had been killed in a shooting and since then Minos had attacked and occupied Athens. As a tribute, the city had send each year seven boys and seven young maids to Crete to feed the Minotaur. Again, the ambassadors of the king Minos came for a third time and asked for the tribute. Theseus offered himself as one of the seven boys planning to kill the Minotaur. Before leaving, he arranged with his father that coming back with black sails on his boat would be a sign for victory.

Just by his arrival, Ariadne, the daughter of Minos, fell in love with the young boy and gave him a ball of wool to find his way back from the labyrinth. This labyrinth was a work by the famous inventor Daidalos, who built it specially for the Minotaur of the king. Theseus unrolled the ball of wool from the beginning of the labyrinth so that he could follow it back to the entrance on his way out.

There he met the Minotaur, killed it and succeeded in the task of getting out of the labyrinth thanks to the ball of wool. Then he took Ariadne, made holes on the ships of the Cretan fleet to stop them from following them, and ran away. However, in Naxos the God of the sea Poseidon, who desired Ariadne, took her from the boat. When they arrived to Athens, Theseus was so sad that he forgot to put the black sail... and his father killed himself jumping out of the cliffs thinking his son was dead.

Such a sad arrival had Theses in Athens, although the Athenians received their new king with joy and gratitude.

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