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12 Facts About Theseus

By Yona Williams    1/26/09

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You already know what Theseus is famous for – killing the Minotaur that lived in the labyrinth that Daedalus built. Now, you will get to know a little more about this ancient hero with the following 12 facts.


1) Theseus may have been a hero, but he sure had a way with treating women. In the first article, you learned that he abandoned the one responsible for helping him kill the Minotaur. Theseus is also known as an abductor, who took Helen from the Dioscuri. As a result, he encounters Castor, Pollux, and possibly Polydeuces, who are interested in the safe return of their sister.


2) After the death of her children, Medea runs away to Athens, where the mortal father of Theseus (Aegeus) takes her into his domain. It is also said that she tried to take the life of Theseus at one point – an act that led to her leaving once again.


3) During a wrestling match, Theseus killed Cercyon the Arcadian.


4) Theseus also took the life of Phaea – known as a wild beast or woman who robbed others.


5) Because of a woman scorned, Theseus takes the word of his deceitful wife over that of an innocent man and takes his life as a result. Phaedra (Theseus' wife) fell in love with her own stepson (Hippolytus). After her advances are ignored, she decides to inform her husband about what Hippolytus has done to her. Only the story she tells is not the truth and instead, claims that she was raped. In the end, Theseus is so enraged that he puts an end to Hippolytus' life.


6) On one of his many adventures, Theseus takes the life of Sciron, a robber with a reputation for killing others.


7) Procrustes is killed by Theseus in the most ironic method – stretching him across one of his own torture contraptions.


8) Perigune is the daughter of Sinis, who Theseus is responsible for getting pregnant. She later becomes the mother of Melanippus.


9) With all of the killing that Theseus is associated with, you have to wonder if the man had any friends. One that comes to mind is Perithous – a prince of Lapithae.


10) Following in the shadow of Hercules, Theseus created the Isthmian Games with an intention to pay homage to Poseidon. He would tell people that the reason behind the games was to make amends for the death of Sciron, as well as to honor Sinnis.


11) Theseus also created the Lycaea, which was meant to honor Lycaon Zeus, as part of a tradition.


12) When reading some historical texts, Theseus is mentioned as the man who united all of the Attic cities in what was referred to as a 'synoecism.' One of the cities involved in this establishment was called Eleusis.

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