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Lecture 15

CLST 203 Lecture 15: CLST 203 Week 9 Lecture 1

Classical Studies
Course Code
CLST 203
Graeme Ward

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CLST 203 Week 9 Lecture 1
Athens and Theseus
Athens and Attica
Largest city (Attica is the region the city is in)
In the ancient world it was one of many cities
oAthens had a great imperial period (beginning of classical age of Greece)
oCame after Argos, Sparta, Corinth and Thebes
Hero and the City
Connection between heroes and locales
1. Heraclesà Thebes, Tiryns, Trachis
2. Jasonà Iolcus, Corinth
3. Perseusà Argos
4. Bellerophonà Corinth, Lycia (SW Turkey)
Political, imperial legitimacy
Look to history to understand where we are today and how we view
Athens? à late to the game
Athenian Autochtony
“Sprung from the Earth” by themselves
Not descended from invading groups
Heraclidae (Sparta)
Who claim to be sons of Heracles
Hephaestus and Athena
He attempts to rape Athena
He ejaculates prematurely, Athena takes the semen in disgust ands
throws it on the found in Attica
A half serpent half man emerges from the ground (Athen’s first king)
From this king comes all Athenians (why Athena is the patron god)
Poseidon and Athena
Athens was so great that two gods competed for the city
Athena won by creating an olive tree
Poseidon remained important to th city, but not the main patron
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Key Figures in Theseus Myth
Father(s): Poseidon; Aegeus, king of Athens
Mother: Aethra of Troezen
Priestess of Poseidon
She makes a cameo (evil stepmother)
Evil uncle figure, brother who usurps Aegeus
Wives/lovers: Ariadne, Antiope, Phaedra
Son: Hippolytus
Friend: Pirithoüs, king of the Lapiths (Thessaly)
Theseus Birth
King Aegeus/Poseidon + Princess Aethra
Mortal father is exiled by evil brother who usurps him
King of Troezan helps him and gets him drunk, and has sex with king’s daughter
Copies the Heracles story, Poseidon gets drunk as well
Aegeus exiled
Pittheus, King of Troezen
If Aethra has a boy, he must be raised without knowing his father’s name
If he can pull the sword from the stone then he can learn his true parentage and
come home
Technically not at home during his birth
Raise the great stone
‘Appropriation’ by Athens
Theseus earlier linked to Troezen
Athens later claimed him
Inserted into many myths (i.e Heracles)
Heracles, amazons, ridding the land of monsters and bandits
Legends of Theseus
Athenian artists & playwrights
The Journey Home and Six Labours
Theseus lifts the stone, decides to return home
Go by land instead of sea
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