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GRST209 Midterm: Midterm #2 Notes: Theseus to Oedipus

Greek and Roman Studies
Course Code
GRST 209
Bryan Natali
Study Guide

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GRST 209 Midterm #2 Notes
Athens and Theseus:
Athenians credited Theseus for democracy, the federation of Attica, founding
Pan-Athenic games, and inventing coinage.
Theseus ghost was said to have appeared to the Athenian Army led by Militades
Militades’ son, Cimon went to the island of Scyros to clear a pirate threat and
apparently found the “tomb of Theseus.” The bones were brought back to Athens.
Origins of Athenians:
Descended from a mortal named Cercrops
“Sprung from the Earth”
Descendants of Athena
oThese last two are sometimes combined together and used with the myth
of Erichthonius’ birth by Hephaestus. (Ejaculated on Athena)
oWhen Erichthonius (early king of Athens) was born he was placed in a
basket by Athena and given to the 3 daughters of Cercrops with warning
not to look. 2 of them couldn’t resist and looked, and went mad. (Jumped
off the Acropolis)
Erichthonius dies: His son Pandion becomes King and has 2 daughters.
Procne and Philomela= When Athens is at war, Thracian King Tereus helps
Pandion, and in return Pandion gives him his daughter Procne as a wife, and they
have a son Itys.
Procne wants her sister Philomela to come visit, so Tereus goes to Pandion and
asks for Philomela. Philomela begs her father and is granted permission.
On their journey home, Tereus cuts out Philomela’s tongue and rapes her and
locks her away, and tells her family she died on the voyage.
Philomela weaves her story on tapestry… Eventually Procne sees it and so she
kills her son and feeds him to Tereus. Gods pity this family so they are all turned
to birds: Tereus= Hoopoe, Procne= Nightingale, and Philomela= Swallow
Erechtheus (Procne and Philomela’s brother) becomes king after Pandion
Cercrops II succeeds Erechtheus, and Pandion II succeeds Cercrops II
Pandion II and Creusa had 4 sons (Aegeus and Pallas)
oAegeus needed an heir, so he went to an oracle that said something
confusing. He wandered around until he met Pittheus, King of Trozean,
who understood what the oracle meant.
oPittheus got Aegeus drunk and sent him to his daughter Aethra. In the
night she has a dream so she goes to the sea and gets impregnated by
oAegeus orders Aethra to keep the baby a secret, and when he is strong
enough he can retrieve the sandals and sword that Aegeus left under a
Theseus grows to manhood and retrieves sword and sandals and goes on
dangerous land route to get to Aegeus.
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oOn this route he had to perform 6 famous deeds.
o1. Periphetes=son of Hephaestus (Iron club)
o2. Sinis=Pine Bender
o3. Crommyonian Sow= Big pig
o4. Siron= Feet washing
o5. Cercyon= Wrestler/ crushed
o6. Procrustes= Big bed/little bed
Theseus finished all these deeds and goes to Athens.
When he arrives, Aegeus doesn’t recognize him because he’s under the influence
of Medea, who wants her son to be king.
She influences Aegeus to make Theseus kill the Bull of Marathon (Father of the
minotaur) Theseus kills it and sacrifices it to Apollo
Medea then tries to poison Theseus, but at the last minute Aegeus recognizes the
sword and knows Theseus is his son. Medea flees to Asia Minor, and her son
Medes, becomes the ancestor of the Persian/Medes people who are great enemies
of the Greeks.
Aegeus’ brother Pallas sends his 50 sons to kill Theseus but Theseus kills them
oAfterwards Theseus goes to Crete to fight the minotaur, and tells Aegeus
he will raise a white sail if he survives, and leave a black sail if he dies.
On his way back he forgets, and when Aegeus sees the black sail he
throws himself off the cliff and into the “Aegean Sea”
Theseus is now King of Athens (Brings many things to Athens)
Amazons: Theseus sails to the land of the Amazons to abduct their Queen
Antiope. This causes the Amazonomachy.
oTheseus and Antiope have son Hippolytus but Theseus rejects them and
marries Phaedra. Hippolytus becomes a devotee of Artemis (Sexual
oPhaedra falls in love with Hippolytus and asks a nurse to proposition him.
He refuses, so Phaedra hangs herself saying that Hippolytus raped her.
oTheseus then curses his son, and Poseidon’s bull rises from the sea and
drags him to his death.
Theseus and Pirithous:
Pirithous (King of Lapiths) wants to test Theseus’ strength by stealing his flocks.
Theseus catches him and they’re about to fight but become best friends instead.
Pirithous was marrying Hippodamia, and they invite centaurs that try to rape bride
and guests.
oThis causes Centauromachy, centaurs vs. Lapiths
oPhaedra and Hippodamia both die so together the friends try to find new
Theseus wants Helen of Troy but she was too young so they abduct her and give
her to his mother for safekeeping.
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