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Chapter 11

CLASS 310 Chapter 11: Ch. 11 - Theseus

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Unlike Perseus & Heracles who were worshipped all over Greece, Theseus was solely indigenous to Athens ● Theseus’ myth allowed Athens to establish itself ● Theseus’ mentor = Heracles Theseus’ story begins with King Aegeus, who is unable to have children, more importantly—a son, causing dynastic issues as to who will take his place ● as Athenians continue to do today, King Aegeus travels to the oracle at Delphi ● the oracle confuses the King (he doesn’t know how to interpret it) ● he then travels to Troezen to ask king Pittheus if he can interpret the message ● Pittheus does, deciphering that Aegeus must abstain from sex until he returns to Athens so the next king will be purely Athenian ○ instead of telling this to Aegeus, Pittheus ensures the next Athenian king has Troezenian blood by getting him drunk and having Aethra (Pittheus’ daughter) seduce him into sex ○ Poseidon too has sex with Aethra that night and a child is conceived w/ two fathers, mortal & immortal ● Aegeus asks Aethra to raise the boy as Theseus, and when he is old enough to lift the rock under which Aegeus has put a sword and sandals, Theseus can travel to Athens and join his father Traveling to Athens, Theseus encounters 6 endeavors (half as many as Heracles, symbolizing Theseus only being half as great as he) ● Theseus’ modus operandi = to give bullies a taste of their own medicine ○ i.e. Sinis — he lures people into seeing a tree and once they get close he pulls back on it and flings them to their death ● theme of labors: retributive justice & xenia (guest friendship) ○ this is important b/c it shows Theseus will be a king of upright variet
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