Just as Heracles was the chief hero of Peloponnesus,soTheseus was the most famous halfgod of Attlca.His father was king Aegeus of Athens and his mother a princessof Troezen.When he was still an infant his father left him in thecare of his mother and went back to his own kingdom.Before he left,Aegeus buried his sword and sandals under a hugestone,and told his mother to direct him to Athens as soon as he was big enough to lift the rock and take the hidden gifts with him. At the age of sixteen he became a strong young man,intelligent and with lots of nerve.Taking the sword from under the rock,he joyfully set out to look for his father.It was a journey of adventures.But he cleared the roads of various monsters hemet and appeared harmless in his father's palace at Athens.Little did he suspect that here would be an attempt on his life there.
King Aegeus had recently married Medea,a bad woman.She was anxious to have the Athenian throne for her own child. She had persuaded the king to poison the newcomer at a feast.As the feast was in progress,King Aegeus saw Theseus' sword and recognized his son in the young man . Quickly pushing the poisoned cup aside,he took his son in his arms and declared himhis successor.Thus troubled by her own evil designs,Mede fledin her dragondrawn carriage,never to return.for a time Theseus stayed with his father at Athens.When the Cretan bull escaped into the area of Marathon he set out alone to fight with thebeast and offered it up as a sacrifice to the gods.
At this time the clty of Athens was bothered by the respectit had promised to pay to King Minos of Crete . The Cretanshad come to attack Athens,and the gods had ordered that the Athenians would have to meet the demand of the and Cretan king that seven boys and seven girls be sent to Crete every year to feed the half man,half bull Minotaur.Determined to kill the Minotaur and save his people from further grief,The seus decided to go asone of the fourteen chosen victims.Before he left he promised his father that if he succeeded in his work he would change the black sails of his ships to white ones.He went,and with the help of princess Ariadne of Crete,he killed the Minotaur and carried the Princess with him on his way back.At Naxos he left the girl in her own care.For when he neared Athens he forgot to put up the promised white sails,and his anxious father,standing on a hill-top,saw the black sails,threw himself down into the sea in despair.So stricken with grief was The seus that he never recovered from regret.He succeeded his father as king,and introduced many good measures to improve the life of his people.To rid his kingdom of the threat by the Amazons,he led an expedition into the woman country and took its queen prisoner.The queen,Antiope by name,ws in fact so passionately in love with him that she agreed to marry him.At a later date the Amazons came to lay attack on Athens on the excuse of recovering their queen.In the battle that followed,the queen was wounded by a chance arrow and died,leaving Theseus a sad widower.