Theseus' Origins (03:28)
Aegeus consults the Oracle of Delphi about a male heir, but is confused by her message. King Pittheus tricks him into impregnating his daughter Aethra, who gives birth to the legend's hero.
A Secret Son (02:26)
Aegeus hides Theseus in Troezen until adulthood to protect him from enemies in Athens, leaving his sword and sandals as tokens. At 16, Theseus recovers them and prepares to journey to Athens.
Double Parentage (02:58)
At Athena's request, Poseidon rapes King Pittheus' daughter Aethra before she shares Aegeus' bed. Theseus thus has both royal and divine blood—giving him legitimacy to rule Athens.
Journey to Athens (02:08)
Theseus overcomes danger through the Isthmus of Corinth, and inflicts the Law of Talion on Procrustes. Upon arrival, Agaeus recognizes him as his son.
King Minos requires seven Athenian boys and girls to feed the Minotaur in Crete. Theseus vows to slay the creature and leaves for Crete, promising Aegeus to raise a white flag on his return to Athens. Learn about the Minotaur's origins.
Plan to Slay the Minotaur (03:15)
Theseus journeys to Crete, falls in love with King Minos' daughter Ariadne, and prepares to enter the labyrinth. Daedalus advises him to use string to mark his path. Ariadne provides a ball of wool and Theseus promises to bring her to Athens.
Abandoning Ariadne (03:20)
Theseus enters the labyrinth, slays the Minotaur, and follows Ariadne's thread back out. They set sail for Athens, but Poseidon brings a storm while Ariadne is ashore on Naxos. Athena urges Theseus to leave her, to fulfill his duty as king.
Return to Athens (03:25)
Theseus forgets to raise a white sail. Aegeus sees a black sail and throws himself into the Aegean Sea. Theseus learns from his oversight and unites Crete and Athens in a new democratic system.
Credits: Theseus: The Great Greek Myths (17:09)
Credits: Theseus: The Great Greek Myths
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