Theseus and Athens


Birth of Thesus

King Aegeus - King of Athens 
King Pittheus - King of Troezen 
Aethra - Pittheus' daughter 
King Aegeus had been to the oracle Delphi, asking how he could get an heir. After receiving the information, he had no idea of what she sadi to him. On his way home, Aegeus went to King Pittheus to interpret the response he got from Delphi. Pittheus realised that that the next time Aegeus had sex, a son would be conceived. He then got Aegeus drunk and got him to sleep with his daughter, Aethra. The same night Aethra had a message in a dream from Athena, in the dream she went to the island of Sphairia, near the Troezen shore. Poseidon appeared from the sea and slept with her also so the child had both human and godly characteristics. After Theseus was born, Aethra worried that his cousins were going to kill him. To avoid this Aegeus placed his sandals and sword beneath a rock, telling Aethra that if Theseus was worthy enough to be heir, he would retreive the items from the rock and bring them back to him. When he came of age, Aethra told Theseus of the items and he retreived them. He could either take the items back two routes; by sea (easy) or by land (hard). Theseus chose to go by land. 

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The naming of Athens


The legendary king Cecrops founded a city in Attica and needed a name for it. At this time, the gods usually travelled to Greece to claim patonage of a city. As Cecrops gave worship to Athena and Posiedon, they both came down to claim the city. Poseidon was the first to arrive and struck the center of the Acropolis with his trident, creating a hole in the ground. From this hole, sea water sprang up. Athena was next to arrive, and for her gift, she planted an olive tree. In order to choose the winner, both Zeus and Cecrops jusged the gifts. They argued that peosidon gave water, however it contained large amounts of salt, therefore it was unusuable. However, Athena's gift of an olive tree was a key part of Greek culture, both as food and oil. They came to an agreement that Athena should win the city, and that it should be named after her. Therefore the city 'Athens' was created, and Athena was made the patron deity. 

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