Theseus was Athens's great hero. When king Aegeus of Athens wanted children he went to Delphi to consult the oracle about it, but did not understand the answer. Then he went to the king Pittheus in Troezen, who instead of telling Aegeus what the answer meant gave him his daughter Aethra. She had been seduced by Poseidon the same night, and the child, Theseus, she had was therefore considered both Aegeus and Poseidon's son.
By the time Theseus was born in Troezen his mother was a single parent. When he was old enough to ask questions his mother told him the answer lay under a rock when he was big enough to lift it. When Theseus was only 16 he lifted the rock and found a pair of sandals and a sword belonging to Aegeus and left to Athens.

On the way to Athens, he faced a series of challenges. He kills a monstrous pig that was destroying the countryside, a king who challenged travelers to fatal wrestling matches and an innkeeper named Procrustes who tortured people by either stretching them or chopping off their limbs to make them fit his beds. Theseus overcame these dangerous opponents and killed them by the same methods they had used against their victims.
By the time he reached Athens his heroic reputation had preceded him and he was invited to the palace for a feast. There he found King Aegeus married to Medea. Medea tried to poison Theseus. But when Aegeus saw the young man's sword and sandals, he realized that Theseus was his son and saved him from the poison. Medea fled, and Theseus became heir to the Athenian throne. He continued his heroic feats, defeating a plot against his father and destroying a savage wild bull.

theseus and ariadne
                                                                Theseus and Ariadne

 Theseus and the Minotaur

Earlier Aegeus had sent another warrior, the son of King Minos of Crete, against the bull. The prince had died, and in revenge King Minos called down a plague on the Athenians. Only by sending seven young men and seven young women to Crete every year could they obtain relief. In Crete the youths were sacrificed to the Minotaur, a monstrous man-bull that lived below Minos's castle in a maze called the Labyrinth.
Theseus was numbered among those who were to be sent as the third tribute to the beast. But when he came to Crete, king Minos daughter Ariadne fell in love with him, and having obtained the secret to the Labyrinth from its constructor Daedalus, she disclosed the way out to Theseus. In the last part of the Labyrinth, Theseus found the Minotaur and killed him, and since he had been instructed by Ariadne, who had offered to help him if he would agree to carry her away to Athens and have her to wife, he found his way out. They both fled from Crete, but on arriving to Naxos (one of the Cyclades islands) Theseus deserted her.
Theseus had promised his father that if he returned safely to Athens he would raise a white sail on his homecoming ship. He forgot to do so, however, and left the black sail hoisted. When Aegeus saw the black-sailed vessel approaching, he killed himself in grief by jumping from the rock into the sea, which got the name the Aegean Sea, thus fulfilling the prophecy he had heard at Delphi.

On his father's death, Theseus was declared successor to the throne of Athens.

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