|Title||Hero of Athens|
Theseus was one of the most famous heroes and founder-king of Athens. He was the son of both the god Poseidon and a mortal man Aegus (his mother laid with both on her wedding night), the dual patronage of which still bestowed godliness unto him. (However, he may only be the son of one of them, most likely Poseidon). Although not his only one, his most famous exploit was killing the Minotaur, son of King Minos of Crete's wife and a sacred bull. Earlier, Theseus' father had sent one of King Minos' sons to his death and in return, the Cretans had defeated the Athenians in war. The Athenians then had to pay tribute; a nine-yearly sacrifice of seven young men and seven young girls to be sent to Crete to be eaten by the Minotaur. Theseus traveled on one of the ships to Crete, and with the help of Ariadne, Minos' daughter, he bested the Labyrinth and defeated the Minotaur. This myth might have referred to a change in Athenian constitution when the historical Minoan Empire came to an end.
Theseus had a bad history with women. After helping Ariadne escape with him to Athens, he abandoned her en route on the island of Naxos. As he was the son of Poseidon, and his best friend Peirithous was the son of Zeus, they decided that each should marry daughters of Zeus. Theseus decided on Helen (of Troy, but currently Helen of Sparta and only a child) and Peirithous on Persephone. They managed to kidnap Helen, but lost her to the Spartans while trapped in the Underworld by Hades for attempting to kidnap Persephone. Heracles eventually saved Theseus, but had to leave Peirithous. Later, while visiting the Amazons, Theseus claimed their queen, Hippolyta, to be his wife. This sparked a war between Athens and the Amazons. They did marry and have children though, but Theseus then remarried again, only to have his second wife, Phaedra, fall in love with his son from his marriage with Hippolyta.