Greek Mythology Stamps

Theseus - Thésée


Theseus was the Athenian Moses. He was an heir of the Cecropidae (the descendants of the hero Cecrops) who united twelve local tribes under the common worship of "Pallas Athena." She was not the same cunning trickster celebrated by Homer but a new Political Athena, a goddess of awesome military power and virgin motherhood (that is, non-biological or symbolic motherhood: the members of her congregation were related by the blood of their enemies, not by their own blood). Theseus founded Athens by establishing in that place the festival celebration of the Panathenaea, or all-Athenian sacrifice. Gary Gutchess

One of the Troezenian legends about Theseus is the following. When Heracles visited Pittheus at Troezen, he laid aside his lion's skin to eat his dinner, and there came in to see him some Troezenian children with Theseus, then about seven years of age. The story goes that when they saw the skin the other children ran away, but Theseus slipped out not much afraid, seized an axe from the servants and straightway attacked the skin in earnest, thinking it to be a lion ...

From this point the sea is visible, and here it was that, according to legend, Aegeus threw him self down to his death. For the ship that carried the young people to Crete began her voyage with black sails; but Theseus, who was sailing on an adventure against the bull of Minos, as it is called, had told his father beforehand that he would use white sails if he should sail back victorious over the bull. But the loss of Ariadne made him forget the signal. Then Aegeus, when from this eminence he saw the vessel borne by black sails, thinking that his son was dead, threw himself down to destruction. There is at Athens a sanctuary dedicated to him, and called the hero-shrine of Aegeus. Pausanias, Description of Hellas

Greek Mythology Stamps