Lecture%2017[1] - Theseus (Continued) Myth and History in...

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Theseus (Continued) Myth and History in Athens 03/04/09
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Theseus: The Athenian Heracles Total of 12 known labors Focused mostly around Athens/Attica, just like Heracles’ early labors were in the Peloponnese Replicates some of Heracles’ labors – the Cretan Bull, Amazonomachy Labors as civilizing the landscape hero as culture-bringer and tamer of the wild
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Theseus and Pirithous Pirithous – king of Lapiths, tribe in Thessaly Pirithous tests Theseus: steals his cattle; when the two fight, P. surrenders and they become friends (cf. Gilgamesh and Enkidu) Pirithous – negative influence on Theseus, as he encourages the latter to transgress boundaries that even Heracles and Gilgamesh respected
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Theseus and Pirithous in Action
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Battle of Centaurs and the Lapiths (Centauromachy) Wedding of Pirithous and Hippodameia Drunk Centaurs attacked the bride and other women Pirithous and other Lapiths, aided by Theseus, defeated the Centaurs Similarly to Amazonomachy, symbolic battle of civilization vs. barbarism
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Quasi-labor 10: The Calydonian Boar Hunt Boar sent by Artemis to ravage territory of Calydon, because king Oeneus forgot to sacrifice to Artemis one year All major heroes but Heracles participate Similar to Theseus’ labor of Crommyan sow
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Quasi-labor 11: The Kidnapping of Helen Pirithous and Theseus make pact after their first wives die: 1. They will help each other get new wives 2. They will each marry a daughter of Zeus OR they kidnapped Helen, and then drew lots as to which one of them will marry her
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Quasi-labor 12: The Katabasis of Theseus Pirithous wanted to marry Persephone Hades listened to the request, then trapped P. and T. in stone chairs When Heracles came to Underworld for Cerberus, Theseus asked him for help Heracles ripped Theseus out of the chair, leaving some of his derriere still attached Aetiological myth – that is why Athenians have small backsides
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The Death of Theseus While Theseus was in the Underworld, Helen’s
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Lecture%2017[1] - Theseus (Continued) Myth and History in...

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