Theseus in Athens
In long Ionian clothes, resplendent with beauty, walked Theseus through the streets of Athens; lush curls fell on his shoulders. The young hero in his long clothes looked more like a girl than a hero who had accomplished so many great feats. Theseus had to pass by the temple under construction Apollo, on which workers were already erecting a roof. The workers saw the hero, mistook him for a girl and began to mock him. Laughing, the workers shouted:
- Look, there's a girl wandering around the city alone, without a guide! Look how she has let her hair down for show, and with her long clothes she sweeps the street dust.Angered by the workers' taunts, Theseus ran up to the ox cart, unhitched the oxen, grabbed the cart and threw it so high that it flew over the heads of the workers standing on the roof of the temple. The workers who mocked Theseus were horrified when they saw that this was not a girl, but a young hero with terrible strength. They were waiting for the hero to take cruel revenge on them for their ridicule, but Theseus calmly continued on his way.
Finally, Theseus came to the palace Aegea. He did not immediately reveal to the elderly father who he was, but said that he was a foreigner seeking protection. Aegeus did not recognize his son, but the sorceress did Medea. She fled from Corinth to Athens and became the wife of Aegeus. The cunning Medea, having promised Aegeus to restore his youth by witchcraft, ruled in the house of the king of Athens, and Aegeus himself obeyed her in everything. The power-loving Medea immediately realized what danger she was in if Aegeus found out who the beautiful stranger he had received in his palace was. So as not to lose power. Medea planned to ruin the hero. She persuaded Aegeus to poison Theseus, assuring the old king that the young man was a spy sent by the enemies. The decrepit, weak Aegeus, who was afraid that someone would deprive him of power, agreed to this atrocity.During the feast, Medea placed a cup of poisoned wine in front of Theseus. Just at that moment Theseus took out his sword for some reason. Aegeus immediately recognized the sword that he himself had put under the rock at Troisena sixteen years ago. He looked at Theseus' feet and saw his sandals on them. Now he understood who this stranger was. Overturning a cup of poisoned wine, Aegeus embraced Theseus, his son. Medea was expelled from Athens and fled with her son Medon to Media.
Aegeus solemnly announced to all the Athenian people the arrival of his son and told about his great exploits performed during the journey from Troisena to Athens. The Athenians rejoiced together with Aegeus and greeted their future king with loud shouts.
The rumor that the son of Aegeus came to Athens also reached the sons of Pallanthus, the brother of Aegeus. With the arrival of Theseus, their hope of ruling in Athens after the death of Aegeus collapsed - because now he had a legitimate heir. The harsh Pallantids did not want to lose power in Athens. They decided to seize Athens by force. Led by their father, all fifteen Pallantids moved against Athens. Knowing the mighty power of Theseus, they came up with the following trick: part of the Pallantids openly approached the walls of Athens, part had already taken refuge in an ambush to unexpectedly attack Aegeus. But the Pallantid herald, Leos, revealed their plan to Theseus. The young hero quickly decided how he should act; he attacked the Pallantids hiding in an ambush and killed them all; neither strength nor courage saved them. When the Pallantids, who were standing under the walls of Athens, learned of the death of their brothers, they were seized with such fear that they turned into a shameful flight. Now Aegeus could safely rule in Athens under the protection of his son.
Theseus did not remain inactive in Athens. He decided to free Attica from the wild bull that was ravaging the neighborhood of Marathon. This bull was brought, by order of Eurystheus, from Crete to Mycenae Hercules and set free there. The bull ran away to Attica and has been a great evil for all farmers ever since. Theseus fearlessly set out for this new feat. In the Marathon, he met an old woman Hekalu. She accepted the hero as a guest and advised him to sacrifice to Zeus, the Savior, so that Zeus would guard him during a dangerous fight with a monstrous bull. Theseus obeyed Hecala's advice. Soon Theseus found the bull: the bull rushed at the hero, but he grabbed him by the horns. The bull rushed, but could not escape from the mighty hands of Theseus. Theseus bent the bull's head to the ground, tied it up, tamed it and led it to Athens. On the way back, Theseus did not find old Hecala alive; she had already died. Theseus honored the deceased with great honors for the advice and hospitality that Hecala had shown him so recently. After bringing the bull to Athens, Theseus sacrificed it to the god Apollo.