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Extracts from the Life of Theseus

(The lineage of THESEUS. AEGEUS the father of THESEUS. AETHRA, daughter of PITHEUS, was the mother of THESEUS. THESEUS visits the oracle at Delphi. He hears of the robbers infesting the way from Troezen to Athens, and, remembering how HERCULES had destroyed many such, resolves to imitate him.)
  • 1. THESEUS destroys the robber named PERIPHETES CORYNETES, and spares the life of PERIGOUNA. (He destroys the wild sow named PHEA. He slays CERCYON the Arcadian in a wrestling match.)
  • 2. He arrives at Athens, where MEDEA endeavours to persuade AEGEUS to poison him; but AEGEUS, recognising him, acknowledges him as his son. (THESEUS destroys the Pallantides, and takes the bull of MARATHON alive.)
  • 3. Why the Athenians paid tribute to MINOS of Crete. The Cretan labyrinth. THESEUS sails to Crete, and overcomes TAURUS.
  • 4. ARIADNE falls in love with THESEUS. THESEUS slays DEUCALION, and deserts ARIADNE. Various accounts of ARIADNE'S fate.
  • 5. Death of AEGEUS.
  • 6. THESEUS strengthens the city of Athens. (He coins money stamped with oxen, and institutes the Isthmian games.)
  • 7. Death of SOLOIS.
  • 8. He wars with the Amazons, concludes peace, and marries HIPPOLYTA; or, as others say, ANTIOPA. (The son of THESEUS and ANTIOPA was named HIPPOLYTUS. Various accounts of his many marriages.)
  • 9. His friendship with PIRITHOUS.
  • 10. How THESEUS and PIRITHOUS carried off HELEN and PROSERPINA, (War between the Tyndarides and Athenians.)
  • 11. THESEUS delivered from prison by HERCULES. (The Athenians rebel against THESEUS. Various accounts of his death.)


Desire of fame pricketh men forward to great enterprises.
Theseus and Hercules near kinsmen.
The wonderful admiration which Theseus had of Hercules' courage made him in the night that he never dreamed but of his noble acts and doings) and in the daytime, pricked forwards with emulation and envy of his glory, he determined with himself one day to do the like' and the rather, because they were near kinsmen, being cousins removed by the mother's side. For Aethra was the daughter of Pitheus, and Alcmena (the mother of Hercules) was the daughter of Lysidices, the which was half sister to Pitheus, both children of Pelops and of his wife Hippodamia So he thought he should be utterly shamed and disgraced, that Hercules, travelling through the world in that sort, did seek out those wicked thieves, to rid both sea and land of them: and that he, far otherwise, should fly occasion that might be offered him, to fight with them that he should meet on his way....

With this determination, Theseus holdeth on his purposed journey, with intent to hurt no man, yet to defend himself, and to be revenged of those which would take upon them to assault him.

Periphetes Corynetes a famous robber, slain of Theseus.
The first therefore whom he slew within the territories of the city of Epidaurum, was a robber called Periphetes.This robber used for his ordinary weapon to carry a club, and for that cause he was commonly surnamed Corynetes, that is to say, a club-carrier. So he first strake at Theseus to make him stand: but Theseus fought so lustily with him, that he killed him.
Theseus carried the club he wan of Periphetes, as Hercules did the Lion's skin.
Whereof he was so glad, and chiefly for that he had won his club, that ever after he carried it himself about with him, as Hercules did the lion's skin. And like as this spoil of the lion did witness the greatness of the beast which Hercules had slain, even so Theseus went all about, strewing that this club, which he had gotten out of another's hands, was in his own hands invincible.
Sinnis Pityocamtes, a cruel murderer, slain.
And so going on further, in the straits of Peloponnesus he killed another, called Sinnis, surnamed Pityocamtes, that is to say, a wreather or bower of pine-apple trees: whom he put to death in that self 1 cruel manner that Sinnis had slain many other travellers before. Not that he had experience thereof, by any former practice or exercise: but only to shew that clean strength could do more than either art or exercise.
Perigouna Sinnis' daughter.
This Sinnis had a goodly fair daughter called Perigouna, which fled away when she saw her father slain: whom he followed and sought all about. But she had hidden herself in a grove full of certain kinds of wild pricking rushes called stoebe, and wild sperage 2, which she simply like a child intreated to hide her, as if they had heard, and had sense to understand her: promising them with an oath, that if they saved her from being found, she would never cut them down, nor burn them. But Theseus funding her, called her, and sware by his faith he would use her gently, and do her no hurt, nor displeasure at all. Upon which promise she came out of the bush, and bare unto him a goodly boy, which was called Menalippus.
Theseus begat Menalippus of Perigouna.
Afterwards Theseus married her unto one Deioneus, the son of Euritus the Oechalian. Of this Menalippus the son of Theseus, came Ioxus: the which with Ornytus brought men into the country of Caria, where he built the city of Ioxides. And. hereof cometh that old ancient ceremony, observed yet unto this day by those of Ioxides, never to burn the briars of wild sperage, nor the stoebe, but they have them in some honour and reverence....

2. It is supposed he arrived in the city of Athens the eighth day of the month of June, which then they called Cronius. He found the commonwealth turmoiled with seditions, factions, and divisions, and particularly the house of Aegeus in very ill teens also, because that Medea (being banished out of the city of Corinth) was come to dwell in Athens, and remained with Aegeus...

Medea persuaded Aegeus to poison Theseus.
But when she heard tell that Theseus was come, before that the good king Aegeus (who was now become old, suspicious, and afraid of sedition, by reason of the great factions within the city at that time) knew what he was, she persuaded him to poison him at a feast which they would make him as a stranger that passed by. Theseus failed not to go to this pre pared feast whereunto he was bidden, but yet thought it not good to disclose himself. And the rather to give Aegeus occasion 3 and mean 4 to know him, when they brought the meat to the board, he drew out his sword as though he would have cut withal, and shewed it unto him. Aegeus seeing it, knew it straight, and forthwith overthrew the cup with poison which was prepared for him: and after he had enquired of him and asked things, he embraced him as his son. Afterwards in the common assembly of the inhabitants of the city, he declared how he avowed him for his son. Then all the people received him with exceeding joy, for the renown of his valiantness and manhood....

3. 5Shortly after this exploit, there came certain of king Minos' ambassadors out of Creta, to ask a tribute, being now the third time that it was demanded; which the Athenians paid for this cause. Androgeus, the eldest son of king Minos, was slain by treason within the country of Attica: for which cause Minos, pursuing the revenge of his death, made very hot and sharp wars upon the Athenians, and did them great hurt. But besides all this, the gods did sharply punish and scourge all the country, as well with barrenness and famine as also with plague and other mischiefs, even to the drying up of their rivers. The Athenians perceiving these sore troubles and plagues, ran to the oracle of Apollo, who answered them that they should appease Minos, and when they had made their peace with him, that then the wrath of the gods would cease against them, and their troubles should have an end.

The manner of the tribute conditioned.
Whereupon the Athenians sent immediately unto him, and intreated him for peace: which he granted them, with condition that they should be bound to send him yearly, into Creta, seven young boys and as many young girls. Now thus far all the historiographers do very well agree, but in the rest not. And they which seem furthest off from the troth 6, do declare, that when these young boys were delivered in Creta, they caused them to be devoured by the Minotaur within the labyrinth: or else that they were shut within this labyrinth, wandering up and down, and could find no place to get out, until such time as they died, even famished for hunger.
The Minotaur what it was.
And this Minotaur, as Euripides the poet saith, was
A corpse combin'd, which monstrous might be deem'd:
A boy, a bull, both man and beast it seem'd.

The Labyrinth a prison in Creata.
But Philochorus writeth, that the Cretans do not confess that, but say that this labyrinth was a gail 7 or prison, in the which they had no other hurt, saving that they which were kept there under lock and key could not fly nor start away: and that Minos had, in memory of his son Androgeus, instituted games and plays of prise 8, where he gave unto them that wan the victory those young children of Athens, the which in the meantime notwithstanding were carefully kept and looked unto in the prison of the labyrinth: and that at the first games that were kept, one of the king's captains called Taurus, who was in best credit with his master, wan the prise 9.
Taurus one of Minos' captains.
This Taurus was a churlish and naughty-natured 10 man of condition 11, and very hard and cruel to these children of Athens.
Of the Bottieians. Plin.lib.iv.cap. 2.
And to verify the same, the philosopher Aristotle himself, speaking of the commonwealth of the Bottieians, declareth very well, that he never thought that Minos did at any time cause the children of Athens to be put to death: but saith, that they poorly toiled in Creta, even to crooked age, earning their living by true and painful service....

The third time of payment of the tribute. The Athenians are grieved to depart with their children.
The time now being come about for payment of the third tribute, when they came to compel the fathers which had children not yet married, to give them to be put forth to take their chance and lot: the citizens of Athens began to murmur against Aegeus, alleging for their grieves 12, that he, w ho only was the cause of all this evil, was only alone exempted from this grief. And that, to bring the government of the realm to fall into the hands of a stranger, he cared not though they were bereft of all their natural children, and were unnaturally compelled to leave and forsake them.
Theseus offereth to go with the children into Creata.
These just sorrows and complaints of the fathers whose children were taken from them did pierce the heart of Theseus, who, willing to yield to reason, and to run the selfsame fortune as the citizens did, willingly offered himself to be sent thither, without regard taking to 13 his hap or adventure. For which, the citizens greatly esteemed of his courage and honourable disposition, and dearly loved him for the good affection he seemed to bear unto the commonalty.
Lots drawn for the childen that should go.
But Aegeus having used many reasons and persuasions to cause him to turn and stay from his purpose, and perceiving in the end there was no remedy but he would go, he then drew lots for the children which should go with him. Hellanicus notwithstanding doth write, that they were not those of the city which drew lots for the children they should send, but that Minos himself went thither in person, and did choose them, as he chose Theseus the first, upon condition agreed between them: that is to wit, that the Athenians should furnish them with a ship, and that the children should ship and embark with him, carrying no weapons of war: and that after the death of the Minotaur this tribute should cease.
The Athenians sent their children into Creta in a ship with a black sail. Aegeus giveth the master of the ship a white sail to signify the safe return of Theseus.
Now before that time, there was never any hope of return, nor of safety of their children; therefore the Athenians always sent a ship to convey their children, with a black sail, in token of assured loss. Nevertheless Theseus putting his father in good hope of him, being of a good courage, and promising boldly that he would set upon this Minotaur, Aegeus gave unto the master of the ship a white sail, commanding him that at his return he should put out the white sail if his son had escaped: if not, that then he should set up the black sail, to shew him afar off his unlucky and unfortunate chance. Simonides notwithstanding cloth say, that this sail which Aegeus gave to the master, was not white, but red, dyed in grain, and of the colour of scarlet, and that he gave it him to signify afar off their delivery and safety. This master was called Phereclus Amarsiadas, as Simonides saith. But Philochorus writeth, that Scirus the Salaminian gave to Theseus a master called Nausitheus, and another mariner to tackle the sails, who was called Phaeas: because the Athenians at that time were not greatly practiced to the sea. And this did Scirus, for that one of the children on whom the lot fell was his nephew: and thus much the chapels do testify, which Theseus built afterwards in honour of Nausitheus and of Phaeas, in the village of Phalerus, joining to the temple of Scirus.
Cybernesia games.
And it is said moreover, that the feast which they call Cybernesia, that is to say, the feast of patrons of the ships, is celebrated in honour of them.

Hiceteria, offering.
Now after the lots were drawn, Theseus taking with him the children allotted for the tribute, went from the palace to the temple called Delphinion, to offer up to Apollo, for him and for them, an offering of supplication, which they call hiceteria: which was an olive bough hallowed, wreathed about with white wool.
Theseus taketh ship with the tribute children the sixth of March, and saileth into Creata.
After he had made his prayer, he went down to the sea-side to embark, the sixth day of the month of March: on which day at this present time they do send their young girls to the same temple of Delphinion, there to make their prayers and petitions to the gods.
Venus Epitragia.
But some say, that the oracle of Apollo in the city of Delphes had answered him, that he should take Venus for his guide, and that he should call upon her to conduct him in his voyage: for which cause he did sacrifice a goat unto her upon the sea-side, which was found suddenly turned into a ram, and that therefore they surnamed this goddess Epitragia, as one would say, the goddess of the ram.
Theseus slew the Minotaur by means of Ariadne, king Minos' daughter.

Furthermore, after he was arrived in Creta, he slew there the Minotaur (as the most part of ancient authors do write) by the means and help of Ariadne: who being fallen in fancy 14 with him, did give him a clue of thread, by the help whereof she taught him, how he might easily wind out of the turnings and crancks 15 of the labyrinth.

Theseus' return out of Creta.
And they say, that having killed this Minotaur, he returned back again the same way he went, bringing with him those other young children of Athens, whom with Ariadne also he carried afterwards away. Pherecides saith moreover, that he brake the keels or bottoms of all the ships of Creta, because they should not suddenly set out after them.
Taurus overcome of Theseus, was a man.
And Demon writeth, that Taurus (the captain of Minos) was killed in fight by Theseus, even in the very haven-mouth, as they were ready to ship away and hoise 16 up sail. Yet Philochorus reporteth, that king Minos having set up the games, as he was wont to do yearly in the honour and memory of his son, every one began to envy captain Taurus, because they ever looked that he should carry away the game and victory, as he had done other years before; over and above that, his authority got him much ill will and envy, because he was proud and stately, and had in suspicion that he was great with 17 Queen Pasiphae.
Taurus suspected with Pasiphae, king Minos' wife.
Wherefore when Theseus required that he might encounter with Taurus, Minos easily granted it.
How Ariadne fell in love with Theseus.
And being a solemn custom in Creta, that the women should be present to see those open sports and sights, Ariadne, being at these games amongst the rest, fell further in love with Theseus, seeing him so goodly a person, so strong, and invincible in wrestling, that he far exceeded all that wrestled there that day.
Minos sendeth Theseus home with his prisoners, and releaseth the Athenians of their tribute.
King Minos was so glad that he had taken away the honour from captain Taurus, that he sent him home frank 18 and free into his country, rendering to him all the other prisoners of Athens: and for his sake clearly released and forgave the city of Athens the tribute, which they should have paid him yearly.... 4.
Theseus sailed into Creta, and wan the city of Gnosus, and slew Deucalion.
Afterwards when all his ships were ready, and rigged out, he took sea before the Cretans had any knowledge of it: insomuch as when they saw them afar off, they did take them for the barks of their friends. Theseus landed without resistance, and took the haven. Then having Daedalus, and other banished Cretans for guides, he entered the city self 19 of Gnosus, where he slew Deucalion in a fight before the gates of the labyrinth, with all his guard and officers about him. By this means the kingdom of Creta fell by inheritance into the hands of his sister Ariadne. Theseus made league with her, and carried away the young children of Athens which were kept as hostages, and concluded peace and amity between the Athenians and the Cretans: who promised and sware, they would never make wars against them.

They report many other things also touching this matter, and specially of Ariadne: but there is no troth 20 nor certainty in it.

Divers opinions of Ariadne.
For some say, that Ariadne hung herself for sorrow, when she saw that Theseus had cast her off. Other write, that she was transported by mariners into the ile 21 4 of Naxos, where she was married unto Oenarus the priest of Bacchus: and they think that Theseus left her, because he was in love with another, as by these verses should appear:
Aegles, the nymph, was loved of Theseus,
Who was the daughter of Panopeus....
Theseus' master of his ship forgat to set out the white sail.
But when they drew near to the coast of Attica, they were so joyful, he and his master 22, that they forget to set up their white sail, by which they should have given knowledge of their health and safety unto Aegeus.
Aegeus' death.
Who seeing the black sail afar off, being out of all hope ever more to see his son again, took such a grief at his heart, that he threw himself headlong from the top of a cliff, and killed himself.
Theseus arriveth safe with the tribute children in the haven of Phalerus.
So soon as Theseus was arrived at the port named Phalerus, he performed the sacrifices which he had vowed to the gods at his departure: and sent an herald of his before unto the city, to carry news of his safe arrival. The herald found many of the city mourning the death of King Aegeus. Many other received him with great joy, as may be supposed. They would have crowned him also with a garland of flowers, for that he had brought so good tidings, that the children of the city were returned in safety.
The herald bare a rod in his hand.
The herald was content to take the garland, yet would he not in any wise put it on his head, but did wind it about his herald's rod he bare in his hand, and so returned forthwith to the sea, where Theseus made his sacrifices. Who perceiving they were not yet done, did refuse to enter into the temple, and stayed without for 23 troubling of the sacrifices. Afterwards, all ceremonies finished, he went in and told him the news of his father's death. Then he and his company, mourning for sorrow, hasted with speed towards the city....

6. Furthermore, after the death of his father Aegeus, he undertook a marvellous great enterprise.

Theseus brought the inhabitants of the country of Attica into one city.
For he brought all the inhabitants of the whole province of Attica to be within the city of Athens, and made them all one corporation, which were before dispersed into divers villages, and by reason thereof were very hard to be assembled together, when occasion was offered to establish any order concerning the common state. Many times also they were at variance together and by the ears 24, making wars one upon another. But Theseus took the pains to go from village to village, and from family to family, to let them understand the reasons why they should consent unto it. So he found the poor people and private men ready to obey and follow his will, but the rich, and such as had authority in every village, all against it. Nevertheless he wan them, promising that it should be a commonwealth, and not subject to the power of any sole prince, but rather a popular state. In which he would only reserve to himself the charge of the wars, and the preservation of the laws: for the rest, he was content that every citizen, in all and for all; should bear a like sway and authority. So there were some that willingly granted thereto. Other 25 who had no liking thereof, yielded notwithstanding for fear of his displeasure and power, which then was very great. So they thought it better to consent with good will unto that he required, than to tarry his forcible compulsion. Then he caused all the places u here justice was ministered, and all their halls of assembly, to be overthrown and pulled down.
Asty the town-house of the Athenians.
He removed straight all judges and officers, and built a town-house, and a council-hall, in the place where the city now standeth, which the Athenians call Asty, but he called the whole corporation of then, Athens.
The feasts Panathenaea and Metaecia.
Afterwards he instituted the great feast and common sacrifice for all the country of Attica, which they call Panathenaea. Then he ordained another feast also upon the sixteenth day of the month of June, for all strangers which should come to dwell in Athens, which was called Metoecia, and is kept even to this day.
Theseus resigneth his kingdom, and maketh Athens a commonwealth.
That done, he gave over his regal power according to his promise, and began to set up an estate or policy of a commonwealth, beginning first with the service of the gods....


Theseus' journey into Mare Major.
Touching the voyage he made by the sea Major, Philochorus, and some other hold opinion, that he went thither with Hercules against the Amazons: and that to honour his valiantness, Hercules gave him Antiopa the Amazon. But the more part of the other historiographers, namely, Hellanicus, Pherecides, and Herodotus, do write, that Theseus went thither alone, after Hercules' voyage, and that he took this Amazon prisoner; which is likeliest to be true. For we do not find that any other who went this Journey with him, had taken any Amazon prisoner besides himself. Bion also the historiographer, this notwithstanding, saith, that he brought her away by deceit and stealth.
Antiopa the Amazon carried off by Theseus.
For the Amazons (saith he) naturally loving men, did not fly at all when they saw them land in their country, but sent them presents, and that Theseus enticed her to come into his ship, who brought him a present: and so soon as she was aboard, he hoised 26 his sail, and so carried her away. Another historiographer Menecrates, who wrote the history of the city of Nicea in the country of Bithynia, saith: that Theseus having this Amazon Antiopa with him, remained a certain time upon those coasts, and that amongst other he had in his company three younger brethren of Athens, Euneus, Thoas, and Solois.
Solois fell in love with Antiopa.
This last, Solois, was marvellousIy in love with Antiopa, and never bewrayed 27 it to any of his other companions, saving unto one with whom he was most familiar, and whom he trusted best: so that he reported this matter unto Antiopa. But she utterly rejected his suit, though otherwise she handled it wisely and courteously, and did not complain to Theseus of him.
Solois drowned himself for love.
Howbeit the young man, despairing to enjoy his love, took it so inwardly 28, that desperately he leaped into the river' and drowned himself. Which when Theseus understood 29, and the cause also that brought him to this desperation and end, he was very sorry, and angry also. Whereupon he remembered a certain oracle of Pythia, by whom he was commanded to build a city in that place in a strange country, where he should be most sorry, and that he should leave some that were about him at that time, to govern the same.
Pythopolis built by Theseus.
For this cause therefore he built a city in that place, which he named Pythopolis, because he built it only by the commandment of the nun Pythia He called the river, in the which the young man was drowned, Solois, in memory of him: and left his two brethren for his deputies and as governors of this new city, with another gentleman of Athens, called Hermus....


The cause of the wars of the Amazons against the Athenians.
Now hear what was the occasion of the wars of the Amazons, which me thinks was not a matter of small moment, nor an enterprise of a woman. For they had not placed their camp within the very city of Athens, nor had not fought in the very place itself (called Pnyce) adjoining to the temple of the Muses, if they had not first conquered or subdued all the country thereabouts: neither had they all come at the first, so valiantly to assail the city of Athens.
Bosphorus Cimmericus, an arm of the sea.
Now, whether they came by land from so far a country, or that they passed over an arm of the sea, which is called Bosphorus Cimmericus, being frozen as Hellanicus saith: it is hardly to be credited. But that they' camped within the precinct of the very city itself, the names of the places which continue yet to this present day do witness it, and the graves also of the women which died there. But so it is, that both armies lay a great time one in the face of the other, ere they came to battle.
Theseus fighteth a battle with the Amazons.
Howbeit at the length Theseus, having first made sacrifice unto Fear the goddess, according to the' counsel of a prophecy he had received, he gave them battle in the month of August, on the same day in the which the Athenians do even at this present solemnise the feast which they call Boedromia.
The order of the Amazons' battle.
But Clidemus the historiographer, desirous particularly to write all the circumstances of this encounter,; saith, that the left point of their battle bent towards the place which they call Amazonion: and that the right point marched by the side of Chrysa, even to the place which is called Pnyce, upon which the Athenians, coming towards the temple of the Muses, did first give their charge. And for proof that this is true, the graves of the women which died in the first encounter, are found yet in the great street which goeth towards the gate Piraica, near unto the chapel of the little god Chalcodus. And the Athenians (saith he) were in this place repulsed by the Amazons, even to the place where the images of Eumenides are, that is to say, of the furies. But on the other side also, the Athenians, coming towards the quarters of Palladium, Ardettus, and Lucium, drave 30 back their right point even to within their camp, and slew a great number of them.
Peace concluded at four months, and by the means of Hippolyta.
Afterwards, at the end of four months, peace was taken between them by means of one of the women called Hippolyta. For this historiographer calleth the Amazon which Theseus married, Hippolyta, and not Antiopa. Nevertheless, some say that she was slain (fighting on Theseus' side) with a dart, by another called Molpadia. In memory whereof, the pillar which is joined to the temple of the Olympian ground was set up in her honour. We are not to marvel, if the history of things so ancient be found so diversely written....


Theseus' battles.
Albeit in his time other princes of Greece had done many goodly and notable exploits in the wars, yet Herodotus is of opinion, that Theseus was never in any one of them, saying that he was at the battle of the Lapithae against the Centauri. Others say, to the contrary, that he was at the Journey of Cholchide 31 with Jason, and that he did help Meleager to kill the wild boar of Calydonia: from whence (as they say) this proverb came, 'Not without Theseus;' meaning that such a thing was not done without great help of another.
Proverb. Not without Theseus.
Howbeit, it is certain that Theseus self did many famous acts without aid of any man and that, for his valiantness, this proverb came in use, which is spoken 'This is another Theseus.' Also he did help Adrastus, king of the Argives, to recover the bodies of those that were slain in the battle before the city of Thebes. Howbeit, it was not, as the poet Euripides saith, by force of arms, after he had overcome the Thebans in battle, but it was by composition 32. And thus the greatest number of the most ancient writers do declare it. Furthermore, Philochorus writeth that this was the very first treaty that ever was made to recover the dead bodies slain in battle. Nevertheless, we read in the histories and gests 33 of Hercules, that he was the first that ever suffered his enemies to carry away their dead bodies, after they had been put to the sword. But whosoever he was, at this day, in the village of Eleutheres 34, they do shew the place where the people were buried, and where princes' tombs are seen about the city of Eleusin 35, which he made at the request of Adrastus. And for testimony hereof, the tragedy Aeschylus made of the Eleusinians, where he causeth it to be spoken even thus to Theseus himself, cloth clearly overthrow the Petitioners 36 in Euripides.

Theseus' valiantness the cause of Pirithous' friendship with him.
Touching the friendship betwixt Pirithous and him, it is said it began thus. The renown of his valiancy was marvellously blown abroad through all Greece, and Pirithous, desirous to know it by experience, went even of purpose to invade his country, and brought away a certain booty of oxen of his, taken out of the country of Marathon. Theseus, being advertised 37 thereof, armed straight, and went to the rescue. Pirithous, hearing of his coming, fled not at all, but returned back suddenly to meet him. And so soon as they came to see one another, they both wondered at each other's beauty and courage, and so had they no desire to fight. But Pirithous, reaching out his hand first to Theseus, said unto him: "I make yourself judge of the damage you have sustained by my invasion, and with all my heart I will make such satisfaction, as it shall please you to assess it at." Theseus then did not only release him of all the damages he had done, but also requested him he would become his friend and brother-in-arms.
Pirithous and Theseus sworn brethren in the field.
Hereupon they were presently sworn brethren in the field: after which oath betwixt them, Pirithous married Deidamia, and sent to pray Theseus to come to his marriage, to visit his country, and to make merry with the Lapithae ..


The manner of Helen's ravishment.
Theseus and Pirithous went together to the city of Lacedaemon, where they took away Helen (being yet very young) even as she was dancing in the temple of Diana surnamed Orthia: and they fled for life. They of Lacedaemon sent after her; but those that followed went no further than the city of Tegea. Now when they were escaped out of the country of Peloponnesus, they agreed to draw lots together, which of them two should have her, with condition that whose lot it were to have her, he should take her to his wife, and should be bound also to help his companion to get him another.
Theseus left Helen in the city of Aphidnae.
It was Theseus' hap to light upon her, who carried her to the city of Aphidnes 38, because she was yet too young to be married. Whither he caused his mother to come to bring her up, and gave his friend called Aphidnus the charge of them both, recommending her to his good care, and to keep it so secretly, that nobody should know what was become of her.
Theseus went with Pirithous into Epirus to steal Proserpina Aedoneus' daughter.
Because he would do the like for Pirithous (according to the agreement made betwixt them) he went into Epirus with him to steal the daughter of Aidoneus, king of the Molossians, who had surnamed his wife Proserpina, his daughter Proserpina, and his dog Cerberus, with whom he made them fight which came to ask his daughter in marriage, promising to give her to him that should overcome his Cerberus. But the king understanding that Pirithous. was come, not to request his daughter in marriage, but to steal her away, he took him prisoner with Theseus: and as for Pirithous, he caused him presently 39 to be torn in pieces with his dog, and shut Theseus up in close prison.......

11. But Aedoneus king of the Molossians, feasting Hercules one day as he passed through his realm, descended by chance into talk of Theseus and Pirithous, how they came to steal away his daughter secretly: and after told how they were also punished.

Theseus delivered out of prison by Hercules' means.
Hercules was marvellous sorry to understand that one of them was now dead, and the other in danger to die; and thought with himself that to make his moan to Aedoneus, it would not help the matter: he besought him only that he would deliver Theseus for his sake. And he granted him. Thus Theseus being delivered of his captivity, returned to Athens, where his friends were not altogether kept under by his enemies: and at his return he did dedicate to Hercules all the temples, which the city had before caused to be built in his own honour....

1 same.

2 asparagus.

3 opportunity.

4 means.

5 The Athenians paid tribute to Minos king of Creta, for the death of Androgenus his son.

6 truth

7 gaol.

8 prize.

9 prize.

10 ill-natured.

11 disposition.

12 griefs.

13 without regard.

14 love.

15 windlings.

16 hoist

17 beloved by.

18 free.

19 itself

20 truth

21 isle

22 captain

23 for fear of.

24 at strife.

25 others.

26 hoisted.

27 betrayed.

28 to heart

29 learnt

30 drove

31 Cholcis.

32 agreement.

33 tales.

34 Eleutherae.

35 Eleusis.

36 Supplices.

37 told

38 Aphidnae.

39 forthwith

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