Now while Heracles was the guest of Aidoneus the Molossian, the king incidentally spoke of the adventure of Theseus and Peirithous, telling what they had come there to do, and what they had suffered when they were found out. Heracles was greatly distressed by the inglorious death of the one, and by the impending death of the other. As for Peirithous, he thought it useless to complain, but he begged for the release of Theseus, and demanded that this favour be granted him.
Aidoneus yielded to his prayers, Theseus was set free, and returned to Athens, where his friends were not yet altogether overwhelmed. All the sacred precincts which the city had previously set apart for himself, he now dedicated to Heracles, and called them Heracleia instead of Theseia, four only excepted, as Philochorus writes. But when he desired to rule again as before, and to direct the state, he became involved in factions and disturbances; he found that those who hated him when he went away, had now added to their hatred contempt, and he saw that a large part of the people were corrupted, and wished to be cajoled into service instead of doing silently what they were told to do.
Attempting, then, to force his wishes upon them, he was overpowered by demagogues and factions, and finally, despairing of his cause, he sent his children away privately into Euboea, to Elephenor, the son of Chalcodon, while he himself, after invoking curses upon the Athenians at Gargettus, where there is to this day the place called Araterion,1
sailed away to the island of Scyros, where the people were friendly to him, as he thought, and where he had ancestral estates. Now Lycomedes was at that time king of Scyros.
To him therefore Theseus applied with the request that his lands should be restored to him, since he was going to dwell there, though some say that he asked his aid against the Athenians. But Lycomedes, either because he feared a man of such fame, or as a favour to Menestheus, led him up to the high places of the land, on pretence of showing him from thence his lands, threw him down the cliffs, and killed him. Some, however, say that he slipped and fell down of himself while walking there after supper, as was his custom.
At the time no one made any account of his death, but Menestheus reigned as king at Athens, while the sons of Theseus, as men of private station, accompanied Elephenor on the expedition to Ilium; but after Menestheus died there, they came hack by themselves and recovered their kingdom. In after times, however, the Athenians were moved to honor Theseus as a demigod, especially by the fact that many of those who fought at Marathon against the Medes thought they saw an apparition of Theseus in arms rushing on in front of them against the Barbarians.2