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When he reached Crete on his voyage, most historians and poets tell us that he got from Ariadne, who had fallen in love with him, the famous thread, and that having been instructed by her how to make his way through the intricacies of the Labyrinth, he slew the Minotaur and sailed off with Ariadne and the youths. And Pherecydes says that Theseus also staved in the bottoms of the Cretan ships, thus depriving them of the power to pursue. [2] And Demon says also that Taurus, the general of Minos, was killed in a naval battle in the harbor as Theseus was sailing out. But as Philochorus tells the story,1 Minos was holding the funeral games, and Taurus was expected to conquer all his competitors in them, as he had done before, and was grudged his success. For his disposition made his power hateful, and he was accused of too great intimacy with Pasiphae. Therefore when Theseus asked the privilege of entering the lists, it was granted him by Minos. [3] And since it was the custom in Crete for women to view the games, Ariadne was present, and was smitten with the appearance of Theseus, as well as filled with admiration for his athletic prowess, when he conquered all his opponents. Minos also was delighted with him, especially because he conquered Taurus in wrestling and disgraced him, and therefore gave back the youths to Theseus, besides remitting its tribute to the city. [4]

Cleidemus, however, gives a rather peculiar and ambitious account of these matters, beginning a great way back. There was, he says, a general Hellenic decree that no trireme should sail from any port with a larger crew than five men, and the only exception was Jason, the commander of the Argo, who sailed about scouring the sea of pirates. Now when Daedalus fled from Crete in a merchant-vessel to Athens, Minos, contrary to the decrees, pursued him with his ships of war, and was driven from his course by a tempest to Sicily, where he ended his life.2 [5] And when Deucalion, his son, who was on hostile terms with the Athenians, sent to them a demand that they deliver up Daedalus to him, and threatened, if they refused, to put to death the youth whom Minos had received from them as hostages, Theseus made him a gentle reply, declining to surrender Daedalus, who was his kinsman and cousin, being the son of Merope, the daughter of Erechtheus. But privately he set himself to building a fleet, part of it at home in the township of Thymoetadae, far from the public road, and part of it under the direction of Pittheus in Troezen, wishing his purpose to remain concealed. [6] When his ships were ready, he set sail, taking Daedalus and exiles from Crete as his guides, and since none of the Cretans knew of his design, but thought the approaching ships to be friendly, Theseus made himself master of the harbor, disembarked his men, and got to Gnossus before his enemies were aware of his approach. Then joining battle with them at the gate of the Labyrinth, he slew Deucalion and his body-guard. [7] And since Ariadne was now at the head of affairs, he made a truce with her, received back the youthful hostages, and established friendship between the Athenians and the Cretans, who took oath never to begin hostilities.

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