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There are, however, other stories also about marriages of Theseus which were neither honorable in their beginnings nor fortunate in their endings, but these have not been dramatized. For instance, he is said to have carried off Anaxo, a maiden of Troezen, and after slaying Sinis and Cercyon to have ravished their daughters; also to have married Periboea, the mother of Aias, and Phereboea afterwards, and Iope, the daughter of Iphicles; [2] and because of his passion for Aegle, the daughter of Panopeus, as I have already said,1 he is accused of the desertion of Ariadne, which was not honorable nor even decent; and finally, his rape of Helen is said to have filled Attica with war, and to have brought about at last his banishment and death, of which things I shall speak a little later. [3]

Of the many exploits performed in those days by the bravest men, Herodorus thinks that Theseus took part in none, except that he aided the Lapithae in their war with the Centaurs; but others say that he was not only with Jason at Colchis,2 but helped Meleager to slay the Calydonian boar, and that hence arose the proverb ‘Not without Theseus’; that he himself, however, without asking for any ally, performed many glorious exploits, and that the phrase ‘Lo! another Heracles’ became current with reference to him. [4] He also aided Adrastus in recovering for burial the bodies of those who had fallen before the walls of the Cadmeia,3 not by mastering the Thebans in battle, as Euripides has it in his tragedy,4 but by persuading them to a truce; for so most writers say, and Philochorus adds that this was the first truce ever made for recovering the bodies of those slain in battle, [5] although in the accounts of Heracles it is written that Heracles was the first to give back their dead to his enemies. And the graves of the greater part of those who fell before Thebes are shown at Eleutherae, and those of the commanders near Eleusis, and this last burial was a favour which Theseus showed to Adrastus. The account of Euripides in his Suppliants 5 is disproved by that of Aeschylus in his ‘Eleusinians,’ 6 where Theseus is made to relate the matter as above.

1 Plut. Thes. 20.1

2 In quest of the golden fleece.

3 The citadel of Thebes.

4 Eur. Supp. 653 ff.

5 Eur. Supp. 1213 ff.

6 Not extant.

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hide References (9 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 9.27
  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854), A´TTICA
    • Smith's Bio, Anaxo
  • Cross-references in notes to this page (2):
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (3):
    • Euripides, Suppliants, 1213
    • Euripides, Suppliants, 653
    • Plutarch, Theseus, 20.1
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
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