Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Classical Dictionary. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 08 December 2022


, mythical king of Athens


, mythical king of Athens
  • Emily Kearns


Theseus, a legendary king of Athens, who came to embody many of the qualities Athenians thought important about their city. Apparently originating without special Attic connections, he may perhaps have merged with a local hero of northern *Attica, where several of his myths are situated, and his prominence in Athenian tradition seems not to pre-date the 6th cent. bce, deriving at least in part from an epic or epics; the developed tradition of his life indicates a very different figure from older Athenian heroes such as *Cecrops or *Erechtheus. Detailed accounts of his life are given in Apollod. 3. 16. 1 continued by Epit. 1. 24 and Plutarch's Life of Theseus.Theseus' claim to membership of the Athenian royal line is somewhat shaky, since his father king *Aegeus was probably a late addition to the stemma, made precisely to accommodate Theseus. The alternative version, that his real father was *Poseidon, scarcely helps.


  • Greek Myth and Religion

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription