AEGEUS In Greek mythology, king of ATHENS and father of the hero THESEUS, with Aethra, daughter of King Pittheus of Troezen. Some say that the sea god, POSEIDON, was the father of Theseus, and that possibly Aegeus and Poseidon were one and the same. When Aegeus left Troezen, Aegeus told Aethra that if a child should be born of their union, it was to be reared quietly in Troezen, with King Pittheus as guardian. Aegeus then hid his sword and sandals under a rock, telling Aethra that she was to lead the child, when it became old enough, to the hiding place so that he or she could recover the tokens of its identity. When Aegeus thought that Theseus had been killed, he threw himself into the sea that today bears his name—the Aegean Sea.

Taken from : Greek and Roman Mythology A to Z, Revised Edition – Written by Kathleen N. Daly and Revised by Marian Rengel – Copyright © 2004, 1992 by Kathleen N. Daly

Greek Mythology

Aegeus (goatish?) In Greek mythology, king of Athens; father of the hero Theseus, son of Pandion and Pylia; brother of Lycus, Nisus, and Pallas. With the help of his brothers Aegeus took Attica from the sons of his uncle Metion, who had earlier driven out their father, Pandion. Then, dethroned by Pallas and his sons, Aegeus was rescued and restored to power by his son Theseus. Aegeus then slew Androgeos, son of Minos, and to punish Aegeus, Minos forced him to send seven boys and seven girls to Crete every nine years as victims of the Minotaur. When Theseus set out to free his country from this tribute, he told his father he would change the black sail of his ship to a white sail if he succeeded. But he forgot to switch the sail, and seeing the black sail on the returning vessel, Aegeus believed Theseus had been killed. He threw himself into the Aegean Sea, which, according to some accounts, is named after him. Aegeus had a shrine at Athens where he introduced the worship of Aphrodite, who had left him childless until he honored her. Plutarch’s Life of Theseus and Mary Renault’s novels The King Must Die and The Bull from the Sea have Aegeus as part of the narrative. Ovid’s Metamorphoses (book 7) also tells the tale.


Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, Third Edition – Written by Anthony S. Mercatante & James R. Dow– Copyright © 2009 by Anthony S. Mercatante