Gods and Heroes of the Greeks: The Library of Apollodorus

By Michael Simpson; Leonard Baskin et al. | Go to book overview
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Theseus (3. 16. 1--Epitome I)

BOOK 3 16 A son, Theseus, was born to Aegeus by Aethra and when he was grown he pushed aside the rock, took up the sandals and sword, and hurried on foot to Athens.1 He cleared the road of the robbers besieging it. First, in Epidaurus, he killed Periphetes, the son of Hephaestus and Anticlia. He was nicknamed "Clubber" from the iron club which he tarried due to weak ankles and with which he killed passers-by. Theseus took away his club and carried it himself. Second, he killed Sinis, the son of Polypemon and Sylea, daughter of Corinthus, who lived on the Isthmus of Corinth. He was nicknamed "Pinebender," for he forced passers-by to bend down pine trees. Lacking strength to hold them down indefinitely, they were hurled through the air and died miserably. Theseus killed Sinis in the same way.


Epit. 1 Third, at Crommyon, he killed the sow Phaea, named after the old woman who fed it. Some say that this sow was the offspring of Echnida and Typhon. Fourth, he killed Sciron the Corinthian, the son of Pelops, or as some say, of Poseidon. He lived among the rocks in the Megarid, which were called Scironian after him, and forced passers-by to wash his feet. While they were washing them he threw them into the sea as food for a giant turtle. Theseus seized him by the feet and threw him into the sea. Fifth, in Eleusis, he killed Cercyon, the son of Branchus and a nymph Argiope. This man forced passers-by to wrestle with him and killed them. Theseus lifted him up and threw him down on the ground. Sixth, he killed Damastes [Procrustes] whom some call Polypemon. He had a house beside a road and kept two beds made--one small, the other large. Offering passers-by a plate to stay he put short men in the large bed and then beat them with a hammer to make them the same length as the bed. Tall men he put in the small bed and sawed off the parts of their bodies extending over it.2




After freeing the road Theseus came to Athens. Medea was at that



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