The Ancient Library

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On this page: Thesmophoria – Thesmothetae – Thespis – Thestius – Thetes – Thetis



death he married Phaedra, the daughter of Minos, sister of Ariadne, and mother of Acamas and Dem8ph66n. On her death by her own hand (sec hippolytus), he carried off Helen, with the help of Pirithous, to his stronghold Aphidnae. He, in his turn, assisted Pirithous in his battle with the Centaurs, and even descended into the world below to help his friend to carry away PersfiphSne. They were punished severely for this sacrilegious attempt, as they were fastened to a rock, on which they were compelled to sit for ever.

Theseus, however, was after some time delivered b}' Heracles, when the latter was fetching CerbSrus, and returned with him to the light of day. There he found everything changed. The Dioscuri had in the meantime taken and destroyed his town of Aphidnae, had freed Helen, arid had carried away captive his own mother. Menestheus, son of Pet86s, had usurped the government of the country. Theseus thereupon took his sons Acamas and Demophodn to Ele"phenor, king of the Abantes, and went himself to the island of Scyros, where the king, LycSmedes, trea­cherously threw him from a rock into the sea.

He was worshipped as a hero at Athens; yet it was not until after the Persian War that the reverence paid him assumed a more important form, when he is said to have been seen at the battle of Marathon in full armour at the head of his country­men. Bones, supposed to be his, were brought by Clmon from Scyros to Athens, at the bidding of the Delphic oracle, in 476 B.C., and a splendid temple, which served as an asylum especially for slaves, and in which public officials were chosen by lot, was erected over the spot where they were buried. The building commonly called the Theseum (Gr. ThUseidn) is a peripteral hexastyle temple in antls, sur­rounded by thirty-four most beautiful Doric columns ; six on each of the narrow, and eleven on each of the long sides, the whole of Pentelic marble. (See architecture, fig. 6.) The festival of the ThCseia, if not actually instituted at that time, was held afterwards with great splendour, with con­tests and feasting, on the eighth day of the month PyanepsiOn (October-Novem­ber), and the eighth of each month was dedicated to him, as it was to his divine father, Poseidon. Eepresentations of his heroic deeds, especially his combats with the Amazons and Centaurs, served in par-

ticular as decorations of public buildings. Poetry, dramatic poetry especially, and art rivalled each other in doing him honour. He is generally represented in works of art as a powerful, beardless youth (cp. sculp­ture, fig. 7), but of a slighter build than his prototype Heracles, whose club and lion's skin are assigned him in later repre­sentations, instead of the sword with which he is armed in earlier times.

Thesmdphflrla. A festival to Demeter, as the foundress of agriculture and of the civic rite of marriage, celebrated in many parts of Greece, but especially at Athens, It was held at Athens from the 9th to 13th of Pyanepsion, the beginning of November, and only by married women of genuine Attic birth and of blameless reputation. Two of the wealthiest and most distinguished women were chosen out of every district to preside over the festivals; their duty was to perform the sacred functions in the name of the others, and to prepare the festal meal for the women of their own district. Even the priestess who had the chief con­duct of the whole festival had to be a married woman. On the first day of the feast the women went in procession, amid wanton jests and gibes, to the deme of Halimus, on the promontory of Colias, where nightly celebrations were held in the temple of Demeter and her daughter Core. After their return in the early morning of the third day, a festival lasting for three days was held in Athens. No sacrifices were offered on the last day but one, which was spent amid fasting and mourning. On the last day, on which Demeter was invoked under the name of Kalllglneitf, (or goddess of fair children), a feast was held amid mimic dances and games, which probably referred to the mythical stories of the goddess and her daughter.

Thesmdthe'tae. The six junior archons at Athens, on whom devolved, specially, the administration of certain branches of the law. For further details, see archon.

Thespis. Of Icaria; the founder of Greek tragedy (q-v.}.

Thestlus. Son of Ares and DemSnice ; king of jEtolia, father of Althaea and Leda (q.v.).

ThetSs. The lowest of the four property-classes instituted by Solon. (See solonian constitution and eisphora.)

Th6tls. Daughter of Nereus and Doris, wife of Peleus, and mother of Achilles. On many occasions she proved herself of assis-

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