P. 295

Chapter 9, Theseus’ Later Exploits

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Diodoros Siculus, Bibliotheca Historica 4.26.1

Heracles, then, according to the myths which have come down to us, descended into the realm of Hades, and being welcomed like a brother by Persephonê brought Theseus and Peirithoüs back to the upper world after freeing them from their bonds. This he accomplished by the favour of Persephonê, and receiving the dog Cerberus in chains he carried him away to the amazement of all and exhibited him to men.  Greek Text

Diodoros Siculus, Bibliotheca Historica 4.63.4

Theseus was later let go by reason of the favour with which Heracles regarded him, Peirithoüs because of the impiety remained in Hades, enduring everlasting punishment; but some writers of myths say that both of them never returned.  Greek Text

Apollodoros, Epitome 1.24

But when Theseus arrived with Pirithous in Hades, he was beguiled; for, on the pretence that they were about to partake of good cheer, Hades bade them first be seated on the Chair of Forgetfulness, to which they grew and were held fast by coils of serpents. Pirithous, therefore, remained bound for ever, but Hercules brought Theseus up and sent him to Athens.  Greek Text

Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library) 2.5.12

And being come near to the gates of Hades he found Theseus and Pirithous, him who wooed Persephone in wedlock and was therefore bound fast. And when they beheld Hercules, they stretched out their hands as if they should be raised from the dead by his might. And Theseus, indeed, he took by the hand and raised up, but when he would have brought up Pirithous, the earth quaked and he let go.   Greek Text

Hyginus, Fabulae 79

Theseus, son of Aegeus and Aethra, daughter of Pittheus, along with Pirithous, son of Ixion, carried off the maiden Helen, daughter of Tyndareus and Leda, from the shrine of Diana while she was sacrificing, and took her to Athens, to a district of the Attic region. When Jove saw that they had such audacity as to expose themselves to danger, he bade them in a dream both go and ask Pluto on Pirithous’ part for Proserpine in marriage. When they had descended to the Land of the Dead through the peninsula Taenarus, and had informed Pluto why they had come, they were stretched out and tortured for a long time by the Furies. When Hercules came to lead out the three-headed dog, they begged his promise of protection. He obtained the favour from Pluto, and brought them out unharmed. Castor and Pollux, Helen’s brothers, fought for her sake, and took Aethra, Theseus’ mother, and Phisadie, Pirithous’ sister, and gave them in servitude to their sister.  Latin Text

Vergil, Aeneid 6.610

or those who devoted themselves only to riches they had obtained. Ttransl. Aaron J. Ivey)  Latin Text

Vergil Aeneid 6.617-618

faithless Theseus sits, and he will sit forever. (Transl. Aaron J. Ivey)  Latin Text

Vatican Mythographer I 48 – Vatican Mythographers – Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini tres Romae nuper reperti 1, p. 48, ed. G. H. Bode. Celle 1834

Latin Text

Scholia at Aristhophanes, Batrachoi (Ranae, Frogs) 142a — Scholia Graeca in Aristophanem, p. 517, ed. F. Dübner. Berlin 1877.

Greek Text

Plutarch, Theseus 31.4

Then he himself, to return the service of Peirithous, journeyed with him to Epirus, in quest of the daughter of Aidoneus the king of the Molossians. This man called his wife Phersephone, his daughter Cora, and his dog Cerberus, with which beast he ordered that all suitors of his daughter should fight, promising her to him that should overcome it. However, when he learned that Peirithous and his friend were come not to woo, but to steal away his daughter, he seized them both. Peirithous he put out of the way at once by means of the dog, but Theseus he kept in close confinement. Greek Text

Plutarch, Theseus 35.1

Now while Heracles was the guest of Aidoneus the Molossian, the king incidentally spoke of the adventure of Theseus and Peirithous, telling what they had come there to do, and what they had suffered when they were found out. Heracles was greatly distressed by the inglorious death of the one, and by the impending death of the other. As for Peirithous, he thought it useless to complain, but he begged for the release of Theseus, and demanded that this favour be granted him.  Greek Text

♠  Kleidemos 323F18 – Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker pt. 3 B, pp. 56-57, ed. F. Jacoby, 2d ed. Leiden 1957.

Greek Text

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Edited by Aaron J. Ivey, Graduate Teaching Assistant, Department of Classics, University of Georgia, June 2016.

Literary sources updated by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, May 2023

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