Who was Aegeus

aegeusAegeus was the ninth in line mythical king of ancient Athens, where he reigned around the 13th century BC.

He descended directly from the lineage of Erechtheus. He was the son of Pandion, who had been dethroned by the Metionides and had taken refuge in Megara, where he married Pylia, daughter of the local king.

After the death of his father, Aegeus returned to Athens and regained power, but he was unfortunate to have only daughters and no sons. Desperate, he went to the Oracle of Delphi to seek advice. There, the Pythia gave him the oracle that said, “Do not loosen the protruding foot of the wineskin, great leader of the people, before you reach the district of the Athenians.”

The “wineskin” mentioned in the oracle was the container in which the ancients put wine, and the “protruding foot” was the part from which it was filled. It meant that he should not drink too much wine and get drunk before he arrived in his homeland.

Aegeus did not understand the meaning of the oracle and went to Pittheus, the king of Troezen, who was wise, and asked for his opinion. Pittheus guessed the oracle but did not give the real explanation, and that same night organized a royal feast in his palace where wineskins with select wines were opened, and his daughter, the beautiful Aethra, kept serving Aegeus until he got drunk.

Thus, drunk, Pittheus married him to Aethra, wanting to have a grandson and a strong father’s successor. When Aegeus sobered up and realized Pittheus’ cunning, he left Aethra and went alone to Athens.

Before leaving, he told Aethra that if she gave birth to a son, not to reveal his identity, and under a large stone, the “altar of Sthenius Zeus” (altar of strong Zeus), he placed his sword and sandals, telling Aethra that when their son lifts this stone, to wear the sandals and the sword and come to Athens to be recognized