Thursday, July 18, 2013

Troezen, Argos and the Peloponnese

A useful map for understanding the geography of the ancient Peloponnese:

In Argolis, Troezen was founded by Pittheus, a son of Pelops. In the Hippolytus Troezen is called the forecourt of Argos. Two fateful events in the life of Theseus took place there:
According to Greek mythology, Troezen came into being as a result of two ancient cities, Hyperea and Anthea, being unified by Pittheus, who named the new city in honor of his deceased brother Troezen.[3] 
Troezen was the place where Aethra, daughter of Pittheus, slept with both Aegeus and Poseidon the same night, and fell pregnant with the great Greek hero Theseus. Before returning to Athens, Aegeus left his sandals and sword under a large boulder in Troezen, and requested that when the child was able to prove himself by moving the boulder he must return the items to his father in Athens; Theseus did indeed lift the boulder when he came of age.[4] 
Troezen is also the setting of the Euripides tragedy Hippolytus, which recounts the story of the eponymous son of Theseus who becomes the subject of the love of his stepmother,Phaedra. While fleeing the city, Hippolytus is killed when his chariot is attacked by a bull rising from the sea. Other plays on the same subject have been written by Seneca and Jean Racine, also set in Troezen 
The ancient city also possessed a spring, supposedly formed where the winged horse Pegasus once came to ground.

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