Theseus is a character in Hesiod and Homer's myth. He débuts, with his appearance in around 700 B.C. and usually ends at around the 9th Century.
He was the slayer of the Minotaur and the hero who completed six labors on his journey to Athens. Theseus is generally regarded as the second greatest hero in Greek Mythology, right behind the mighty Heracles.
When Theseus was a child, he was bullied as the other children believed him to have no father or that his father was ashamed of him. When he grew into a young man, he was still bullied. One night, he had a dream of a sea bird that cracked open a clamshell by flying up and dropping it onto a rock. He told Theseus to fight cleverly, using the opponent's gravity and momentum. Afterwards, he told Theseus that his father was Poseidon and Aegus. When he woke, he found his bully and asked him to fight him, and found he could defeat him easily by using the bully's momentum and dodging the blows. Soon, he discovered that a rock with a sword, shield, and a pair of sandals stuck under it had appeared in the middle of town, and every able man was trying to retrieve the items. Unbeknownst to all, the rock had been placed by Aegus. When they saw the scrawny boy next to the large muscled butcher or town champion, they laughed at him, but let him try, astonished when Theseus managed to lift the rock due to his fathers. His mother told him that his father had no legitimate heir other than him, and all of Theseus's fifty cousins were trying, hoping, to get the crown. To prove his parentage, Theseus had to take the sword, shield, and sandals to Aegus, in Athens. To get to Athens, he could have taken a safe sea route or a dangerous land route which would take him by entrances to the Underworld. Being an adventurous young man, he chose to take the land route and on the way, he encountered many robbers and bandits.
The Six Labors of Theseus
Periphetes was the first danger Theseus encountered. He is also known as Corynetes or the Club-Bearer. Periphetes was the lame son of Hephaestus. Periphetes possessed a bronze club which he used to kill bypassers whom he would then rob. Theseus being cunning defeated Periphetes by claiming he did not believe that Periphetes' club was in fact pure bronze. Theseus claimed it looked like wood coated with bronze. Periphetes insisted that it was pure bronze and indulged Theseus who asked to inspect the club. His pride in his weapon blinded him to what Theseus' true intentions were which is why he did not consider Theseus might use it on him. Theseus took advantage of this and then upon being handed the club, Theseus smashed Periphetes' head with the club. Theseus then took the club which he would use later on during his labors.
The second of Theseus' labors was killing an outlaw named Sinis, or Pityokamptes (He who bends pine trees). Theseus encountered Siniis at the Isthmus of Corinth. Sinis was infamous for killing travelers by asking if they could help him hold a certain pine tree, and once they grabbed it, Sinis would let go and the weak travelers would be flung by the tree. Sinis then would take whatever the weakened travelers would drop. A combination of cunning and strength was what Theseus used to vanquish Sinis. Just as with the others Sinis asked Theseus to hold the pine tree, Theseus grabbed the pine with both his hands and when Sinis let go, Theseus, remarkably, was still holding down the tree. Astonished, Sinis bent down to try to get a closer look at the tree, thinking it was broken, and when Sinis was close enough, Theseus let go and the tree hit Sinis' head, knocking him unconscious. While Sinis was unconscious Theseus tied each of his limbs to a tree and let go of the trees, tearing Sinis apart.
Phaea and the Crommyonian Sow
The third of his trials brought Theseus to the town of Crommyon where he encountered Phaea, a crone who bred a sow of monstrous proportions dubbed the Crommyonian Sow. It was during this labor that the club he took from Periphetes would be used. Theseus used the club to slay the giant pig. After killing the pig, Theseus killed its owner and saved the town of Crommyon.
Sceiron was a bandit who tricked by passers into washing his feet by a cliff face and threatening to kill them if they didn't, and when they knelt, he would kick them off the cliff into the ocean. The by passers are then eaten by Skeiron's giant sea turtle, sometimes said to simply be a sea monster. Theseus saw the turtle and had heard of Skeiron, so when Skeiron started to kick him, he dodged and pulled him over the cliff where he was eaten by his own turtle.
Cercyon was the king of Elusis who challenged travelers to a wrestling match, and he never lost. He sacrificed the travelers to renew his royal power every year. Theseus and Kerkyon wrestled each other, and Theseus won because of his superior skill. He promptly killed Kerkyon and abolished the sacrifice, since his father was Poseidon.