Theseus

Theseus was the mythical king and founder-hero of Athens. Like Perseus, Cadmus, or Heracles, Theseus battled and overcame foes that were identified with an archaic religious and social order: “This was a major cultural transition, like the making of the new Olympia by Hercules” (Ruck & Staples, p. 204). Theseus was a founding hero for the Athenians in the same way that Heracles was the founding hero for the Dorians. The Athenians regarded Theseus as a great reformer; his name comes from the same root as θεσμός (thesmos), Greek for "The Gathering". The myths surrounding Theseus – his journeys, exploits, and family – have provided material for fiction throughout the ages. Theseus was responsible for the synoikismos ("dwelling together") – the political unification of Attica under Athens – represented emblematically in his journey of labours, subduing ogres and monstrous beasts. Because he was the unifying king, Theseus built and occupied a palace on the fortress of the Acropolis that may have been similar to the palace that was excavated in Mycenae. Pausanias reports that after the synoikismos, Theseus established a cult of Aphrodite Pandemos ("Aphrodite of all the People") and Peitho on the southern slope of the Acropolis.