MPhil Mid-Thesis Review.
By the fifth century BCE, the Greek hero Theseus was irrevocably connected to the ideology of Imperial Athens. Having been raised to the dubious title of ‘Democratic King’ by the Atthidographers, Theseus was gradually incorporated into Athenian culture as the figurehead and pioneer of their new form of government. This new image of Theseus was cemented in 475 BCE by the implementation of an official religious cult and festival in his name, which highlighted these new characteristics. However, the initiation of this 'Democratic King' into Athenian culture was seemingly not always a smooth one. Euripides' Hippolytus, a rewrite of an older Euripidean play of the same name, demonstrates the potential difficulty there was in applying this new Theseus to traditional myths. In this seminar, I will use the example of Hippolytus to demonstrate the differing ways in which Euripides portrayed the important figure of Theseus, and how this portrayal compares to that of his official cult.