Theseus's paternity seems to be in question. He seems to be a demi-god, as the son of Poseidon. But he was also the son of Aegeus.

Who was his father?

  • 2
    I've heard of Theseus' paternity being in question, but the confusion is usually between Aegeus, a King, and Poseidon. I haven't heard of Zeus being his father - could you clarify where that myth is from?
    – Luna
    Apr 28, 2015 at 17:50
  • 1
    Ah, I see. In Classical mythology, Theseus' divine father is always given as Poseidon. The TV show likely embellished the myth because Zeus is often seen as more important and more likely to be known to a wider audience.
    – Piper
    Apr 28, 2015 at 17:56
  • Since no source claims Zeus to be Theseus's father? I'm editing the question and made the question more general.
    – anon
    Apr 29, 2015 at 20:15

2 Answers 2


As someone has already commented, the confusion is between Aegeus and Poseidon. This question does not have many alternate interpretations, it's just that it's never made clear, who the father of Theseus is. In Wikipedia the double paternity is addressed:

Still without a male heir, Aegeus asked the oracle at Delphi for advice. Her cryptic words were "Do not loosen the bulging mouth of the wineskin until you have reached the height of Athens, lest you die of grief." (...) This puzzling oracle forced Aegeus to visit Pittheus, king of Troezen, who was famous for his wisdom and skill at expounding oracles. Pittheus understood the prophecy and introduced Aegeus to his daughter, Aethra, when Aegeus was drunk. But following the instructions of Athena in a dream, Aethra left the sleeping Aegeus and waded across to the island of Sphairia (...) and was possessed by the sea god in the night. The mix gave Theseus a combination of divine as well as mortal characteristics in his nature;

In the Greek version of Wikipedia, it's made clear that Aethra did sleep with Aegeus at night.

  • 3
    Well, Aegeus sure believed himself the father, as he killed himself falling of Sounion when the captain of the ship with which Theseus returned after killing the Minotaur had forgotten to change the sails to white. ( from black) as agreed, and he thought Theseus was dead. Hence the Aegian sea.
    – anna v
    Apr 30, 2015 at 11:20

Zeus was Theseus’s real father. But the parents who raised him called him the son of Poseidon because he was sent to them from a box in the water and the people of that town worshipped Poseidon. They wanted him to be treated well as he was growing up. This is his real father according to Greek mythology.

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