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When King Aegeus of Athens visited Troezen, he bedded King Pittheus’ beautiful daughter, Aethra. The next day, Aegeus buried a sword and a pair of sandals under a huge rock, telling Aethra that if she bore him a son, she must send him to Athens only when he was strong enough to lift the stone. When Aethra gave birth to Theseus, King Pittheus spread the rumor that the father was Poseidon. At the age of 16, Theseus lifted the rock and was told the secret of his parentage. Setting off for Athens, he insisted on taking the dangerous coast road, determined to clear the way of all the bandits that terrorized the area. He killed them all. Although he arrived in Athens incognito, Medea soon guessed Theseus’ identity and because she had already provided Aegeus with an heir, plotted his death. She invited Theseus to a feast and gave him some poisoned wine but, just as the cup reached his lips, Aegeus recognized the sword he had left under the stone, and dashed the cup to the floor. Whilst Aegeus embraced his son, Medea quietly slipped away. Shortly afterwards, King Minos of Crete sent envoys to collect young girls and boys to feed the Minotaur — a monstrous half-man, half-bull creature. Learning that this happened every seven years, Theseus decided to put an end to it by volunteering to go to Crete and kill the beast. Reluctant to see him go, Aegeus gave Theseus a white sail which he was to hoist on his return, signalling his success and survival. Theseus’ unbowed manner soon earned him the hatred of King Minos — and the love of his daughter Ariadne. She promised to marry Theseus after he had successfully killed the Minotaur, and gave him a magic ball of thread. He tied one end to the doorway and let it roll, finding its own way to the center of the Labyrinth where the Minotaur lived. When Theseus emerged triumphant, having slain the Minotaur, he rescued Ariadne, boarded their ship and sailed back to Athens. Stopping off at Naxos, Theseus broke his promise of love towards Ariadne and set sail without her. In his obsession with the head of the Minotaur he forgot his promise to hoist the white sail. Aegeus, waiting for his son on the Acropolis believed the black sail meant Theseus was dead, and threw himself into the sea.