The Greek Riviera, Part 6, the legend of Aegus

Sounion has a long history. It begins back in the mists of time, with the legend of Aegus, the King of Athens, his son Theseus and the monstrous half-man, half-bull, they called the Minotaur.

The Aegean Sea at Sounion
The Aegean Sea at Sounion

The Minotaur lived in a labyrinth beneath the palace of Minos, the King of Crete. Every year, the Athenians were forced to surrender seven young men and seven young women to Minos as tribute. As soon as they arrived in Crete these youths were sent into the labyrinth where they were  devoured by the bloodthirsty Minotaur.

Convinced that he could slay the monster and free the Athenians from their dreadful obligations to Minos, Theseus volunteered to be part of the  tribute. He set off on this dangerous mission, under a black sail, but he before he left, he promised his father that if he survived the contest, he would replace it with a white one for his return journey.

Theseus did indeed kill the Minotaur, but he forgot to hoist the white sail. Seeing the black sail and believing that his son was dead, Aegus threw himself from the cliff at Sounion.

Since that day the sea washes the shores of Greece has been known as the Aegean, in memory of Aegus, the King of Athens.

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