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Aegeus was the father of Theseus and an Athenian King. He had left his sword under a huge rock and told Aithra that when their son would grow up, he should move the rock to learn who his father was. Theseus grew up and became a brave young man. He managed to move the rock and took up his father's sword. His mother then told him the truth about his father's identity. Theseus decided to go to Athens, either by sea, which was the safe way, or by land, following a dangerous path with thieves and bandits all the way. Young, brave and ambitious, Theseus decided to go to Athens by land.
When Theseus arrived, he did not reveal his true identity. He was welcomed by Aegeas, who was suspicious about the stranger who came to Athens. Medea, Aegeus' new wife, tried to poison Theseus to ensure the rule of Athens by her kin. But when Aegeus recognized the sword Theseus carried, he knocked the poisoned wine glass out of Theseus's hand. Father and son were reunited. Soon after Theseus left to kill the Minotaur. Aegeus told Theseus to put up the white sails when he returned, if he had been successful in killing the Minotaur. Theseus forgot and Aegeus jumped into the sea when he saw the black sails coming into Athens, in the mistaken belief that his son had been slain. Henceforth, the sea was known as the Aegean Sea in his honor.