Persia 27: Theseus and Peirithous

The name Peirithous is defined as "he who turns around", which according to Graves designates him as a true High King. (The Greek Myths, 103.3, p 365) Graves also states, "Menestheus the Erechtheid, who ... reigned at Athens during Theseus's four years' absense in Tartarus, seems to have been his mortal twin and co-king, the Athenian counterpart of Peirithous the Lapith. (The Greek Myths, 104.1, p 369)

"Athenian mythographers have succeeded in disguising the bitter rivalry between Theseus and his acting-twin Peirithous for the favours of the Goddess of Death-in-Life - who appears in the myth as both Helen and Persephone ..." (The Greek Myths, 103.3, p 365) More about Persephone below.

"The four years of Theseus's stay in Tartarus are the usual period during which a sacred king made room for his tanist; a new sacred king, Theseus redivivus, whould then be installed. An attempt was made by the Athenians to raise their national hero to the status of an Olympian god, like Dionysus and Heracles, by asserting that he had escaped from death; but their Peloponnesian enemies successfully opposed this claim. Some insisted that he had never escaped, but was punished eternally for his insolence, like Ixion and Sisyphus." (The Greek Myths, 103.5, p 365)

We have now come to the same conclusion. It was Seti and not Ipy/Aper-el/Nakhtmin that harrowed the hell of a duel-to-the-death and lived. In Egypt, Ipy/Aper-el/Nakhtmin is almost an archaeological curiosity. One would never suspect that he left such a mark in legend. On the other hand, the handsome mummified head of Seti is one of the most recognized of any Egyptian pharaoh.

Graves writes, "Theseus visited their country (of the Amazons) ... in the company of Peirithous and his comrades; and that the Amazons delighted at the arrival of so many handsome warriors ..." (The Greek Myths, 100 b, p 352)

It is interesting that Peirithous was like Theseus considered a nominal Erechtheid ("son of Joseph"). Any link for Seti with the 18th Dynasty House of Joseph would have been through his mother, and such a link is entirely possible.

It is actually the "handsome" Peirithous that induces Theseus to hazard Hades. "Some years passed and, when Helen was old enough for Theseus to marry her, Peirithous reminded him of their pact. Together they consulted an oracle of Zeus, whom they had called upon to witness their oath, and his ironical response was: 'Why not visit Tartarus and demand Persephone, the wife of Hades, as a bride for Peirithous?' " (The Greek Myths, 103.c, p 363)

I suspect that the name Peirithous is a play on Peri-thoos, "impetuous Peri/Joseph". The Greek name for Japheth is Iapeter, which means "the hurrier".

The name Menes-theus, "the God Menes", derives from Seti's typecasting as a neo-Menes/Narmer. His throne name was Men-maatre, and his epithet Mery-en-Ptah. Possibly the epithet Pit-theus connoted "the God Ptah", and like the variant Menes-theus designated him as both a son of Ptah/Joseph and a devotee of Ptah. Seti was probably the High Priest of Ptah earlier in his career. See,

Note: Graves does not actually equate Pit-theus and Peirithous. Both are companions of Theseus, but it is possible that they were not one and the same. If not, then Pit-theus might represent another great prince from the House of Joseph, Jehoshaphat/Iuput.

Robert Graves defined Pittheus as "Pine God". One of the rivals Theseus wrestled with was Sinis, nicknamed Pityocamptes, "pine bender", because he was strong enough to bend down the tops of pine-trees until they touched the earth, and would often ask innocent passers-by to help him with this task, but then suddenly release his hold. As the tree sprang upright again, they were hurled high into the air, and killed by the fall. Theseus ... served him as he had served others." (The Greek Myths, 96.b&c, p 328)

Regarding the name Hippolytus/Hippolyte, defined by Graves as, "of the stampeding horses", this closely relates to the Egyptian name of Theseus, that being, Ipy, and to his infamous Biblical characterization as the mad charioteer Jehu. "The driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi; for he driveth furiously." 2 Kings 9:20 The name Nimshi derives from mashah, "draw out", i.e., Mosheh/Moses (Akhenaten).

Recall also in Greek myth that Iphicles son of Amphityron (a Joseph-type name) was the older and tragic twin of Heracles (also called a son of Amphityron). This Heracles was also called Alcides/Alcetes ("the Seti"?). See Graves, The Greek Myths, 118, p 451.