Ring of Theseus-Rare Archaeological Discovery on Exhibit for the First TimeGreece TRAVEL
The Mycenean ring of the legendary King Theseus, dated to the 15th century BC, had been found during excavations at the foot of the Acropolis in the Fifties. Never before viewed by the public, it displayed for the first time at the Greek capital’s National Archaeological Museum on January 12, 2015.
The exquisite “Ring of Theseus” was found accidentally in the 1950s in earth discarded at Anafiotika in the Plaka, the oldest part of Athens, while building the first Acropolis museum. The ring opens the “Invisible Museum” series, which will put on public view one or more objects for two months at a time.
The ring is gold and measures 2.7 x 1.8 cm. Also used as a stamp it depicts a bull-leaping scene. The scene also includes a lion to the left and a tree to the right.
The ring was named “Theseus Ring” because of an ancient Greek myth about Theseus. According to this story, there was a dispute between Minos and Theseus over the parentage of Theseus. In Crete, Minos molested one of the maidens and Theseus became angry and challenged him, boasting of his parentage by Poseidon. Minos, being the son of Zeus, did not believe that Theseus did indeed have divine parentage. Minos believed that if Theseus’ father was in fact Poseidon, Theseus would have no difficulty reaching the bottom of the ocean. Minos threw a ring overboard and challenged Theseus to dive in and retrieve it. The fishes of the sea then took Theseus upon their backs and conveyed him to the palace of Amphitrite, Poseidon’s wife. She handed Theseus the ring that had landed at the bottom of the ocean floor and also gave him a jeweled crown, which was later placed among the stars.