|Poseidon/Neptune with a Pigeon Hat|
Plutarch being Plutarch of course discounts Theseus' immortal heritage, explaining it this way:
Aethra for some time concealed the true parentage of Theseus, and a report was given out by Pittheus that he was begotten by Neptune; for the Troezenians pay Neptune the highest veneration. He is their tutelar god; to him they offer all their first-fruits, and in his honour stamp their money with a trident.And as for Aethra's experience and Theseus's conception, he attributes it all to Aegeus:
Pittheus, therefore, taking advantage from the obscurity of the oracle, prevailed upon him [Aegeus], it is uncertain whether by persuasion or deceit, to lie with his daughter Aethra.The oracle in question is quoted by Plutarch as saying:
"Loose not the wine-skin foot, thou chief of men,
Until to Athens thou art come again."Which seems to be most commonly interpreted as "don't get drunk until you get home" and if that's the case, Pittheus got Aegeus wasted, then put him to bed with Aethra on the sly. I can't imagine that if he was that drunk it would have been the most pleasant time ever for Aethra, in that case.
But Apollodorus pretty much ignores Aethra's, uh, time? with Aegeus altogether with just a line saying Theseus was born between them. So I turned to Hyginus' Fabulae which says:
Neptune and Aegeus, son of Pandion, one night in the shrine of Minerva both lay with Aethra, daughter of Pittheus. Neptune conceded the child to Aegeus.(Does it seem to anyone else that Athena gets a lot of people getting it on in her business?)
In any event, Aethra does not get the romanced version, with the love-shack beneath the shelter of a wave, nor is there any mention of her preferences in the myths. Her sole purpose is simply to mother Theseus and see that he is sent to Aegeus at the appropriate time. C'mon, Poseidon! You can do better than that! Where's the seduction?! Where's the disguising yourself as whoever Aethra might have been in love with to trick her into getting it on? Where's the CREATIVITY!
Poorly Done, Poseidon. 1 out of 5 stars for total LAMENESS of courtship.
So what do you think-- Does this qualify as an affair of the gods or not? Are you in the Plutarch rumor camp, or the Hyginus Aethra-had-a-busy-night party?