Cecrops or Cecrops I was the mythical founder and king of Athens in Greek mythology. His reign lasted for fifty years. It was believed that he was the one who taught the citizens of Athens of the secrets of marriage, reading, writing and ceremonial burial.
He was one of the first people to believe in Zeus as the god of gods and started erecting statues to the Olympians, as well as performing sacrifices. He also outlawed the sacrifice of living creatures to the gods. It was during his reign that the competition between the two patron saints of the city took place. The two saints were Athena and Poseidon, and in order to settle their dispute once and for all, they were asked to give a gift to the Athenians. Athena offered them an olive tree, while Poseidon struck a rock on the Acropolis with his trident creating a salt sea. Cecrops judged that Athena should become the patron saint of Athens.
When Athena visited the blacksmith god Hephaestus to ask for weapons, he tried to seduce her. She tried to repel him, but his semen fell on her thigh, which Athena wiped away and threw it to the ground. Where it fell, Erichthonius was born, and Athena kept him secret in a box. She gave the box to the three daughters of Cecrops and told them not to open the box. Curious, the three daughters opened it and saw the infant wrapped around a serpent. Driven mad by what they saw, they fell off the Acropolis.
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