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Witches in History and Legend: Circe, the Mistress of Natural Magic and Metamorphosis

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Alexa has studied faeries, witches and magical beings since she can remember. She hasn't seen one yet, but is a fervent admirer nonetheless.



The Goddess Circe

Often referred to as the goddess of magic, nymph, fallen goddess or just a simple witch, Circe traveled through history and her name is still alive today. She could harness the power of nature, brew dangerous potions or transform people into animals. Who was this legendary character?

Who Was Circe?

In Greek mythology, Circe is depicted as the beloved daughter of Helios, god of the sun, and Perse, an ocean nymph. Other legends fail to mention the name of Circe's father, but they say she was the daughter of Hecate, goddess of witchcraft. Diodorus Sicilus writes:

Hecate, daughter of Perses, married Aeetes and bore two daughters, Circe and Medea, and a son Aigialeus.

Whoever her parents were, Circe was nonetheless a goddess. Later in history, literature and myth describe her as a powerful sorceress and Plinius calls her "the most beautiful of all mortal women."

Another depiction

Another depiction

How Did Circe Become Mortal?

Taking into account her divine parentage, the question that naturally arises is how did Circe lose her immortality? The Greek tradition tells the following story:

The fair-locked goddess Circe was bathing in the ocean, along with the water nymphs, when Poseidon, the Olympian god of the sea, felt her magic touch and her beauty. He fell in love with Circe and took her as his lover. Together, they had a son named Phaunos. Phaunos was a god of forests. In "Nonnus Dionysiaca," Phaunos was described as one of the deities that accompanied Dionysus in his war against the Indians. Most ancient authors identified Phaunos with Pan.

Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and carnal love, had a jealous nature. She had been Poseidon's first lover and Circe was an unwanted addition to their couple. Aphrodite convinced Zeus, the Master of Olympus, to banish Circe and send her to live a mortal life.

Circe on the Island of Aeaea

Circe on the Island of Aeaea

The Island of Aeaea

Valerius Flaccus wrote in Argonautica, that Circe arrived on her exile island of Aeaea by winged Dragons. He locates the island somewhere south of Elba, within view of the Tyrrhenian shore. However, mortals could not reach it easily, because Circe would protect her home with powerful magic.

The island quickly became Circe's lair. Nature, animals and spirits were all obedient to her will. As a border between the mortal world ad the domains of gods, the island was also an entrance to Hades, the land of the dead. It is said that the mythical island of Aeaea can still open a portal to the underworld.

Circe and Medea

Some authors identify Medea as Circe's sister, while others tell that Medea was Circe's niece. They were close kin and also friends.

Legend and history agree that the sorceress Medea was not in her right mind. She was a deceiver and killer, ready to sacrifice anyone around for her own interests. She even killed her two children in cold blood just to obtain her revenge on Jason.

Medea did not actually fall in love with Jason, the Argonaut. She wanted to leave with him because of their common greed and wish to become king and queen. Before their marriage, Medea asked for Circe's blessing. Circe did not agree to bless the union. Instead, she cursed Medea for her irresponsible choice and banished her forever from the Island of Aeaea.

Natural magic

Natural magic

Mistress of Natural Magic

Natural magic is the ancient discipline concerning the manipulation of the environment.

One of the two great divisions of Western magical practice, the other being ritual, or ceremonial magic. Natural magic deals with the magical powers of physical substances—herbs, stones, resins, metals, perfumes, and the like. It has generally been much less controversial than ritual magic, and has been practiced openly even at times when even a rumor of involvement in ritual magic was enough to cause imprisonment and death.

The principle governing natural magic in the Western tradition is the great Hermetic axiom “As above, so below.” Every object in the material world, according to this dictum, is a reflection of astrological and spiritual powers. By making use of these material reflections, the natural magician concentrates or disperses particular powers of the higher levels of being; thus a stone or an herb associated with the sun is infused with the magical energies of the sun, and wearing that stone or hanging that herb on the wall brings those energies into play in a particular situation.

Circe was the mistress of natural forces. She could call the elements in her aid whenever she needed to. Circe was well versed in the art of herbalism and she could use the plants on the Island of Aeaea to brew potent potions and deadly poisons. She was able to create and shape meteorological patterns, such as creating rain, invoking changes in the course of the wind, or even calling upon thunder or earthquakes.

Mistress of Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis, or transmutation, is the magical act of changing the physical properties of some creature, thing, or condition. It is also commonly known as alteration. Circe was known for her great ability to change people into animals and animals into fish or birds. However, she didn't possess the ability to alter her own appearance, from what we know.

Circe and her guests

Circe and her guests

Circe and Odysseus

In Homer's “Odyssey," Odysseus' crew accidentally arrived on Circe's island and her “water mansion” in a clearing in a dense wood, around which prowled harmless lions and wolves, the drugged victims of her magic. She invited the sailors to a feast, but the food was laced with one of her magical potions, and she turned them all into pigs with a magic wand.

Odysseus set out to rescue his men, using the holy herb “molly” given to him by Hermes to protect himself from Circe's potions, and following Hermes’ advice as to how to avoid Circe’s magic and seductions. Having freed his fellows, Odysseus and Circe became lovers, and he and his men remained on the island for a year feasting and drinking wine, after which Circe assisted him in his quest to reach his home.

Later poets extended the story, one version being that Telegonus, Circe’s son by Odysseus was sent by Circe to find Odysseus, who had long since returned to his home on Ithaca, but on arrival, Telegonus accidentally killed his father. He brought the body back to Aeaea, taking Odysseus' widow, Penelope, and their son, Telemachus, with him, and Circe made them immortal and married Telemachus, while Telegonus made Penelope his wife.

Looking beyond the sorcery and danger of being turned into swine, Circe played the role of a double standards illustration. Odysseus becomes Circe’s lover, but in the scope of the story, we are supposed to understand and forgive him even though his wife Penelope resists all suitors and remains faithful until her husband’s return.

Perhaps Circe is the temptress at the root of all tales that include an unfaithful husband who simply didn’t mean to do it. Circe is a witch, a sorceress, a furious woman, which means we can lay all the blame upon her, scorn her, and judge her.

Read More About Great Witches in History and Legend


The Character of Circe in the Odyssey, by JD McClymont

Transformations of Circe: The History of an Enchantress, by J.Yarnall

© 2018 Alexa R


AnonTU on June 20, 2020:

Different cities in Greece had different versions of myths. Many are familiar with the story of Theseus and the Minotaur. That is the Athens version of the story. Perhaps the story of the Minotaur is inaccurate or downright false certain ancient authors thought so. The writer Philochorus is mentioned by Plutarch and supposedly said that the Cretans refuted the story of the Minotaur they claimed that the events attributed to the Minotaur actually involved a Cretan general named Taurus. Despite the fact that he was a high-ranking general in King Minos's military and given the honors appropriate a winner of the athletic games, Taurus made inappropriate romantic advances towards Queen Pasiphae. When Theseus arrived at Knossos, another round of games was scheduled, everyone assumed that Taurus would be the overall winner. Theseus asked to be included in the games, Minos was more than agreeable to that arrangement because he wanted someone to defeat and humiliate Taurus. Theseus won the wrestling match and Taurus was suitably humbled. Minos was so pleased, he freed the Athenian hostages.In this sense, Theseus defeated the "bull-man" [Taurus] and freed the Athenian captives from the Labyrinth [prison].

Jakob Jannicke on April 30, 2020:

Many of the conceptions about who Euripides was, and what his motivations for writing may have been were collected by Satyrus the Peripatetic, a third century philosopher and biographer. He acquired most of his sources from the works of Aristophanes, a comedic poet writing in the 5th century B.C. Aristophanes produced many plays that dealt with political and social issues during the time in which he wrote, mainly focusing on the side effects of war and politics. Public figures were often the butt of Aristophanes’ jokes. These figures included Cleon, a well-known demagogue in Athens, Socrates, a popular philosopher, and Euripides.Euripides is mentioned in many of Aristophanes’ works including Lysistrata, Women at the Thesmophoria, Acharnians, and Frogs. It is from these works that Satyrus took quotes and interpreted them as factual details about Euripides and his life. In the Vita of Euripides, Satyrus stated that Euripides was the son of a storekeeper and vegetable seller, and that he had others write his plays. He also stated that, “he [Euripides] hated laughter and he hated women,” and he made fun of women because he found his wife sleeping with his slave, Cephisophon. Aristophanes’ portrays his women in a different manner than Euripides. He places women in positions of power and has them take on the duties and responsibilities of males in Athens.

Adam on April 16, 2020:

King Creon is a fictional character from Euripidas theater play Medea. Some later authors accepted the character. As such a character never existed in the list of Corinthian rulers, some authors such as Hyginus considered him to be the king of Thebes. Hyginus fab. 27. : Jason burned to death with Creusa and Creon son of Menoecus. When Medea saw the palace burning, she killed her children from Jason. Didymus and Creophylus (7th c. BCE): while Medea was living in Corinth and she was ruler of the city at that time, she burned Creon, and because she feared his friends and kinsfolk, fled to Athens. Report the details of the catastrophe at Creon’s palace. He describes the magical fire which is fed by even the water intended to douse it, and the agonizing deaths of both Glauce and Creon. Glauce threw herself into a spring, hoping to quench the burning fire, but she died, However, since her sons were too young to go along with her, she left them at the altar of Hera Acraea, thinking that their father would see to their safety. But the relatives of Creon killed them and spread the story that Medea had killed her own children. Here's a more modern version of this story already written by Arno (see posts already written earlier). This more modern version is from Roman times. Where's the Medea killing Creon because she blamed him for killing her adopted seven boys and girls. Interestingly, in this version of the myth, Medea, while ruling Corinth, was cheating on Jason. Aegus was her lover, when she gave birth to Medus in Athens, she did not know if his father was Jason or Aegus.

Professor on March 21, 2020:

There are many different versions of this story besides Euripides' play. In his Medea, the children are killed by their own mother, while in other versions they are murdered by the citizens of Corinth in response to Medea's actions. No matter who the murderers are, the children's slaughter is a mythical representation of a parent's darkest fears: whether directly or indirectly, a mother is the ultimate cause of her children's death. While Greek myth often represents maternal murder and guilt, this phenomenon is not restricted to mothers (or nurses), and fathers too are represented as their children's killers. In the case of Medea's children, however, the focus is squarely on the mother as threat, and we find this primal parental fear expressed both in the myth of the death of the children and in the rituals in their honor. The Corinthian cult in honor of the dead children contains elements typical of both initiation and mourning rites. Systematic examination of the ancient sources reveals that the story of the children of Medea is not simply a literary or iconographical topos, but that the narrative of their deaths derives from a complex religious system that can be uncovered by a close analysis of the myth variants. For the earliest literary sources, we have to turn to a later author, Pausanias. The second-century A.D. writer relates the account of the Corinthian Eumelos (eighth-seventh century B.C.), whose Korinthiaka contains the oldest version of the events we have. The Korinthiaka is an epic poem devoted to the history of the kings of Corinth, starting with the god Helios. There follows a long genealogical account of the subsequent rulers of Corinth, which makes Medea both a direct descendant of the god Helios and the rightful ruler of Corinth. When Korinthos dies childless, the Corinthians send for Medea from Iolcus and hand over the kingdom to her, so that Jason becomes king by virtue of being her husband. A scholion to Pindar's Olympian 13 fills some of the gaps and provides an explanation for Medea's strange behavior: He remembers Medea when she lived in Corinth and brought an end to the famine overcoming the Corinthians by sacrificing to Demeter and the Lemnian nymphs. Then, Zeus fell in love with her, but he did not win Medea over since she wanted to avoid the anger of Hera. Because of this, Hera promised her that she would make her children immortal. The Corinthians honor them after their deaths. Both versions - Eumelos's and Pindar's agree that Medea wants and hopes to make her children immortal. The attempt to immortalize implicitly becomes the cause of the children's death. The scholia also elucidate the link between Medea and Hera and the reason for the latter's goodwill toward the former. Hera, however, does not keep her promise to make the children immortal (athanatoi). The children will, in fact, be immortalized with the establishment of the cult and the awarding of time (honor) in compensation for their death. Is Medea victim to a misunderstanding? The "key to immortality" for recipients of hero cult, is the permanence of the cultural institution of which they become part through their death, a requirement that the cult for the children of Medea fulfills. And paradoxically, it is only through death that the children can become immortal.

Starlet on March 18, 2020:

There are stories of the Corinthian event that follow the story from the Argonautica by Apollonius of Rhodes. The same stories of the Corinthian event accompany those authors who count Theseus among the Argonauts. If Medea was the Queen of Corinth, then she did not have to marry Aegeus. Another tradition tells of Medea, described as "Corinthian", which re-stores to her the original characteristics of queen, priestess and embodiment of the goddess in a city ruled by her. In a mythical story of the city of Corinth it is said that Medea was the lawful queen of the city. According to this tradition Aeetes, as son of Helios, has a right of sovereignty over Corinth. Under this law Medea, as granddaughter of Helios, is called by the Corinthians themselves to rule as queen over the city, since the last Corinthian king did not leave heirs. However, it is Medea, that, as queen, makes her consort Jason king This mythical story of the enthronement of Jason at Corinth coincides with the representation of the hierarchical structure of societies, where the queen is in fact the incarnation of the goddess, who rules accompanied by the king, the hero.In Corinth Zeus fell in love with Medea, but Medea did not give her consent to him, seeking to avoid the anger of Hera. For this reason Hera in fact promised to make the children immortal. But they died, and the Corinthians honour them. Medea is responsible for the children’s deaths but more in an accidental manner, since they die while she believes that she is making them immortal. Medea is relying on Hera to act to give the children immortality. Medea be attempting to perform a similar act to Demeter when that goddess tried to make Demophon immortal. When the goddess was disguised as a servant and working at the palace of Metaneira, she took the young Demophon and placed him in the fire with the aim of making him immortal. The transformation failed as the child’s mother discovered Demeter and the goddess stopped the process. However with Medea, it is not in her own powers to transform the children. She is waiting for the intervention of Hera which does not materialise, and Medea possibly only realises this at the last minute when it is too late to reverse the process. According to this version of the myth: At last she learned that her hopes were vain, and at the same time she was detected by Jason. When she begged for pardon he refused it, and sailed away to Iolchus. For these reasons Medea too departed, and handed over the kingdom to Sisyphus. Then she went to Italy where her name was Angitia.

Hellenic on December 13, 2019:

The story from the Euripides' Medea cannot follow the story from he Argonautica by Apollonius of Rhodes. I could list a lot of details that differ in those two stories.

I'll give you an example:

In Apollonius' view then, Theseus belonged to "days past", which means that he could not have been the victim of a plot conceived by Medea, nor could Medea marry Aegus. Apollonius Rhodius thought that the first to be abducted was Ariadne since he represented Jason telling Medea: "In days past the maiden Ariadne, daughter of Minos, with kindly intent rescued Theseus from grim contests—the maiden whom Pasiphae, daughter of Helius, bare." (Argonautica 3.997). Apollonius' Jason obviously knows Theseus very well—and so does the girl he is seducing. Apollonius' view Theseus did not follow the Argonauts because he was retained in the Underworld: "But Theseus ... an unseen bond kept beneath the land of Taenarus, for he

had followed that path with Pirithous; assuredly both would have lightened for all the fulfilment of their toil." (Argonautica 1.101).

Marvin on December 12, 2019:

Some think that Medea was, asserting that she came to Hellas with Jason, lived with him in Corinth for ten years, and later, having left him, married Aegeus. It is told that later Aegeus son Theseus came to Athens, where Medea attempted to poison him. But Aegeus, having recognized his son, expelled Medea from the city. After that incident, Theseus sailed to Crete, a voyage which resulted in the abduction of Ariadne. It appears that if someone wished to accommodate Euripides' view of position in time, he would also have to drastically rearrange or eliminate several tales. But then he would meet a similar difficulty with the authors who count Theseus among the Argonauts.

Ivan on December 09, 2019:

There is a big difference between mythology based on religious practice and and stories invented by individual authors like Euripides.

After fleeing Corinth, Medea became the wife of Aegeus, who later drove her away after her unsuccessful attempt to poison his son Theseus. Ariadne in Greek mythology, was a Cretan princess and daughter of Pasiphae and the Cretan king Minos. After Ariadne, daughter of Minos of Crete, was abandoned by Theseus, she wed Dionysus - god of wine, son of Zeus and Semele. Ariadne bore Dionysus three sons - Thoas, Oenopion and Staphylus. Thoas the fleet-footed was bequeathed Lemnos. When the Lemnian men took Thracian women as concubines, the Lemnian women took vengeance by slaying their men. Thoas alone survived because his daughter Hypsipyle set him adrift. He landed on the shores of the Thracian Chersonese, and the Taurians made him their king.

According to some authors:

Lemnos was repopulated when the Argo landed there. Jason fathered twin sons upon Queen Hypsipyle: Euneus, who would be king of Lemnos at the start of the Trojan War; and Nebrophonius.

Is this possible?

According mythology based on religious practice and ancient historians : Queen Hypsipyle and Jason - impossible connection. Queen Hypsipyle cannot have children with Jason.

Johny on December 09, 2019:

Euripides is quite contradictory in its tragedies. Hypsipyle was one of Euripides’ latest tragedies. Its heroine was the daughter of Thoas king of the island of Lemnos. As a young woman she had borne twin sons to Jason during the Argonauts’ visit to Lemnos, but Jason left his sons to be raised by his comrade Orpheus in Thrace. Hypsipyle later had to flee the island after refusing to kill her father when the other women of Lemnos massacred their menfolk. Seized by marauders, she was sold as a slave to Lycurgus, priest at the rural sanctuary of Zeus at Nemea, and later became nurse to Opheltes, son of Lycurgus and his wife Eurydice. Many years later her sons became adults and strong man. They were eventually reunited there with their grandfather in Thrace, returned with him to Lemnos, and set out to find their mother. Meanwhile Jason died, at Colchis. In the play, they reach Nemea just as the army of the Seven is passing by on its march to Thebes, and Hypsipyle admits them to the house without recognizing them.

It is said here: Jason has died at Colchis. What Jason was doing at Colchis? He reconciled himself to the Medea, after divorce in Corinth, so they went back to Colchis together. There is no other answer. Euripides' so it says in tragedy Hypsipyle.

Linda on November 25, 2019:

According to the Colchis version: Jason come to represent the stranger who tempts and steals the young woman Medea from her family. He is inept and immoral.

Medea and her children were historically worshipped as religious cult figures. Her children were said to have been murdered by the Corinthians and the blame to have been placed on her.

The psychological insights into Medea's actions stem from Euripides' acknowledgement of her plight as a foreign and intelligent wife. Other women in Greek mythology also avenge the crimes of their husbands by killing their sons.

Louie on November 13, 2019:

Two of the most powerful sorceresses of Greek mythology are Circe and Medea. Both are the daughters and priestesses of Hecate, a goddess of the waning and dark moon who came to be the patroness of witchcraft. Living on an island as an exile, Circe learned the art of magic. Her magic centered around the use of her female charms, such as her beautiful hair, which helped her control the creative and destructive forces. Art depicts Circe as a beautiful woman who carries a magician’s wand. She surrounds herself with men who she turns into animals. Medea was a vengeful sorceress. When she married Jason (Jason was 20 years old), she was only 16 years old. She used magic potions and some trickery to achieve her own ends. Art depicts her as standing over a bubbling cauldron.

Rosa on November 04, 2019:

Euripides’ Medea was first performed in Athens in 431 BC twenty years after the introduction of Pericles’ Citizenship Law (Plutarch Pericles 37.2 and Aristotle Athenian Constitution 26.3). The law provided that both parents had to be Athenians in order for any child to be legitimate. Medea may represent a critique of Athenian law by Euripides, who disagreed with social policy. Alternatively, Euripides might be considered a misogynist, using the foreigner Medea to isolate the Athenian audience from her plight. Jason’s oath breaking has a secondary affect in respect of Medea’s honour; she loses her place in society and home because of his actions. Euripides tale recounts the awful experiences that women generally had when they married. Medea adopted the role of the Greek wife, Jason and the children are her focus, but, when Jason leaves, her world appears to be ending. However, in order to achieve her revenge, escape and move on with her story Medea has no choice but to rely on another man, Aegeus.

Alex on October 31, 2019:

In literature of the Middle Ages, Medea is to demonstrate her considerable and alarming powers to the full. Medea’s crucial role is mentioned here, and although earlier has described her magic, and the crimes she was willing to commit for Jason, it is not her ability or her ruthlessness but her unrequited love for Jason that is stressed as her story closes, in terms which clearly disempower Medea and give Jason the upper hand. Such a description is typical of the medieval approach to Medea. Finally, she is described as reconciling with Jason and working to repair the rifts she has created, by restoring her father to the throne and helping him to win more kingdoms, and her father-in-law Aeson, to win the crown Thessaly. English authors such as Chaucer, Gower, Lydgate, Caxton and continental sources, such as Guido delle Colonne’s Historia Destructionis Troiae, Boccaccio’s De Claris Mulieribus and De Genealogia Deorum Gentilium Libri and Raoul Lefèvre’s Histoire de Jason, as well as from late antique and medieval mythographies and commentaries.

Nico on September 20, 2019:

"Corinth and Athens were more or less archenemies." - the absolute truth.

The Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) was an ancient Greek war fought by the Delian League led by Athens against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Athens surrendered in 404 BC, and its allies soon surrendered as well. The surrender stripped Athens of its walls, its fleet, and all of its overseas possessions. Corinth and Thebes demanded that Athens should be destroyed and all its citizens should be enslaved. However, the Spartans announced their refusal to destroy a city that had done a good service at a time of greatest danger to Greece, and took Athens into their own system.

Klaus on September 19, 2019:

In Corinth Medea was worship as a national heroine. She is supposed to have saved the city from a famine. Corinth and Athens were more or less archenemies. It is therefore hardly a coincidence that it is from Athenian dramatists and others that the darkest things about Medea stem; like her murdering her own children - and her alleged attempted murder of Theseus, National hero of Athens.

Dragan on July 14, 2019:

In the mythology and folklore:

Medea murdered her own brother Apsyrtus on an island in the mouth of the river Ister (the Danube). After reconciliation with Jason, Medea came to Absoros where her brother Apsyrtus was buried, and that the people of Absoros could not cope with the large amount of snakes that were all around the place. So Medea gathered them up and put them in her brother's tomb, where they still remain.

After returning to Colchis, the Lord of the universe chose Jason to be the saviour. Jason has distinctly both a divine and a human aspect. In his divine aspect he was the god of the spring sunshine, of the great annual rebirth of nature. He cleared the Colchis and neighboring lands of monsters, slew the dragon . Jason's wife, Medea holds the title of Snake Princess, daughter of Hecate, Dark Queen of Shadows. Jason is a skilled healer. Jason's original function as master of healing/magical herbs.

Sara on July 14, 2019:

Medea did not actually fall in love with Jason, the Argonaut. She wanted to leave with him because of their common greed and wish to become king and queen. Whether it is so?

If she wanted to, she might have been a queen, as her father asked for. They had invited Styrus, King of the Albanians, to come to Colchis with an offer of marriage for her. Styrus ruled over a powerful tribe in the mountains to the north of the river Cyrus and not only commanded the trade route upon which much of the prosperity of Colchis depended, but threatned the kingdom's eastern frontiers. Medea position in Albania will be one of far greater power than Medea can ever hope to attain in Colchis when Apsyrtus succeeds Aeetes. King Styrus of Albania, who at the time had come to Colchis to marry Medea. He drowned during the pursuit of the Argonauts.

Ashton on June 23, 2019:

Medea's last place, probably came as no surprise to Euripides. He is said to be the author of around 92 plays, but he only won the competition five times. The comic playwright Aristophanes made fun of Euripides's use of language and his characters. Euripides so critical of traditional religion that many believed him to be an atheist. Athens just wasn't ready for these ideas. Euripides was known to be kind of a loner. He spent most of his time writing in a cave on the island of Salamis. Eventually the lack of appreciation may well have been what drove Euripides to leave Athens. He spent the last months of his life in the court of the King of Macedonia, and perhaps met a pack of dogs (sent by Medea) with a taste for playwrights.

Dayananda on June 22, 2019:

This is an excellent article on Circa, as well very good contributions to Medea. I made two versions of myth about Medea (event in the Corinth and end of story) - to me the most logical:

Version 1:

Euripides, Neophron, Seneca, Diodorus and others - version of the event in the Corinth: Jason and Medea lived in exile in Corinth. Jason has fallen out of love with her. And now he wants to marry a different woman. She sends a beautiful gown to Glauce as a wedding present, but when Glauce puts it on she goes up in flames. So she kills their two boys.The end: Medea was exiled to Asia and she married an Asian king. Jason was justly punished in this loss, he killed himself.

Version 2:

Eumelos, Pindar, Kreophylos, Pausanias and others - version of the event in the Corinth: Medea was the hereditary ruler and queen of the Corinth. Medea killed her children by accident (trying to make them immortal) or they killed them the citizens of Corinth. Jason leaves Medea. Medea didn't stay in Corinth, giving the kingdom to Sisyphus. The end: Jason and Medea reconciled, returned back to Colchis and conquer neighboring lands.

Woman scorned, bad husband, revenge and hate (version 1) or difficult life, but at the end of the victory of love (version 2) - decide for yourself what you like more.

Karl on June 04, 2019:

1. In the Korinthiaka of Eumelos (reputedly of the mid-eighth century B.C.) Medea concealed her children in the temple of Hera, hoping to make them immortal, but they died. Another version of the myth had Medea leaving her children in the temple where they were killed by Kreon's kin, who then spread the rumor that Medea had murdered them. Euripides appears to have invented the variation of Medea herself murdering the children from jealousy.

2. Some claims that Euripides rewrote the Medea of Neophron. The strongest evidence for this is that only two actors are required, whereas all other extant tragedies of Euripides require three. Fragments of Neophron's Medea survive, but details of language and meter show that this play was later than that of Euripides.

Fabian on May 29, 2019:

Medea falls in love with Jason. She uses her magic powers to help him steal the Golden Fleece. Medea betrays her family and homeland for the love of Jason, who takes her to Iolcus. On arrival at Iolcus, Jason expects to be crowned king. His uncle Pelias does not keep his promise and threatens to have the young lovers executed. Medea uses her shrewdness and witchcraft to kill Pelias. Jason finally takes the throne of Iolcus. Medea marries him. They have two sons. The king and queen face a new enemy. Acastus, Pelias’ son, wages war on them in his father's name. Jason and Medea lose the battle.Given that Pausanias is writing about Corinth, it is only natural that he focuses on the Corinthian portion of Medea’s life story. 1) Creon’s daughter is given a name, Glauce, and 2) rather than die in the palace in the arms of her father, she leaps into the fountain in order to relieve the poison from the robe. 3) Medea is not a child-killer. Instead, it is the Corinthians who murder Medea’s children, not Medea herself. 4) In fact, Medea conceals the children in the sanctuary of Hera Acraea. Furthermore, 5) Medea was the hereditary ruler at Corinth, summoned when Corinthus turned out to be childless. As for Medea and her children, the cult of Hera Acraea, located at Perachora, the “land across,” i.e., the promontory jutting out into the Gulf of Corinth just north of the isthmus, helped protect mothers in pregnancy and the children who might die in the first years of life. Finally, why is Medea included in the list of Corinthian rulers ? The return of the sons of Heracles is traditionally associated with the arrival of the Dorians, and other figures such as Helius, Sisyphus, and Medea are equally notable. Helius was assigned Acrocorinth by the Titan Briareos and had altars there; Homer mentions Sisyphus as King of Ephyra in Iliad 6.152, 210, and Pausanias reports that he rescued Melicertes, helped establish the Isthmian Games, and was buried on the isthmus; and Medea and her children were central to the cult of Hera Acraea. Moreover, if the chest of the tyrant Cypselus dedicated at Olympia is an object of his patronage, then it suggests that Cypselus included scene of Medea and Jason on the chest to reinforce his right to rule. Pausanias records that the chest depicts Medea sitting on a throne with Jason and Aphrodite standing on either side. Medea’s rule at Corinth is hereditary through her father Aeetes. Medea, as the daughter of Aeetes, inherited the kingdom after Corinthus died childless. When Medea lost her children, she passed on the kingdom to Sisyphus and his sons. In short, Medea becomes the linchpin that makes possible the orderly succession of rulers from Helius to Sisyphus.

Ivan on May 27, 2019:

After expelling from the Corinth, Jason wanderings from city to city. No longer the heroic adventurer once so favored by the gods, he now lives his life as a destitute man haunted by his own personal failures. After a long time, he was invited to participate in the hunting of the Calydonian boar. The hunting of the Calydonian boar was one of the most famous episodes of Greek heroic legend. Although accounts of the hunt vary, some of the more famous names mentioned include Jason, Theseus, Pirithous, Telamon, Peleus, Dioscuri, Laertes, Nestor, Meleager and Atalanta.During the hunt, Peleus accidentally killed his host Eurytion.Some have said, however, that the boar's skin caused a civil war between the Curetes, represented by the sons of Thestius, and the Calydonians, represented by Meleager, and that Meleager killed his mother's brothers in battle, and perished himself in the same war.Peleus was a hero, son of Aeacus, king of the island of Aegina, and Endeis, an oread nymph.He was the husband of the nymph Thetis, with whom he fathered the famous hero Achilles.Along with his brother Telamon, they accidentally killed their half-brother, Phocus, while hunting, and were forced to flee the island of Aegina, in order to avoid punishment. When they reached the region of Phthia, Peleus fell in love with Antigone, the daughter of the region's king Eurytion, with whom he had a daughter, Polydora. Peleus, Telamon, and Eurytion were all participants in the Argonautic Expedition, in Jason's quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece.One day, Peleus reached Iolcus, where the king's wife, Astydameia, fell in love with him. Peleus denied her advances, and for revenge, Astydameia sent a message to Antigone, saying that Peleus would marry her daughter. Antigone was so bitter that she hanged herself. Astydameia then falsely accused Peleus of trying to rape her; the king, Acastus, took Peleus into a forest where he abandoned him just before an attack by centaurs. Peleus was saved by Chiron, a wise centaur, Peleus escaped.Later Jason and Peleus, attacked and defeated Acastus.Peleus ransacked Iolcus, and killed both Astydameia and Acastus.Jason reconciled with the sons of Pelias and settled in Iolcus.After the escape from the Corinth,Medea made her way to Thebes where she healed Heracles from the curse of Hera (that led to the murder of Iphitus, his best friend). In return, Heracles gave her a place to stay in Thebes until the Thebans drove her out in anger, despite Heracles' protests. She then fled to Athens where she met and married Aegeus.When the victorious Theseus returned to Athens with the dead body of the Marathon Bull, Aegeus, goaded on by Medea, became still more suspicious of him. So he had to assent to the plan of the sorceress to poison Theseus during the feast to celebrate his victory. However, as our hero was about to drink the poisoned wine, the eyes of Aegeus fell upon the sword and sandals the young stranger had just worn. Recognizing his son, Aegeus knocked the cup of poisoned wine off his hand and, embracing the youth with great joy and emotion, named Theseus as his son and successor before his subjects.Medea was perpetually banished from Athens. After an exiled (from Athens) Medea has spent a long period of penitence and self-reflection in a wild wood in Thessaly, during which time she dines on acorns, nuts, and roots, she meets Jason as he wanders in the same wood. Jason forgives her, realizes he still loves her, and agrees to take her back (twenty years after Jason and Medea left Iolkos or ten years after divorce) with her son Medus (Thessalus/Polyxenus). After this, they return to civilization and city Iolcus. Jason as having in the end become reconciled to Medea, as having returned with her to Colchis, and as having there restored Aeëtes to his kingdom.

Ana on May 23, 2019:

An excellent text about goddess Circe. I like it.

Jason and the Argonauty (and Atalanta’s) epic quest to Colchis to get the Golden Fleece to earn his kingdom from evil usurper Pelias. They’ll fight stone giants, dragons, Aeetes and fate! But they wouldn’t have gotten far without Medea, who does everything. Ask Euripides though, you better keep Medea on your side, Jason, cause she’ll mess you up and then peace out on her own dragon-pulled chariot!

Sid on February 05, 2019:

Medea represented one of the most a powerful woman. She was intelligent, dangerous, and determined and refused to conform to the ideal of loyalty expected of women toward their male family members. She chose her own husband instead of allowing her father to arrange her marriage; she also betrayed her father, murdered her brother and her husband's uncle, and tried to kill her stepson(Theseus). When her husband discarded her, she destroyed his life. Her sons helped her, and the citizens of Corinth killed them, according to one version, or else Medea killed them by accident. Only in the theater play by Euripides (and subsequent adaptations from other authors) does she kill them as revenge on Jason. Long after, Jason is pursued by Medea, resulting in his death and resurrection, much as Medea, for love of Jason, is said to have killed and rejuvenated him. In the Jason and Medea reconciliation version, at the end of the story, Jason (mortal man) becomes a god. (more powerful than Medea - Medieval scholars thought Jason was “really” Jesus). Medea, no one tells the story of her death, but say that she married the Greek hero Achilles and lived with him in a paradise known as the Isles of the Blessed.

Arno on December 17, 2018:

Jason and Medea in Corinth - another version of myth.

During the reign of Medea in the Corinth, it was often visited by King Aegeus of Athens. At that time, Medea had two sons with Jason. She was to cure Aegeus of his sterility. Aegeus liked Medea and he urged her to leave the Jason and come to Athens. Neither Medea was indifferent to this courting, especially because Jason often went to various heroic adventures and neglected her as a woman. Jason was younger and more beautiful, but Aegus was more charming. Medea to hesitate, but slowly tilted toward Aegus.

Medea has adopted seven boys and seven girls, who helped her in ceremonies and rituals. The Corinthians were beginning to become unhappy by being ruled by a foreign woman and so plotted against Medea. They planned to kill her seven boys and seven girls and so the children took refuge in the sanctuary Hera Akraia. However the Corinthians didn’t respect the goddess and they killed all fourteen of the children on the altar. The Medea was very angry, and it was blamed for this by the Kreon (a very important and powerful person in the Corinth), who was the leader of the opposition against her rule. Medea kills Kreon and his daughter(In this version, she was not in any way tied to Jason), with her use of magic. So began a rebellion against her, in which her personal guard and soldiers were defeated by rebels. She then leaves for Athens, fearing the revenge of the Corinthians, but leaves her children (two sons). She believes that their father will protect them, but friends of Kreon kill them (stoned them to death) and spread a rumour that this was done by Medea before she left for Athens. By escaping, Medea deprived the Corinthians of a victim whom they could punish, so they turned against Jason. Jason wanted to kill him, but they did not dare to do it, because he was a great hero with many friends who would revenge him. They banished Jason from Corinth.

Agnes on December 16, 2018:

In the Greek myth of Jason and the Argonauts, Medea is the daughter of King Aeлtes of Colchis and a paternal granddaughter of the sun-god Helios. Following her failed marriage to Jason while in Corinth, for one of several reasons depending on the version, she marries King Aegeus of Athens and bears a son Medus. After failing to make Aegeus kill his older son Theseus, she and her son fled to Aria, where the Medes takes their name from her, according to in the Pausanias' Description of Greece.According to other versions, such as in Strabo's Geographica and Justin's Epitoma Historiarum Philippicarum, she returned home to conquer neighboring lands with her husband Jason, one of which was named after her; while another version related by Diodorus Siculus in Bibliotheca Historica states that after being exiled she married an Asian king and bore Medus, who was greatly admired for his courage, after whom they took their name.

Alex on November 27, 2018:

The perfect text about the goddess Circe. I congratulate you on the good text.

Something about Euripides:

Euripides gained a reputation as a misogynist (and although one legend has him being torn apart by dogs at death, another claims it was women), for he liked exploring abnormal mental states:

Hippolytus: stepmother Phaedra in love with her stepson

Andromache: a "barren" jealous wife plans the murder of her husband's concubine and son

Sthenoboea: a "Joseph and Potiphar's wife" plot

Aeolus: a brother and sister in love

Auge: a girl bears an illegitimate child in a temple

Medea: a mother murders her two sons

Spencer on November 20, 2018:

Medea is an ancient Greek tragedy written by Euripides, based upon the myth of Jason and Medea. (not mitology, not religius practice, not history). Everyone can make a theater play and proclaim for mythology. After all, Medea, was the most popular Ancient Greek play in the United States in the twentieth century. Wouldn’t the ancient Athenians find that it spoke to them, as well? And the answer is no – evidently they did not. Euripides didn’t take first prize in that year’s competition. He didn’t even take second prize. He finished dead last. As you can probably well imagine, a lot of people have responded to Euripides, and his portrayal of Medea over the ages. And probably the most famous response to Euripides in general was by a man who knew him – the younger comedic playwright, Aristophanes.And again, that was a quote from Aristophanes' play Thesmophoriazusae, which is a satire that essentially accuses Euripides of being a misogynist.The Roman writer Aulus Gellius, who lived during the 100s CE – long after Euripides, obviously – but anyway, the later Roman wrtier Aulus Gellius wrote about the playwright Euripides in his travelogue of Athens - in a book entitled Attic Nights. Gellius wrote that:Euripides is said to have had a strong antipathy toward nearly all women, either shunning their society due to his natural inclination, or because he had two wives simultaneously – since that was legal according to Athenian decree – and they had made marriage abominable to him . So, according to this later Roman historian, and Euripides’ contemporary, Aristophanes, Euripides had a staunch, and unapologetic dislike of women. In fact, misogynistic sentiments pervade many of Euripides’ plays. Women are maligned as “devisers of evil” in the play Medea. They’re called a “source of sorrow” in Euripides’ version of Orestes. Stepmothers are made to look wicked in Euripides’ plays Ion and Alcestis.Remember that Euripides’ version of Medea was a single man’s take on an old ancestral story – an adaptation of a myth that had been around before he came along. Now, anyone who does remakes, or sequels, or prequels, usually has some innovations of his or her own to add. Euripides had one. And here’s the kicker. Scholarship generally agrees that Euripides invented Medea’s murder of her children .In making Medea a child killer, Euripides conscientiously invented a story for her that had not existed before. There were actually many stories about Medea. There is also a version: Jason and Medea reconciled, returned back to Colchis, and as having there restored Aeëtes to his kingdom, and lived happily ever after. Source: Strabo Geography, Justin Epitome, Tacitus Annals, Pompeius Trogus history.

Ivan on November 20, 2018:

Jason and Medea in Corinth - original story and mitology. (short version) Aeetes came from Corinth: It is said that the land of Ephyra or Ephyraea, which later was called Corinth, was given to Aeetes by his father Helius, whereas Asopia, which is a district in the neighboring region of Sicyonia, was given by Helius to his other son Aloeus. Aeetes, however, did not remain in Corinth , but instead emigrated to Colchis, the land at the eastern end of the Black Sea. On leaving for Colchis, Aeetes entrusted the kingdom to Bunus, the son of Hermes and Alcidamea, and when Bunus died, Epopeus, who some call son of Aloeus, brother of Aeetes, extended his own kingdom to include Corinth. These are the reasons why, when later the Colchian princess Medea came to Hellas, she became Queen of Corinth. What happened to Jason and Medea, after Pelias' death. They were set to have settled on the island of Corfu.Corinthus, son of Marathon, had died childless, the Corinthians had sent for Medea, because her grandfather Helius was the founder of the city of Corinth. Once when they had no king: the Corinthians invited Medea from Corfu and granted her the throne. So Medea settled in Corinth and had made Jason, as king of Corinth. As soon as her children were born, Medea took them to the sanctuary of Hera where she buried them, believing that if they were buried there they would become immortal. In the end, she discovered that her hopes were unfounded. Jason discovered the strange murders, and refused to reconcile with Medea(She begged him to forgive her), so he gone to Corfu or other city. Medea didn't stay in Corinth, giving the kingdom to Sisyphus.Afterwards Medea left for Athens where she married King Aegeus, father of Theseus. Accidental death of the children at the hands of Medea, but there is no suggestion that she deliberately kills the children. There is no antipathy towards Jason and there is no suggestion in evidence that Jason leaves Medea for another woman. There is another version: The second version of events has the Corinthians kill the children. where he says that the Corinthians were beginning to become unhappy by being ruled by a foreign woman and so plotted against Medea.

Jason, the Greek hero who captured the Golden Fleece after making a great journey to the East. In later Greco-Roman religious practice, this hero somehow acquired a series of temples across the East as well as a mountain in Iran, Mt. Jasonium (Strabo, Geography, 11.13-14). He was also recognized as the conqueror of Armenia before the Trojan War (Strabo, Geography, 11.14; Justin, Epitome, 42.2-3). Pompeius Trogus that Jason “set out on a second voyage for Colchis, accompanied by a numerous train of followers (who, at the fame of his valour, came daily from all parts to join him), by his wife Medea, whom, having previously divorced her, he had now received again from compassion for her exile” (Epitome 42.2). Then, to make amends to Medea’s father for stealing the Golden Fleece and treating his daughter badly, he “carried on great wars with the neighbouring nations; and of the cities which he took, he added part to the kingdom of his father-in-law, to make amends for the injury that he had done him in his former expedition” (Epitome 42.3). This, Trogus and Justin affirm, is the reason that that Jasonia exist across the East, in honor of Jason’s conquest of the entire region.In the end, Jason becomes a god.Thus we read in Strabo that temples and cult of Jason were spread over the whole do Asia, Media, Colchis, Albania, and Iberia, and that Jason enjoyed divine honors also in Thessaly and on the Corinthian gulf. Justin tells us that nearly the whole of the east worshipped Jason and built temples to him, and this confirmed by Tacitus (Annals vi,34). Thus, the healer and savior god Jason was worshipped widely throughout the Roman Empire long before the purported advent of “Jesus Christ.” The name (more correctly Iason) means "healer," and Jason is possibly a local hero of Iolcus to whom healing powers were attributed. The ancients regarded him as the oldest navigator, and the patron of navigation. By the moderns he has been variously explained as a solar deity; a god of summer; a god of storm; a god of rain, who carries off the rain-giving cloud (the golden fleece) to refresh the earth after a long period of drought.

Princess Medea has been called daughter of Hecate since she served this goddess as her priestess and sister of of the Dread Goddess Circe. She thereby acquired an intimate knowledge of drugs and spells. Her father Aeetes, who had been king of Ephyraea (Corinth) before he emigrated to Colchis, was brother of Pasiphae, the wife of King Minos of Crete. Aeetes & Asterodia - Apsyrtus, Aeetes & Idyia - Chalciope, Aeetes & Hecate - Circe and Medea.

Alexa R (author) on November 12, 2018:

Hi Ivan! Thank you for your comment! I find your explanations very useful. As you know, mythology is a fluid territory and unfortunately one can never say what really happened and if it actually happened at all. Please enjoy my article form the sources I've studied and I can't wait to read yours in return!

Ivan on November 12, 2018:

Learn mythology, my friend ! Based on Greek and Roman historians or on religious practice, not on theater plays.(like Euripides – Medea). The story of Jason and Medea is very complex and has many different elements. e.g: In the original story, Medea was the Queen of Corinth. Euripides’ inventions: 1.This deliberate murder of her children by Medea to be Euripides’ invention. 2. No suggestion in evidence that Jason leaves Medea for another woman before the Medea (by Euripides). Because of these inventions and disgraces of the legendary hero Jason and his wife queen Medea, it is believed Euripides died by being ripped apart by a pack of wild Macedonian dogs (or a pack of red-eyed hellhounds). Later writers represent Jason as having in the end become reconciled to Medea, as having returned with her to Colchis, and as having there restored Aeëtes to his kingdom, of which he had been deprived. Medea was honoured as a goddess at Corinth, and was said to have become the wife of Achilles in the Elysian fields.

threekeys on March 04, 2018:

Its a interesting book. You wonder how they did it. TlHow Culper and others observed such detail and connected the dots.

The way the health system is everyone may just need to go back to knowing their herbs etc in trying to heal themselves preventively cause healthcare costs are/will be too unfordable

Alexa R (author) on March 04, 2018:

Hello Charmaine,

Herbalism is an interesting magical school and is also very tangible, appliable to everyday life. It's one of my favorite arts. Esthetical and useful. I am going to look for that book myself. :)

threekeys on March 03, 2018:

Enjoyed reading about Circe, Alexa.

When you mentioned "herbalism" and "transformation" my mind travelled to JK Rowland's interview where she said the plant and herbal information she found about her Mandrake figures in Harry Potter, came from the Culper's 1600's Herbalism book, which I have also.

Maybe its time to pick up this book again?

Interesting read, Alexa.