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Medea

Medea

In Greek mythology, an enchantress and daughter of the king of Colchis who fell in love with Jason when he came to that country. Medea enabled him to slay the sleepless dragon that guarded the golden fleece. She fled from Colchis with Jason, who made her his wife, and from whom she exacted a pledge never to love another woman. They were pursued by her father, but she delayed the pursuit by the cruel expedient of cutting her brother Absyrtus to pieces and strewing his limbs in the sea.

Medea accompanied Jason to Greece, where she was regarded as a barbarian. Having conciliated King Peleus, who was now a very old man, she induced him to try to regain youth by bathing in a magic cauldron she had prepared. So great was his faith in her powers that the old man unhesitatingly plunged into her cauldron and was boiled alive. Her reason for this act of cruelty was to hasten Jason's succession to the throne. In due course, Jason would have succeeded Peleus, but now the Greeks would have none of either him or Medea, and he was forced to leave Iolcos.

Growing tired of the formidable enchantress to whom he had bound himself, Jason sought to contract an alliance with Glauce, a young princess. Concealing her real intentions, Medea pretended friendship with the bride-elect and sent her as a wedding present a garment, which as soon as Glauce put it on, caused her to die in the greatest agony.

Eventually Medea parted from Jason. Having murdered her two children by him, she fled from Corinth in a car drawn by dragons to Athens, where she married Argeus, by whom she had a son, Medus. But the discovery of an attempt on the life of Theseus forced her to leave Athens. Accompanied by her son, she returned to Colchis and restored her father to the throne, of which he had been deprived by his own brother Perses.

Much literature has been written about the character of Medea. Euripides, Ennius, Aeschylus, and later Pierre Corneille made her the theme of tragedies.

Sources:

Kingsley, Charles. The Heroes. 1856. Reprint, New York: Dutton, 1963.

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Medea

Medea

In Greek mythology, Medea was an enchantress and witch who used her magic powers to help Jason* and the Argonauts in their quest for the Golden Fleece*. Later, after Jason betrayed her, she used her witchcraft to take revenge.

The daughter of Aeëtes, king of Colchis, Medea first saw Jason when he arrived at the king's palace to request the Golden Fleece. According to some accounts, Hera, queen of the gods, persuaded Aphrodite, the goddess of love, to make Medea fall in love with the young hero.

Aeëtes had no intention of handing over the Golden Fleece but pretended that he would do so if Jason successfully performed a series of tasks. He was to yoke fire-breathing bulls to a plow, sow a field with dragons' teeth, and then fight the armed warriors who grew from those teeth. In return for his promise to marry her, Medea gave Jason a magic ointment to protect him from the bulls' fiery breath and told him how to confuse the warriors so that they would fight among themselves. Following Medea's instructions, Jason completed the tasks he had been set.

Aeëtes promised to hand over the Golden Fleece, but Medea knew that he would not keep his word. She led Jason and the musician Orpheus* into the sacred grove where the fleece was kept, guarded by a vicious serpent. Orpheus sang the serpent to sleep, enabling Jason to escape with the fleece. Medea then joined Jason and the Argonauts as they set sail in the Argo, pursued by her brother Apsyrtus. When Apsyrtus caught up with them, he promised to let Jason keep the Golden Fleece if he would give up Medea. Jason refused and killed Apsyrtus.

Eventually the Argonauts arrived back at Iolcus, which was ruled by Jason's uncle Pelias. Pelias had gained the throne by killing Jason's father, King Aeson. Medea brought Aeson back to life by boiling his remains in a pot with magical herbs. In this way, she tricked Pelias's daughters into thinking that they could restore their father to youth by cutting him up and boiling him in a pot. Pelias died a gruesome death, and the furious inhabitants of Iolcus drove out Medea and Jason.

The couple married and settled in Corinth, where they raised several children. Their happy days ended when Creon, the king of Corinth, offered Jason his daughter Glauce in marriage. Anxious to please the king, Jason abandoned Medea and prepared to marry Glauce. Medea took her revenge by sending Glauce a poisoned wedding gown that burned her alive. By some accounts, before fleeing to Athens, she also killed the children she had borne to Jason.

Aegeus, the king of Athens, agreed to protect Medea if she married him and bore him children. They produced a son, Medus (or Medeius), who stood to inherit the throne. However, Aegeus was unaware that he already had a son, Theseus, from a previous marriage. When Theseus came to Athens to claim the throne, Medea recognized him, persuaded Aegeus that Theseus planned to kill him, and prepared a cup of poisoned wine for the young man. Just as Theseus was about to drink the wine, Aegeus recognized the sword that Theseus carried, realized that Theseus was his son, and knocked the cup from the young man's hand. By some accounts, Medea then fled to a region in Asia that came to be known as Media in her honor and whose inhabitants became known as Medes.

See also Argonauts; Golden Fleece; Jason; Theseus.

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Medea

Medea (mĬdē´ə), in Greek mythology, princess of Colchis, skilled in magic and sorcery. She fell in love with Jason and helped him, against the will of her father, Aeëtes, to obtain the Golden Fleece. When Jason left Colchis, she fled with him and lived as his wife for many years, bearing him two children. Jason later wished to marry Creusa, daughter of King Creon of Corinth, but Medea sent her an enchanted wedding gown that burned her to death. Medea then completed her revenge by killing her own two children; in another version of the legend the angered citizens of Corinth stoned them to death. Afterward, Medea fled to Athens, where she married King Aegeus.

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"Medea." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Medea

Medea in Greek mythology, princess of Colchis and a sorceress, traditionally with a knowledge of poisons. She helped Jason to obtain the Golden Fleece from her father Aeetes, and married him; assisting the Argonauts to escape from Colchis, she murdered her younger brother. When Jason deserted her for Creusa, the daughter of King Creon of Corinth, she took revenge by killing Creon, Creusa, and her own children, and fled to Athens. She is taken as the type of a vengeful and ruthless woman.

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"Medea." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Medea." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved December 17, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/medea

Medea

Medea Daughter of Aeëtes, King of Colchis, whom she defied to help Jason retrieve the Golden Fleece. Renowned as a sorceress, she lived with Jason for many years in Corinth but fled to Athens after his desertion of her caused her to murder their children, and his new wife, in a jealous rage.

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"Medea." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Medea

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