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date: 08 December 2022


, figure of Greek mythology


, figure of Greek mythology
  • Richard Hunter


Medea, in mythology, granddaughter of *Helios, and daughter of Aeëtes, king of Colchian Aia (see Colchis), and his wife Eidyia; ancient writers frequently associate her name (perhaps rightly) with μήδεσθαι, ‘to devise’, and she became the archetypal example of the scheming, *barbarian woman. Already in our earliest testimony, Hesiod'sTheogony, she is associated with the completion of *Jason(1)'s challenges in Aia in his quest for the golden fleece, and leaves Aia with him to live in *Iolcus (vv. 992–1002), but her mastery of drugs and potions, a skill she shares with her aunt *Circe, is not mentioned. This passage appears in a catalogue of goddesses who slept with mortal men, and Medea was clearly always conceived as a divine being (cf. Pind.Pyth. 4. 11; West on Hes.Theog.992). In one Archaic legend she married *Achilles in the Elysian Fields (see Elysium) after the hero's death (Ap.


  • Greek Myth and Religion

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