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This article is about the Greek mythological figure. For other uses, see Medea (disambiguation).
Medea by Evelyn De Morgan.
In Greek mythology, Medea (Greek: Μήδεια, Mēdeia, Georgian: მედეა, Medea) was the daughter of King Aeëtesof Colchis, niece of Circe, granddaughter of the sun god Helios, and later wife to the hero Jason, with whom she had two children, Mermeros and Pheres. In Euripides's play Medea, Jason leaves Medea when Creon, king ofCorinth, offers him his daughter, Glauce. The play tells about how Medea avenges her husband's betrayal. The myths involving Jason have been interpreted by specialists as part of a class of myths that tell how the Hellenes of the distant heroic age, before the Trojan War, faced the challenges of the pre-Greek "Pelasgian" cultures of mainland Greece, the Aegean and Anatolia. Jason, Perseus, Theseus, and above all Heracles, are all "liminal" figures, poised on the threshold between the old world of shamans, chthonic earth deities, and the newBronze Age Greek ways. Medea figures in the myth of Jason and the Argonauts, a myth known best from a late literary version worked up byApollonius of Rhodes in the 3rd century BC and called the Argonautica. However, for all its self-consciousness and researched archaic vocabulary, the late epic was based on very old, scattered materials. Medea is known in most stories as an enchantress and is often depicted as being a priestess of the goddess Hecate or a witch. The myth of Jason and Medea is very old, originally written around the time Hesiod wrote the Theogony. It was known to the composer of the Little Iliad, part of the Epic Cycle. Contents [hide] * 1 Jason and Medea * 1.1 Many endings * 2 Personae of Medea * 3 Cultural depictions of Medea * 3.1 Literature * 3.1.1 Primary sources * 3.1.2 Secondary material * 3.1.3 Related literature * 3.2 Music * 3.3 Cinema and television * 4 See also * 5 Notes * 6 References
Jason and Medea
Medea by Anthony Frederick Augustus Sandys (painted 1866-68); its rejection for exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1868 caused a storm of protest Medea's role began after Jason arrived from Iolcus to Colchis, to claim his inheritance and throne by retrieving theGolden Fleece. In the most complete surviving account, the Argonautica of Apollonius, Medea fell in love with him and promised to help him, but only on the condition that if he succeeded, he would take her with him and marry her. Jason agreed. In a familiar mythic motif, Aeëtes promised to give him the fleece, but only if he could perform certain tasks. First, Jason had to plough a field with fire-breathing oxen that he had to yoke himself. Medea gave him an unguent with which to anoint himself and his weapons, to protect him from the bulls' fiery breath. Then, Jason had to sow the teeth of a dragon in the ploughed field (compare the myth of Cadmus). The teeth sprouted into an army of warriors. Jason was forewarned by Medea, however, and knew to throw a rock into the crowd. Unable to determine where the rock had come from, the soldiers attacked and killed each other. Finally, Aeëtes made Jason fight and kill the sleepless dragon that guarded the fleece. Medea put the beast to sleep with hernarcotic herbs. Jason then took the fleece and sailed away with Medea, as he had promised. Apollonius says that Medea only helped Jason in the first place because Hera had convinced Aphrodite or Eros to cause Medea to fall in love with him. Medea distracted her father as they fled by killing her brother Absyrtus. In some versions, Medea is said to have dismembered his body and scattered his parts on an island, knowing her father would stop to retrieve them for proper burial; in other versions, it is Absyrtus himself who pursued them, and was killed by...
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