Medea – Enchantress of Greek Mythology
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When we think of Greek Mythology, stories of the gods and goddesses are usually what comes to mind. However, there is so much more to the stories than that! There are other characters who also played a role in some of the takes, and they are absolutely worth learning about. Medea was an enchantress of divine descent and with the gift of prophecy. She is the daughter of King Aetes of Colchis and is a niece of Circe, another well-known Greek sorceress. Here’s more information about her:
Medea and Jason and the Golden Fleece
Medea met Jason, the leader of the Argonauts, when he traveled to Colchis to retrieve the golden fleece from her father. Jason is in need of the golden fleece by order of King Pelias, so that Jason may be restored to his throne in Thessaly. King Aeetes promised Jason the fleece, but only if he could perform certain tasks for him. Jason needed help to perform these tasks and Medea offered her aid and advice as she had fallen in love with him. She promises to help him retrieve the fleece, but only if when he succeeded he would marry her and take her with him.
Medea and the “Impossible Tasks:
King Aeetes asks Jason to first plow a field fire-breathing oxen that he must yoke himself. Medea gifts him with a potion to make their fire harmless to him and he is able to plow the field. Next, the King asked him to sow the teeth of a dragon into the newly plowed field. Medea had warned Jason though, that once the teeth had all been sown, an army would grow from them and try to attack him. Medea advised Jason to throw a rock in their midst which confused the soldiers and prompted them to attack and kill one another, leaving Jason to survive the second task. Lastly, the King made Jason fight and kill the dragon that guarded the golden fleece. Medea gave the dragon a potion to make him sleep and Jason was able to steal the fleece from it safely.
Medea Leaves Colchis
With the completion of the three tasks from King Aeetes, Jason upheld his promise to Medea and wanted her to leave with him. King Aeetes did not want that and Medea was forced to kill her brother Absyrtus to distract her father as she fled with Jason and the fleece. There are versions of the myth that believe Medea was not truly in love with Jason and that instead she had been forced to fall in love with him by Aphrodite or Eros. Hera convinced them to do this so that Medea would help Jason; she was his only chance at being able to complete the tasks and retrieving the golden fleece.
Medea’s Feats of Magic
Medea, after leaving Colchis, traveled with Jason and performed feats of magic and sorcery, sometimes for her gain and sometimes for others. She healed Jason’s father Aeson when he was sick but then used magic to convince King Pelias’ daughters to kill him. She healed Heracles (Hercules) from a curse and he offered her shelter in Thebes in return. Medea became known as an accomplished sorceress and traveled much with Jason and then again with her second husband, Aegeus.
As you can see, Medea has a place in some of the Greek mythological stories, particular with the hero, Jason. She was a powerful sorceress who was also looked at as a healer. She is depicted as a powerful woman whose magic changed the tide in many of the tales that involve her.
Categorized in: Greek Mythology
This post was written by GreekBoston.com