Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology/Medeia

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Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology  (1870) 
by Various Authors, edited by William Smith

MEDEIA (Μήδεια), a daughter of Aeëtes by the Oceanid Idyia, or, according to others, by Hecate, the daughter of Perses (Apollod. i. 9 §23; Hes. Theog. 961; Diod. iv. 45). She was the wife of Jason, and the most famous among the mythical sorcerers. The principal parts of her story have already been given under Absyrtus, Argonautae, and Jason. After her flight from Corinth to Athens, she is said to have married king Aegeus (Pint. Thes. 12), or to have been beloved by Sisyphus. (Schol. ad Pind. Ol. xiii. 74.) Zeus himself is said to have sued for her, but in vain, because Medeia dreaded the anger of Hera; and the latter rewarded her by promising immortality to her children. Her children are, according to some accounts, Mermerus, Pheres, or Thessalus, Alcimenes and Tisander, and, according to others, she had seven sons and seven daughters, while others mention only two children, Medus (some call him Polyxemus) and Eriopis, or one son Argus. (Apollod. i. 9. §28; Diod. iv. 54 ; Ptolem. Heph. 2; Schol. ad Eurip. Med. 276.) Respecting her flight from Corinth, there are different traditions. Some say, as we remarked above, that she fled to Athens and married Aegeus, but when it was discovered that she had laid snares for Theseus, she escaped and went to Asia, the inhabitants of which were called after her Medes. (Medi, Paus. ii. 3. §7; Ov. Met. vii. 391, &c.) Others relate that first she fled from Corinth to Heracles at Thebes, who had promised her his assistance while yet in Colchis, in case of Jason being unfaithful to her. She cured Heracles, who was seized with madness, and as he could not afford her the assistance he had promised, she went to Athens. (Diod. iv. 54.) She is said to have given birth to her son Medus after her arrival in Asia, where, after her flight from Athens, she had married a king; whereas others state that her son Medus accompanied her from Athens to Colchis, where her son slew Perses, and restored her father Aeëtes to his kingdom. The restoration of Aeëtes, however, is attributed by some to Jason, who accompanied Medeia to Colchis. (Diod. iv. 54—56; Hygin. Fab. 26; Justin, xlii. 2; Tac. Ann. vi. 34.) There is also a tradition that in Thessaly Medeia entered into a contest with Thetis about her beauty, which was decided by Idomeneus in favour of Thetis (Ptolem. Heph. 5), and another that Medeia went to Italy, and there taught the Marrubians the art of fascinating and subduing serpents, whence she is said to have been called Anguitia or Angitia. (Serv. ad Aen. vii. 750; comp. Angitia.) At length Medeia is said to have become immortal, to have been honoured with divine worship, and to have married Achilles in Elysium. (Schol. ad Eurip. Med. 10, ad Apollon. Rhod. iv. 814; comp. Müller, Orchom. p. 264, 2d edit.)

[L. S.]