Medea  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In Greek mythology, Medea was the daughter of King Aeëtes of 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 of Corinth, 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 new Bronze Age Greek ways.

Medea figures in the myth of Jason and the Argonauts, a myth known best from a late literary version worked up by Apollonius 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

Medea in popular culture

Greek mythology in popular culture

The dramatic episodes in which Medea plays a role have ensured that she remains vividly represented in popular culture.

Primary sources

Cicero In the court case Pro Caelio, the name Medea is referenced at least five times, as a way to make fun of Clodia, sister of P. Clodius Pulcher, the man who exiled Cicero.

Heroides XII
Metamorphoses VII, 1-450
Tristia iii.9

Translations

  • G.Theodoridis. Full Text. Prose: [1]

Secondary material

Related Literature

Cinema and television

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Medea" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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