ClassicsGreek Mythology

Medea -Sorcery and Madness

I could have included Medea in the list of dark moments, but, honestly, her entire story is so dark that it deserves its own post. Let’s start off with the basics.

Table of Contents

Who is she?

She’s usually described as a witch or sorceress. And, she is. But that’s not all. She’s also partially divine. She’s the granddaughter of Helios. Her exact genealogy is actually kinda complicated and varied by writer, but it’s not directly relevant to her story. She was the princess of Colchis who met Jason when he was journeying for the Golden Fleece. Influenced by Hera and Aphrodite, she fell madly in love with Jason. Madly. Like, seriously, madly. Think ‘yandere’ before the concept existed.

What did she do?

Well, she was a sorceress. And a powerful one. In addition to nocturnal rites to Hecate, she also had a deep and intricate knowledge of herbs. She used that to help Jason get the fleece. Then she left with him. As you can imagine, her father wasn’t pleased. He pursued them. To distract him, Medea cut her brother into pieces and scattered them over the water.

She also indirectly killed King Pelias. His daughters saw how Medea had managed to rejuvenate Aeson, the father of Jason, and wanted her to do the same for their father, King Pelias. Fine. Except that King Pelias had gone back on his promise to give Jason the throne in exchange for the golden fleece. So Medea made a sort of stew/potion and cut up an old ram and tossed it in. A young ram jumped out. His daughters, taking this as proof of it working, did the same with their father. Except he never got back out. And Jason and Medea fled to Corinth.

None of that is what she’s most famous for, though, and it’s not her darkest moment. Though I maintain that Jason is at least partially responsible for that. She cut her own brother into literal pieces. Why did he think she’s react well to being dumped? Not to mention that they’d already had kids. The man was an idiot. But anyway.

Medea wasn’t Greek. Like I mentioned, she was from Colchis. Think ‘Black Sea’. That area. Even though she was a princess (and a ridiculously powerful, semi-divine sorceress…why do people seem to forget that…) she still wasn’t suitable for a prince. So Jason, after 10 years, ditched her for Glauce, the daughter of king Creon. Big mistake.

Medea sent them a gift. It was a dress and crown. That set Glauce on fire when she put it on. And killed Creon when he tried to help. Then she killed the children that she’d had with Jason, and escaped to Athens in a chariot drawn by dragons.
…Yeah. Like I said, her story deserves its own post.

TL;DR


She killed or caused the death of several people, including her own brother and her children, before escaping on a chariot pulled by dragons.

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