In Greek mythology, an enchantress and daughter of the
king of Colchis who fell in love with Jason when he came to that
country. Medea enabled him to slay the sleepless dragon that
guarded the golden fleece. She fled from Colchis with Jason,
who made her his wife, and from whom she exacted a pledge
never to love another woman. They were pursued by her father,
but she delayed the pursuit by the cruel expedient of cutting
her brother Absyrtus to pieces and strewing his limbs in the sea.
Medea accompanied Jason to Greece, where she was regarded
as a barbarian. Having conciliated King Peleus, who was
now a very old man, she induced him to try to regain youth by
bathing in a magic cauldron she had prepared. So great was his
faith in her powers that the old man unhesitatingly plunged
into her cauldron and was boiled alive. Her reason for this act
of cruelty was to hasten Jason’s succession to the throne. In due
course, Jason would have succeeded Peleus, but now the Greeks
would have none of either him or Medea, and he was forced to
leave Iolcos.
Growing tired of the formidable enchantress to whom he
had bound himself, Jason sought to contract an alliance with
Glauce, a young princess. Concealing her real intentions,
Medea pretended friendship with the bride-elect and sent her
as a wedding present a garment, which as soon as Glauce put
it on, caused her to die in the greatest agony.
Eventually Medea parted from Jason. Having murdered her
two children by him, she fled from Corinth in a car drawn by
dragons to Athens, where she married Argeus, by whom she
had a son, Medus. But the discovery of an attempt on the life
of Theseus forced her to leave Athens. Accompanied by her
son, she returned to Colchis and restored her father to the
throne, of which he had been deprived by his own brother
Much literature has been written about the character of
Medea. Euripides, Ennius, Aeschylus, and later Pierre Corneille
made her the theme of tragedies.
Kingsley, Charles. The Heroes. 1856. Reprint, New York
Dutton, 1963.

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