The Children of Medea

Pausanias II. 3:


[6] As you go along another road from the market-place, which leads to Sicyon, you can see on the right of the road a temple and bronze image of Apollo, and a little farther on a well called the Well of Glauce. Into this they say she threw herself in the belief that the water would be a cure for the drugs of Medea. Above this well has been built what is called the Odeum (Music Hall), beside which is the tomb of Medea's children. Their names were Mermerus and Pheres, and they are said to have been stoned to death by the Corinthians owing to the gifts which legend says they brought to Glauce.

[7] But as their death was violent and illegal, the young babies of the Corinthians were destroyed by them until, at the command of the oracle, yearly sacrifices were established in their honor and a figure of Terror was set up. This figure still exists, being the likeness of a woman frightful to look upon but after Corinth was laid waste by the Romans and the old Corinthians were wiped out, the new settlers broke the custom of offering those sacrifices to the sons of Medea, nor do their children cut their hair for them or wear black clothes.

[8] On the occasion referred to Medea went to Athens and married Aegeus, but subsequently she was detected plotting against Theseus and fled from Athens also; coming to the land then called Aria she caused its inhabitants to be named after her Medes. The son, whom she brought with her in her flight to the Arii, they say she had by Aegeus, and that his name was Medus. Hellanicus,however, calls him Polyxenus and says that his father was Jason. [Ariana is a geographical area in central Asia; this is mythological ethnography, trying to make the peoples of northern Iran and the area around the Aral Sea related to the people of Colchis.]]

[9] The Greeks have an epic poem called Naupactia. In this Jason is represented as having removed his home after the death of Pelias from Iolcus to Corcyra, and Mermerus, the elder of his children, to have been killed by a lioness while hunting on the mainland opposite. Of Pheres is recorded nothing. But Cinaethon of Lacedaemon, another writer of pedigrees in verse, said that Jason's children by Medea were a son Medeus and a daughter Eriopis; he too, however, gives no further information about these children.

[10] Eumelus said that Helius (Sun) gave the Asopian land to Aloeus and Epliyraea to Aeetes. When Aeetes was departing for Colchis he entrusted his land to Bunus, the son of Hermes and Alcidamea, and when Bunus died Epopeus the son of Aloeus extended his kingdom to include the Ephyraeans. Afterwards, when Corinthus, the son of Marathon, died childless, the Corinthians sent for Medea from Iolcus and bestowed upon her the kingdom.



May 22, 2009 12:32 PM

John Paul Adams, CSUN

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