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MEDEA
Form: Gr. Medeia.

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The daughter of Aeetes of Colchis and of Idyia; skilled in witchcraft. For the legend of her being carried off by Jason, and how she revenged his perfidy at Corinth, see ARGONAUTS. From Corinth she fled to Athens, married king Aegeus, the father of Theseus, and had a son Medus by him. But she was again compelled to fly with her son, as she had plotted against the life of Theseus. She came to Colchis without being recognised, and there found her father deprived of the kingship by his brother Perses. She killed the latter, and restored Aeetes to the throne. According to a later legend, Medus comes to Colchis to seek his mother, and is imprisoned by Perses, before whom he alleges that he is Hippotes, son of Creon of Corinth. Then Medea appears on a chariot drawn by serpents, and under pretence of being a priestess of Artemis promises to deliver the country from the barrenness that is oppressing it, on condition the supposed son of her mortal enemy is given into her power. When this is done, she recognises her son, who with her aid kills Perses and takes possession of his grandfather's realm. The Greeks looked on Me'dus as the progenitor of the Medes. According to one legend, Medea became the wife of Achilles in Elysium, as did Helen according to another. At Corinth she was deemed immortal, and regarded as a benefactress of the city, which she was alleged to have delivered from a famine. Elsewhere, she was merely regarded as an ancient queen. Her seven sons and seven daughters were killed by Corinthian women at the altar of Hera, on account of which a pestilence ravaged the town, and an oracular decree ordained that an annual expiatory offering should be made. This was observed until the destruction of the town.
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