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[28]

They went to Corinth, and lived there happily for ten years, till Creon, king of Corinth, betrothed his daughter Glauce to Jason, who married her and divorced Medea. But she invoked the gods by whom Jason had sworn, and after often upbraiding him with his ingratitude she sent the bride a robe steeped in poison, which when Glauce had put on, she was consumed with fierce fire along with her father, who went to her rescue.1 But Mermerus and Pheres, the children whom Medea had by Jason, she killed, and having got from the Sun a car drawn by winged dragons she fled on it to Athens.2 Another tradition is that on her flight she left behind her children, who were still infants, setting them as suppliants on the altar of Hera of the Height; but the Corinthians removed them and wounded them to death.3

Medea came to Athens, and being there married to Aegeus bore him a son Medus. Afterwards, however, plotting against Theseus, she was driven a fugitive from Athens with her son.4 But he conquered many barbarians and called the whole country under him Media,5 and marching against the Indians he met his death. And Medea came unknown to Colchis, and finding that Aeetes had been deposed by his brother Perses, she killed Perses and restored the kingdom to her father.6


1 See Eur. Med. 1136ff. It is said that in her agony Glauce threw herself into a fountain, which was thenceforth named after her (Paus. 2.2.6). The fountain has been discovered and excavated in recent years. See G. W. Elderkin, “The Fountain of Glauce at Corinth,” American Journal of Archaeology, xiv. (1910), pp. 19-50.

2 In this account of the tragic end of Medea's stay at Corinth our author has followed the Medea of Euripides. Compare Diod. 4.54; Ov. Met. 7.391ff.; Hyginus, Fab. 25. According to Apuleius, Meta. i.10, Medea contrived to burn the king's palace and the king himself in it, as well as his daughter.

3 Compare Paus. 2.3.6; Ael., Var. Hist. v.21; Scholiast on Eur. Med. 9, 264. Down to a comparatively late date the Corinthians used to offer annual sacrifices and perform other rites for the sake of expiating the murder of the children. Seven boys and seven girls, clad in black and with their hair shorn, had to spend a year in the sanctuary of Hera of the Height, where the murder had been perpetrated. These customs fell into desuetude after Corinth was captured by the Romans. See Paus. 2.3.7; Scholiast on Eur. Med. 264; compare Philostratus, Her. xx.24.

4 According to one account, Medea attempted to poison Theseus, but his father dashed the poison cup from his lips. See below, Apollod. E.1.5ff.; Plut. Thes. 12; Diod. 4.55.4-6; Paus. 2.3.8; Scholiast on Hom. Il. xi.741; Eustathius, Comment. on Dionysius Perieg. 1017; Ov. Met. 7.406-424. According to Ovid, the poison which Medea made use of to take off Thesus was aconite.

5 For the etymology, compare Diod. 4.55.5, 7, Diod. 4.56.1; Strab. 11.13.10; Paus. 2.3.8; Eustathius, Comment. on Dionysius Perieg. 1017; Hyginus, Fab. 27.

6 According to others, it was not Medea but her son Medus who killed Perses. See Diod. 4.56.1; Hyginus, Fab. 27. Cicero quotes from an otherwise unknown Latin tragedy some lines in which the deposed Aeetes is represented mourning his forlorn state in an unkingly and unmanly strain (Tusculan. Disput. iii.12.26). The narrative of Hyginus has all the appearance of being derived from a tragedy, perhaps the same tragedy from which Cicero quotes. But that tragedy itself was probably based on a Greek original; for Diodorus Siculus introduces his similar account of the assassination of the usurper with the remark that the history of Medea had been embellished and distorted by the extravagant fancies of the tragedians.

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