Back to another Women's Wednesday! This time we will be focusing on Medea, surely one of the most famous women in Greek mythology, and also the protagonist of the tragedy of the same name written by Euripides.

Medea is described as a beautiful, cunning sorceress, her name meaning "pondering", "planning", or "sly". She lived in Colchis at the time Jason and his Argonauts arrived on their search of the Golden Fleece: struck by the hero, Medea promised to help him in his tasks on the condition that, if he succeeded, they would have married. The sorceress thus played a key role in the retrieval of the Golden Fleece, repeatedly using her arts in order to help Jason. When he finally took the Fleece, Jason kept his promise and set sail with Medea by his side. In order to distract her father from her escape, Medea had no hesitation in killing her own brother and dismember him, so that her father would have to retrieve all the parts of his body for burial.

Medea and Jason arrived in Corinth, where they were married for a decade and had several children. Jason, however, ended up abandoning his wife for the king's daughter, Glauce. Medea, blinded by rage, decided to take revenge by killing her own children so that Jason would have no offspring. Not content, she resolved in sending a poisoned dress to Glauce: as soon as the princess wore the gift, the poison caught fire and caused Glauce and the king to burn to death, along with the whole royal palace.

“Medea”, illumination from the manuscript “Des cleres et nobles femmes”, ms. Royal 20 C V, f. 16r, 1st quarter of the 15th century, British Library, London.

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