Rejuvenate This: Medea’s Marvelous Magic

The typical tale of Medea has her trick the daughter’s of Pelias–the man who deprived Jason of a kingdom–into killing their father. She cuts and boils an old goat, mixes in some drugs, and a young goat emerges. The daughters of wicked Pelias try to do the same as a surprise for their father. And, surprise, they get daddy stew.

The scholia to Euripides’ Medea record other traditions where Medea uses her magic.

Schol ad Eur. Med. Arg. 10-22

“Pherekudês reports that Mêdeia made Jason young again by boiling him. The poet of the Nostoi says about his father Aisôn:

[She] quickly made Aison a dear young man
After wiping away old age with her clever plans
By boiling him with many drugs in a golden container.

Aiskyulos in his Nurses of Dionysos recounts that she also remade Dionysos’ nurses along with their husbands by boiling them. Staphulos says that Jason was killed in a certain way by Medea. For, he says, she told him to lie beneath the prow of the Argo because the ship was about to fall apart because of time. When the prow fell upon him, Jason died.”

Φερεκύδης [frg. 74] δὲ καὶ Σιμωνίδης [frg. 204] φασὶν ὡς ἡ Μήδεια ἀνεψήσασα τὸν ᾿Ιάσονα νέον ποιήσειε. περὶ δὲ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ Αἴσονος ὁ τοὺς Νόστους ποιήσας φησὶν οὕτως [frg. 6]·

αὐτίκα δ’ Αἴσονα θῆκε φίλον κόρον ἡβώοντα
γῆρας ἀποξύσασ’ εἰδυίῃσι πραπίδεσσι
φάρμακα πόλλ’ ἕψουσ’ ἐπὶ χρυσείοισι λέβησιν.

Αἰσχύλος δ’ ἐν ταῖς Διονύσου τροφοῖς [frg. 50] ἱστορεῖ ὅτι καὶ τὰς Διονύσου τροφοὺς μετὰ τῶν ἀνδρῶν αὐτῶν ἀνεψήσασα ἐνεοποίησε. Στάφυλος [frg. 5] δέ φησι τὸν ᾿Ιάσονα τρόπον τινὰ ὑπὸ τῆς Μηδείας ἀναιρεθῆναι. ἐγκελεύσασθαι γὰρ αὐτὴν οὕτως ὑπὸ τῇ πρύμνῃ τῆς ᾿Αργοῦς αὐτὸν κατακοιμηθῆναι μελλούσης τῆς νεὼς διαλύεσθαι ὑπὸ τοῦ χρόνου. ἐπιπεσούσης γοῦν τῆς πρύμνης τῷ ᾿Ιάσονι τελευτῆσαι αὐτόν

Pottery: black-figured hydria (water-jar): Medea, Pelias and Peliad (shoulder: men and women with goat).

A hydria in the British Museum

One thought on “Rejuvenate This: Medea’s Marvelous Magic

  1. Pingback: Medea’s Magic Was Really a Spa Treatment | SENTENTIAE ANTIQUAE

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