Appeasing the Rage of Medea’s Children

CW: Infanticide

Pausanias, Corinthians, 6.6

“Going along the other road from the marketplace in the direction of Sikyon, one can see on the right side a temple and a bronze statue of Apollo and then a bit farther there’s a well called Glauke’s Well. People say Glauke threw herself into the well because she believed that the water would heal Medea’s drugs.

Above the well there is a place called the Odeion next to which is the tomb of Medea’s children. Their names were Mermeros and Pheres and they were allegedly stoned by the Korinthians because of the gifts they carried to Glauke. Because their death was violent and unjust, the Korinthians’ small babies were killed by them until sacrifices and honors were established for Fear at the advice of an oracle. This practice remained into the modern day and a rather frightening icon of the woman was made. But when Korinth was overthrown by the Romans and the Korinthians of old were eliminated.”

Ἑτέραν δὲ ἐκ τῆς ἀγορᾶς τὴν ἐπὶ Σικυῶνα ἐρχομένοις ἔστιν ἰδεῖν ἐν δεξιᾷ τῆς ὁδοῦ ναὸς καὶ ἄγαλμα χαλκοῦν Ἀπόλλωνος καὶ ὀλίγον ἀπωτέρω κρήνη καλουμένη Γλαύκης· ἐς γὰρ ταύτην ἔρριψεν αὑτήν, ὡς λέγουσι, τῶν Μηδείας ἔσεσθαι φαρμάκων τὸ ὕδωρ νομίζουσα ἴαμα. ὑπὲρ ταύτην πεποίηται τὴν κρήνην καὶ τὸ καλούμενον Ὠιδεῖον, παρὰ δὲ αὐτὸ μνῆμά ἐστι τοῖς Μηδείας παισίν· ὀνόματα μέν σφισι Μέρμερος καὶ Φέρης, καταλιθωθῆναι δὲ ὑπὸ Κορινθίων λέγονται τῶν δώρων ἕνεκα ὧν τῇ Γλαύκῃ κομίσαι 

φασὶν αὐτούς· ἅτε δὲ τοῦ θανάτου βιαίου καὶ οὐ σὺν τῷ δικαίῳ γενομένου, τὰ τέκνα Κορινθίων τὰ νήπια ὑπ᾿ αὐτῶν ἐφθείρετο, πρὶν ἢ χρήσαντος τοῦ θεοῦ θυσίαι τε αὐτοῖς ἐπέτειοι κατέστησαν καὶ Δεῖμα ἐπεστάθη. τοῦτο μὲν δὴ καὶ ἐς ἡμᾶς ἔτι λείπεται, γυναικὸς ἐς τὸ φοβερώτερον εἰκὼν πεποιημένη· Κορίνθου δὲ ἀναστάτου γενομένης ὑπὸ Ῥωμαίων καὶ Κορινθίων τῶν ἀρχαίων ἀπολομένων…

Médée (1868) par Henri Klagmann (1842-1871), musée des Beaux-Arts de Nancy.

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