Seneca the Younger, Medea

LCL 62: 304-305

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MEDEA

INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND

Medea, daughter of King Aeetes, grew up in the remote kingdom of Colchis, well versed in her country’s magic lore. When Jason arrived with the Argonauts in quest of the kingdom’s treasure, the Golden Fleece, Medea fell in love with him. She employed her magic skills to help him accomplish the trials set by Aeetes, including the yoking of a fire-breathing bull to the plow, and to overcome the ever wakeful serpent that guarded the Fleece. To slow down her father’s pursuit as she escaped with Jason and the Fleece on the Argo, she killed and dismembered her brother Absyrtus and scattered his limbs on the sea.

After the Argo returned safely to Jason’s hometown of Iolcos, Medea brought about the murder of his evil uncle Pelias by trickery. Forced as a result to flee once more, Medea and Jason settled in Corinth and had two sons. But now they are under threat from the army of Acastus, Pelias’ son, who seeks to avenge his father. Jason has undertaken, in the interests of securing royal protection, to marry Creusa, daughter of the king of Corinth, Creon. But Medea regards this as an act of betrayal and is enraged by it.

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.seneca_younger-medea.2018