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Circe
Statue - Circé - (1684-1686) - MR 2036 - Laurent Magnier - (1615-1700) - Parterre de Latone - Versailles - P1610939

Real Name

Circe

First Appearance

Ancient Greece

Created by

Greek Folklore

Origin

Circe is a goddess of magic (or sometimes a nymph, witch, enchantress, or sorceress) in Greek mythology. By most accounts, she was the daughter of the sun god, Helios, and Perse, one of the three thousand Oceanid nymphs. Her brothers were Aeetes, keeper of the Golden Fleece, and Perses. Her sister was Pasiphaë, the wife of King Minos and mother of the Minotaur. Other accounts make her the daughter of Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft. She was often confused with Calypso, due to her shifts in behavior and personality, and the association that both of them had with Odysseus.

Circe was renowned for her vast knowledge of potions and herbs. Through the use of these and a magic wand or staff, she transformed her enemies, or those who offended her, into wild beasts. Some say she was exiled to the solitary island of Aeaea by her subjects and her father Helios for killing her husband, the prince of Colchis. Later traditions tell of her leaving or even destroying the island and moving to Italy, where she was identified with Cape Circeo.

Notes

  • In botany, the Circaea are plants belonging to the enchanter's nightshade genus. The name was given by botanists in the late 16th century in the belief that this was the herb used by Circe to charm Odysseus' companions.
  • There are a variety of chess variants named Circe in which captured pieces are reborn on their starting positions. The rules for this were formulated in 1968.

See Also