CIRCE

ΚΙΡΚΗ

A mythical sorceress, whom Homer calls a fair-locked goddess, a daughter of Helios by the Oceanid Perse, and a sister of Aeëtes. (Od. x. 135.) She lived in the island of Aeaea; and when Odysseus on his wanderings came to her island, Circe, after having changed several of his companions into pigs, became so much attached to the unfortunate hero, that he was induced to remain a whole year with her. At length, when he wished to leave her, she prevailed upon him to descend into the lower world to consult the seer Teiresias. After his return from thence, she explained to him the dangers which he would yet have to encounter, and then dismissed him. (Od. lib. x.--xii.; comp. Hygin. Fab. 125.) Her descent is differently described by the poets, for some call her a daughter of Hyperion and Aerope (Orph. Argon. 1215), and others a daughter of Aeëtes and Hecate. (Schol. ad Apollon. Rhod. iii. 200.) According to Hesiod (Theog. 1011) she became by Odysseus the mother of Agrius. The Latin poets too make great use of the story of Circe, the sorceress, who metamorphosed Scylla and Picus, king of the Ausonians. (Ov. Met. xiv. 9, &c.)

Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses, by John William Waterhouse (1849-1917)

Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses, by John William Waterhouse (1849-1917)