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MEDEA

Real Name: Medea

Occupation: Monarch, Sorceress, Priestess of Hecate

Legal Status: Citizen of Colchis

Identity: The general populace of Earth is unaware of Medea’s existence except as a figure of mythological origin.

Other Aliases: Circe

Place of Birth: Aea, Colchis (now part of the modern Georgian Republic of the USSR)

Marital Status: Divorced

Known Relatives: Aeetes (father, deceased), Eidiya (mother, deceased), Aloeus (uncle, deceased), Absyrtus, Perses (brothers, deceased), Chalciope (sister, deceased), Circe (aunt), Helios (grandfather), Jason (former husband), Mermerus, Pheres, Thessalus, Medus (sons, deceased), Eriopis (daughter, deceased), Aeson (father-in-law, deceased),

Group Affiliations: ally of the Argonauts

Base of Operations: Mobile, formerly Colchis

First Appearance: (historical) "Jason and the Argonauts" (1963), (recent) Wonder Woman I #305

History: Medea was born in the Thirteenth Century BC, the daughter of King Aeetes of Colchis and Eidyia, a priestess of the goddess Hecate, the patron goddess of Colchis. Though born in Corinth in Greece, Aeetes had conquered the Colchians, believing he had been given divine right to rule the city through his father, Helios, the Olympian god of the sun. Hecate was schooled in the mystical arts by the goddess Circe, but turned against her to worship the goddess, Hecate, for the more seductive preachings of the dark arts, already exacerbating the hostility between the two goddesses. (In later myths, Medea was erroneously called a daughter of Hecate.) 

In Greece, Hera, the Queen of the Gods of Olympus, had an implacable hatred of Pelias, King of Iolcus, who had refused to honor her as a patron goddess. Unable to directly bring the king to heel by herself, Hera devised a complicated scheme to lure Medea to Greece to destroy him. One of her loyal priestesses had invoked her to protect Jason, the true heir to the throne of Iolcus, and Hera arranged for the adult Jason to arrange an expedition to Colchis for the purpose of fetching the Golden Fleece. With the help of Aphrodite, Hera caused Medea to fall hopelessly in love with Jason and to defy her father in helping him retrieve the fleece. Using her sorcery, she lulled the dragon guardian of the fleece to sleep that Jason could obtain it and departed Colchis with the Argonauts. Driven by her infatuation for Jason, she committed a final outrage to her people by slaying her own brother, Absyrtus, and tossed the pieces of his flayed corpse to the ocean as she fled so that her father would have to take the time to retrieve them.

On the homeward journey, Medea had to be purified and absolved of the murder of her brother, and convinced the Argonauts to take her to Aeaea by Circe, but upon hearing the details of her niece's malice, she refused rules of hospitality upon Jason and his crew and sent them away. Jason and Medea were hastily married on the Phaeacian island of Drepane, and she further helped him with her sorcery against the bronze giant Talos and to depose Pelias from the throne of Iolcus. In order for Jason to conquer Iolcus without a battle, thus fulfilling Hera's whims. With the Argonauts anchored in another port, she traveled overland to Iolcus with Jason and mystically restored Jason's aged father, Aeson, in exile, to his prime using herbs and potions. Medea then entered Iolcus disguised as an old crone and carrying a hollow wooden statue of the goddess Artemis. When the daughters of Pelias heard Aeson was young again, they implored Medea for her secrets. Concealing herself in the hollow statue and emerging in her true youthful guise, she convinced them of her power and instructed them to chop their father to bits within a scalding bath. When they proved reluctant to do so, Medea carved up a lamb and tossed it into cauldron of hot water, later pulling forth the restored lamb. When the daughters attempted the spell, they discovered to their horror that their father failed to emerge alive, and the Argonauts rushed in and claimed Iolcus.

Jason left Iolcus to his worthy cousin, Acastus, when the Thessalians refused to accept Medea as Queen, and they emigrated to Corinth. Hera had lost interest in Jason and Medea after Pelias's death, and she laid claim to Corinth after the death of her Uncle Aloeus for Jason. They lived happily for ten years and she bore him several sons, Mermerus, Pheres, Thessalus, and a daughter, Eriopis. Their lives, however, turned grim as Medea became something of an embarrassment to him. By Greek custom, Jason's sons by Medea could not be considered citizens since she was Colchian by birth and her link to the throne of Colchis tenuous at best. Furthermore, Medea had killed two of her three sons by trying to make them immortal. In order that Jason would have an heir, King Creon of Thebes, gave him his daughter, Glauce, as a bride. Jason divorced Medea to marry Glauce, but Medea turned vengeful and sent a bridal gown to Glauce that burst into flame and took her life. Jason ordered his supporters to bring Medea to him, but she escaped in a flaming chariot. Angry at Jason for bringing Medea to Greece, the people of Corinth took the throne from him and he died in poverty.

Medea meanwhile fled to Athens, stopping en route in Thebes to gain the favor of Hercules who spurned her. In Athens, she became the lover of King Aegeus, who she had bequeathed a promise of asylum from her enemies. She conceived him an heir named Medus, but when Theseus, Aegeus's true heir arrived in Athens, she conspired to kill him, but Aegeus protected him. She then had Aegeus sent Theseus to slay the Bull of Marathon, fully expecting the bull to kill the young hero for her, but Theseus succeeded in slaying it. Aegeus exiled Medea for her treachery afterward, and she departed taking Medus with her.

Medea now intended to reclaim Colchis for herself but took the island of Absoros as her base, mystically ridding the island of snakes in the process. She sent Medus to Colchis to discover what had happened in her absence, but despite his disguise, the youth was imprisoned by Medea's brother, Perses, who had inherited the throne in her father's death. To gain the release of her son, Medea created a spell to create a drought to the land, later disguising herself as a priestess of Artemis. Claiming that Medus was behind the drought, she tricked Perses in releasing her son and then sent her son to kill her brother. Medea served as ruler of Colchis afterward and Medus conquered the land he called Media. Although Medus claimed rule of the area afterward, Medea succeeded him after gaining long-life enchantments. Colchis remained an independent republic until 1000 BC when it was conquered by Mithridates VI Eupator of Pontus. Afterward, it fell to the Romans and became part of the Byzantine Empire conquered by the Ottoman Turks.

Medea departed Colchis after the Roman invasion and later settled somewhere in the Aegean. She began to hate and despise the Gods of Olympus, blaming them for her misfortunes and ill luck, and vowed to destroy them. Although mortal man outgrew a need for gods, Medea continued her resentment and delved deep into the occult arts trying to learn as much as she could, learning from Hecate to become as powerful as she could become, supposedly exchanging life forces art part of their eternal pact. Hecate may have stolen Circe's secrets and Medea used them to create nearly-human beings out of animals called Animorphs. At some point, it is believed she might have started impersonating her hated aunt Circe, becoming the modern sorceress behind that name. She learned about the existence of Wonder Woman, a favored mortal champion of the Olympian gods, and lured the star-spangled Amazon to her island to destroy her. Since this Circe claimed to Wonder Woman to have been a princess of Colchis, it supports the theory that this Circe is actually Medea. Circe expected to sacrifice Wonder Woman for her life force to seal her pact to Hecate but was defeated and dispatched to Tartarus by Hermes himself.

Recognizing Wonder Woman as her eternal enemy, Circe managed to escape Tartarus under her own power, striving to strike out at all the gods of earth, by lashing out at Gaea, Mother Earth herself. She delved into a highly convoluted scheme involving doppelgangers of the Olympian Gods who had survived the annihilation of their alternate earth during the Crisis of Infinite Earths and manipulating the gods of other pantheons such as Thor, Quetzalcoatl and Shango into breaking their links with earth. In the course of her plan, Circe had to hesitantly ally herself with Discord, Deimos and Phobos, but they were confronted by Wonder Woman leading the known heroes of and gods of earth upon her. Circe did not count on Gaea being linked to the rich fertile biosphere of the earth, and was defeated, exiled once more to Tartarus. 

Height: 5' 11"
Weight: 135 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Black

Unusual Physical Features: Medea's eyes glow red when she is using her powers.

Strength Level: Medea possesses the normal human strength of a woman of her size, height and build who engages in extensive regular exercises.

Known Superhuman Powers: Medea is one of the most powerful sorceresses in Earth's history with the possible exception of Morgan Le Fay herself. Her magical powers are derived from three major sources. As a mortal woman descended from an Olympian God, she possesses innate personal powers to control minds; she also possesses powers all human beings potentially have, such as the ability to engage in astral projection. She also has the ability to manipulate mystical energy, often through spells and enchantments of ancient Wiccan origin, a power she has honed through practice. Finally, she has abilities as a high priestess of the goddess Hecate and can gain considerable power by invoking her name in her spells.

Strictly speaking, Medea has no superhuman powers. Only the ability to manipulate mystical energy lies within a Earth-born sorcerer, not the energy itself. Theoretically, any Earth human being can tap into an infinite amount of mystical energy. However, each person is limited by his own amount of training, discipline, knowledge and enlightenment as to the mystical arts. Medea possesses a greater knowledge and mastery of the arts of magic than most sorcerers on earth. She was born with great potential for sorcery due to her ancestry with the Olympian gods, and she has fulfilled that potential through long years of study and training.  

Not all of Medea's powers have been disclosed. It is known that she can summon and control hellfire, traverse dimensional barriers, animate the dead and restore the youth of living things. She can cast illusions, project mystical bolts of energy, create mystical force fields and remove the spirits from living beings and place them under her control. In her physical form, she can fly and alter her appearance to appear as an aged crone. One of her most notorious spells is bestowing humanoid forms and near-sentient intelligence upon animals, transforming them into beings called Animorphs which are subservient to her whims. This spell seems wholly or partially based on Circe's power to transform men into animals.

Abilities: Medea has great knowledge and expertise in the arcane arts with access to numerous tomes and text of recorded spells as well as countless amulets and talismans of mystical potential.

CLARIFICATIONS:  Medea is not to be confused with:  

Last updated: 02/11/07

 

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