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Circe was the daughter of the Sun and the sea-nymph Perse, also sister of the King of Colchis, Aeetes and the aunt of Medea. She was somewhat of a magician-sorceress; living alone in her castle on the island of Aeaea where she turned those coming to her door step into animals as they being ignorant what awaited them. According to legend, Odysseus sent a group ahead. Circe met them kindly and gave them magic drink which turned them into wolves, dogs, and other animals. When his companions failed to return, Odysseus went to find them. In the woods Hermes met him and told him the secret of resisting Circe's spells. It was to put a herb known as moly in a drink, give it to the sorceress who then would be at his mercy. While under the herbal influence Odysseus forced Circe at sword point to change his companions back into men. Afterwards he spent time enjoying her company and she bore him a son. When it came time for his departure Circe advised Odysseus to consult the ghost of the seer Teiresias in the land of the Cimmerians. A.G.H.


Grimal, Pierre, Larousse World Mythology, Secaucus, New Jersey, Chartwell Books, 1965, pp. 150, 151, 167

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