Circe

In Greek mythology, the goddess and enchantress Circe was the daughter of the sun god Helios and the nymph Perse.  She lived alone on the remote island Aeaea. In some interpretations of the myth she is imprisoned after turning the nymph Scylla into a monster, but in others she chooses this solitary lifestyle. 

'Circe' - Beatrice Offor, 1911

It was on this island that she learnt to gather and use herbs for magic. With her herbs, potions and a magic wand, she developed the ability to transform people into wolves, lions and other animals, who then shared the island with her. When Odysseus and his crew visited Aeaea on their way to Ithaca during his famous voyage, she turned half his crew into pigs. 
 
 
Odysseus had been given the secret to resist her magic by Hermes. Eventually he convinced her to turn his crew back into men, and he and Circe became lovers. Odysseus stayed with her on the island for a year before carrying on his journey. In one version of myth, she bore Odysseus a son Telegonas, who later accidentally killed him.
 
'Circe and Odysseus' - Allessandro Allori, 1560.

Many artists have been inspired by Circe and her story, and she remains an inspiration for artists and authors today. Madeline Miller's 2018 novel 'Circe' is a wonderful retelling of the myth from Circe's perspective and I would highly recommend it.

'Circe Offering the Cup to Ulysses' - John William Waterhouse
'Circe' - Wright Barker, 1889.

'Circe Invidiosa' - John William Waterhouse, 1892.

'Circe and Odysseus' - Angelica Kauffmann, 1786.

'Circe' - Emile Levy, 1889.

Aeaea, the island of Circe, located south of Rome with the Islands of the Sirens closeby.

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