Necklace of Harmonia

The Necklace of Harmonia was a fabled object in Greek mythology that, according to legend, brought great misfortune to all of its wearers or owners, who were primarily queens and princesses of the ill-fated House of Thebes.


Hephaestus, blacksmith of the Olympian gods, discovered his wife, Aphrodite, goddess of love, having a sexual affair with Ares, the god of war. He became enraged and vowed to avenge himself for Aphrodite's infidelity by cursing any lineage of children resulting from the affair. Aphrodite bore a daughter, Harmonia, from Ares' seed. Harmonia grew up and was later betrothed to Cadmus of Thebes. Upon hearing of the royal engagement, Hephaestus presented Harmonia with an exquisite necklace and robe as a wedding gift. In some versions of the myth, only the necklace is given. In either case, the necklace was wrought by Hephaestus' own hand and was cursed to bring disaster to any who wore it.

Magical properties

The magical necklace, referred to simply as the Necklace of Harmonia, allowed any woman wearing it to remain eternally young and beautiful. It thus became a much-coveted object amongst women of the House of Thebes in Greek myths. Although no solid description of the Necklace exists, it is usually described in ancient Greek passages as being of beautifully wrought gold, in the shape of two serpents whose open mouths formed a clasp, and inlaid with various jewels.


Harmonia and Cadmus were both later transformed into serpents (dragons in some versions of the myth). The extent of their suffering as a result of Harmonia wearing the Necklace is debatable because Cadmus and Harmonia are said to have ascended to the paradise of the Elysian Fields after their transformation. The Necklace then went to Harmonia's daughter Semele. She wore it the very day that Hera visited her and insinuated that her husband was not really Zeus. This led to Semele's destruction when she foolishly demanded that Zeus prove his identity by displaying himself in all his glory as the lord of heaven.

Several generations later, Queen Jocasta wore the legendary Necklace. It allowed her to retain her youth and beauty. Thus, after the death of her husband King Laius, she unknowingly married her own son, Oedipus. When the truth about Oedipus was later discovered, Jocasta committed suicide, and Oedipus tore out his own eyes. The descendants and relations of Oedipus all suffered various personal tragedies, as described in Sophocles' "Three Theban Plays": Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone.

Polynices then inherited the Necklace. He gave it to Eriphyle, so that she might use it to persuade her husband, Amphiaraus, to undertake the expedition against Thebes. This led to the death of Eriphyle, Alcmaeon, Phegeus, and the latter's sons. Through Alcmaeon, the son of Eriphyle, the necklace then came into the hands of Phegeus' daughter Arsinoe (named Alphesiboea in some versions), then to the sons of Phegeus, Pronous and Agenor, and lastly to the sons of Alcmaeon, Amphoterus and Acarnan. Amphoterus and Acarnan dedicated the Necklace to the Temple of Athena at Delphi, to prevent further disaster amongst human wearers.

The tyrant Phayllus, one of the Phocian leaders in the Third Sacred War (356 BC-346 BC), stole the necklace from the Temple and offered it to his mistress. After she had worn it for a time, her son was seized with madness and set fire to the house, where she perished in the flames along with all her worldly treasures. No additional legends about the cursed Necklace of Harmonia exist after the story of Phayllus's mistress.

See also

  • Brísingamen, a necklace owned by the North Germanic goddess Freyja

External links

Alcmaeon (mythology)

In Greek mythology, Alcmaeon (; Ancient Greek: Ἀλκμαίων Alkmaíōn), as one of the Epigoni, was the leader of the Argives who attacked Thebes, taking the city in retaliation for the deaths of their fathers, the Seven Against Thebes, who died while attempting the same thing.


In Greek mythology, Amphiaraus (; Ancient Greek: Ἀμφιάραος Amphiaraos, "doubly cursed" or "twice Ares-like") was the king of Argos along with Adrastus and Iphis.

Apple of Discord

An apple of discord is a reference to the Golden Apple of Discord (Greek: μῆλον τῆς Ἔριδος) which, according to Greek mythology, the goddess Eris (Gr. Ἔρις, "Strife") tossed in the midst of the feast of the gods at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis as a prize of beauty, thus sparking a vanity-fueled dispute among Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite that eventually led to the Trojan War (for the complete story, see The Judgement of Paris). Thus, "apple of discord" is used to signify the core, kernel, or crux of an argument, or a small matter that could lead to a bigger dispute.


In Greek mythology, Argo (; in Greek: Ἀργώ) was the ship on which Jason and the Argonauts sailed from Iolcos to Colchis to retrieve the Golden Fleece.

Arsinoe (Greek myth)

In Greek mythology, Arsinoe sometimes spelled Arsinoë, (Ancient Greek: Ἀρσινόη derived from arsis "to rise, to lift" and nous "mind, intellect" ), was the name of the following individuals.

Arsinoe, one of the Nysiads (Dodonides), nurses of the infant Dionysus in Mount Nysa.

Arsinoe, daughter of Leucippus and possibly Philodice. She was also the sister of Hilaeira and Phoebe, who were abducted by the Dioscuri. By the god Apollo, Arsinoe bore Asclepius, 'leader of men' and Eriopis 'with the lovely hair'. Otherwise, the mother of Asclepius was called Coronis, daughter of Phlegyas because it is said that Asclepius being the son of Arsinoe, was a fiction invented by Hesiod, or by one of Hesiod's interpolators, just to please the Messenians. At Sparta she had a sanctuary and was worshipped as a heroine.

Arsinoe, one of the Minyades, according to Plutarch. These daughter of Minyas were struck with madness and having conceived a greedy appetite for man's flesh, cast lots accordingly for their children to see who they were going to eat. Whereupon it fell to Leucippe's lot to produce her son Hippasus to be cut in pieces.

Arsinoe or Alphesiboea, daughter of Phegeus, king of Psophis in Arcadia and sister of Pronous and Agenor. She was the wife of Alcmaeon, leader of the Epigoni by whom she bore a son, Clytius. After Alcmaeon was purified from blood guilt by Phegeus for murdering his own mother Eriphyle, Arsinoe was given in marriage to the hero who received from him the necklace of Harmonia. Later on, her brothers, Pronous and Agenor killed Alcmaeon at the instigation of their father. When Arsinoe condemned them of the act, they clapped her into a chest and carried her to Tegea. There they gave her as a slave to Agapenor, falsely accusing her of her husband's murder. Eventually, retribution came when the sons of Alcmaeon, Amphoterus and Acarnan slew their father's murderers and also Phegeus and his wife.

Arsinoe, nurse of Orestes who saved him from the hands of his mother Clytemnestra, and carried him to the aged Strophius, the father of Pylades. Other traditions called this nurse Laodameia.

Arsinoe, daughter of King Nicocreon of Salamis in Cyprus (descendant of Teucer, son of Telamon). She was loved by Arceophon who wooed her, but the maiden's father refused to give his daughter to Arceophon because of the latter's Phoenician descent. Arceophon was upset and began to come to Arsinoe's house by night, hoping to win her heart, but in vain. He then tried to bribe Arsinoe's nurse so that she might arrange for them to meet, but Arsinoe reported this to her parents, who cut off the nurse's tongue, nose and fingers and drove her out of their house. Having lost every hope, Arceophon committed suicide by starving himself to death. The fellow citizens grieved at his death and buried him with honors. When Arsinoe leaned out of the window to take a look at the funeral ceremony, the goddess of love, Aphrodite turned her into stone.

Axion (mythology)

In Greek mythology, Axion (Ancient Greek: Αξιόν) was the name of the following two individuals.

Axion, son of Phegeus of Psophis in Arcadia and brother of Temenus and Alphesiboea. At the command of their father, Axion together with his brother murdered by treachery their brother-in-law Alcmaeon and the two then dedicated the necklace of Harmonia to the god Apollo in Delphi. It is said that when the expedition of the Greeks to Troy took place, Axion and Temenus were the kings in the city that was still called Phegia (former name of Psophis). The people of Psophis assert that the reason why they took no part in the expedition was because their princes had incurred the enmity of the leaders of the Argives, who were in most cases related by blood to Alcmaeon, and had joined him in his campaign against Thebes. Later on, the widowed sister, Alphesiboea killed her own brothers in revenge of her husband's death. Otherwise, Apollodorus calls the two sons of Phegeus, Agenor and Pronous.

Axion, son of Priam of Troy, who was killed by Eurypylus, son of Euaemon during the Trojan War.


In classical antiquity, the cornucopia (from Latin cornu copiae), also called the horn of plenty, was a symbol of abundance and nourishment, commonly a large horn-shaped container overflowing with produce, flowers or nuts.

Dragon's teeth (mythology)

In Greek myth, dragon's teeth feature prominently in the legends of the Phoenician prince Cadmus and in Jason's quest for the Golden Fleece. In each case, the dragons are real and breathe fire. Their teeth, once planted, would grow into fully armed warriors.

Cadmus, the bringer of literacy and civilization, killed the sacred dragon that guarded the spring of Ares. The goddess Athena told him to sow the teeth, from which sprang a group of ferocious warriors called the spartoi. He threw a precious jewel into the midst of the warriors, who turned on each other in an attempt to seize the stone for themselves. The five survivors joined with Cadmus to found the city of Thebes.The classical legends of Cadmus and Jason have given rise to the phrase "to sow dragon's teeth." This is used as a metaphor to refer to doing something that has the effect of fomenting disputes.


Eriphyle (Ancient Greek: Ἐριφύλη) was a figure in Greek mythology who, in exchange for a necklace given to her by Polynices, persuaded her husband Amphiaraus to undertake the raid which precipitated the Seven Against Thebes. She was then slain by her son Alcmaeon. In Jean Racine's 1674 retelling of Iphigenia at Aulis, she is an orphan whose real name turns out to be Iphigenia as well; despite her many misdeeds, she rescues Iphigenia the daughter of Agamemnon.

Galatea (mythology)

Galatea (; Greek: Γαλάτεια; "she who is milk-white") is a name popularly applied to the statue carved of ivory by Pygmalion of Cyprus, which then came to life in Greek mythology. In modern English the name usually alludes to that story.

Galatea is also the name of Polyphemus's object of desire in Theocritus's Idylls VI and XI and is linked with Polyphemus again in the myth of Acis and Galatea in Ovid's Metamorphoses.


In Greek mythology, Harmonia (; Ancient Greek: Ἁρμονία) is the immortal goddess of harmony and concord. Her Roman counterpart is Concordia. Her Greek opposite is Eris, whose Roman counterpart is Discordia.

There was also a nymph called Harmonia. According to Apollonius of Rhodes, she was a naiad of the Akmonian Wood who was a lover of Ares and mother of the Amazons.


The harpē (ἅρπη) was a type of sword or sickle; a sword with a sickle protrusion along one edge near the tip of the blade. The harpe is mentioned in Greek and Roman sources, and almost always in mythological contexts.

The harpe sword is most notably identified as the weapon used by Cronus to castrate and depose his father, Uranus. Alternately, that weapon is identified as a more traditional sickle or scythe. The harpe, scythe or sickle was either a flint or adamantine (diamond) blade, and was provided to Cronus by his mother, Gaia. According to an ancient myth recorded in Hesiod's Theogony, Uranus had cast his and Gaia's children, the Cyclopes and Hecatonchires, down into Tartarus. The enraged Gaia plotted Uranus' downfall. She beseeched each of her sons to rise up against Uranus but was refused by all but the youngest, Cronus. So, Gaia provided him with the weapon, and when Uranus next came to lay with Gaia, Cronus leapt up into action and castrated his father, overthrowing him and driving him away forever. Thus the blade (whether harpe, sickle or scythe) became a symbol of Cronus's power.

Perseus, a grandson of Cronus, is also regularly depicted in statues and sculpture armed with a harpe sword in his quest to slay the Gorgon, Medusa, and recover her head to use against Ceto. Perseus was provided with such a sword by his father, Zeus (Cronus' youngest son and later overthrower).

In Greek and Roman art it is variously depicted, but it seems that originally it was a khopesh-like sickle-sword. Later depictions often show it as a combination of a sword and sickle, and this odd interpretation is explicitly described in the 2nd century Leucippe and Clitophon .

Iphis (name)

Iphis ( EYE-fis, IF-iss; Ancient Greek: Ἶφις [íi.pʰis]) was a name attributed to the following individuals in Greek mythology.

The feminine name Iphis (Ἶφις Îphis, gen. Ἴφιδος Ī́phidos) refers to the following personages.

Iphis, daughter of Ligdus.

Iphis, as recounted in Homer's Iliad, was the slave of Patroclus, Achilles' companion-in-arms. A native of Scyros, she had been enslaved by Achilles when the latter conquered her home island, and given by him to Patroclus. Pausanias describes a painting of Iphis, Diomede and Briseis admiring Helen's beauty as the latter has been brought back to the Greek camp from the sacked Troy.

Iphis, one of the daughters of Thespius and Megamede. She bore Heracles a son, Celeustanor.

Iphis, daughter of Peneus, mother of Salmoneus by Aeolus, the son of Hellen.

Iphis, variant for Iphigenia or Iphianassa.

The masculine name Iphis (Ἶφις Îphis, gen. Ἴφιος Ī́phios) refers to the following personages.

Iphis, in Ovid's Metamorphoses, was a Cypriot shepherd who loved a woman named Anaxarete. Anaxarete scorned him and Iphis killed himself in despair. Because Anaxarete was still unmoved, Aphrodite changed her to stone.

Iphis, son of Alector, was one of the kings in Argos. Polynices came to him for advice on how to get Amphiaraus to join the Seven Against Thebes. He advised him to give Eriphyle the necklace of Harmonia. He was the father of Eteoclus, Evadne (wife of Capaneus) and Laodice (mother of Capaneus). He left his kingdom to his grandson Sthenelus, the son of his son-in-law Capaneus.

Iphis or Iphitus, one of the Argonauts, son of Sthenelus and brother of Eurystheus, from Argos. He was killed in battle in Colchis by Aeetes.

Iphis, a Theban warrior, one of the defenders against the Seven Against Thebes. He was killed by Acamas.

Iphis, father of Ligdus (see above).

Necklace (disambiguation)

A necklace is an article of jewelry worn around the neck.

Necklace may also refer to:

Necklace (combinatorics) or fixed necklace, a concept in combinatorial mathematics

"The Necklace", a short story by Guy de Maupassant

"The Necklace (Dynasty)", a 1981 episode of the TV series Dynasty

Necklace (horse)

Panacea (medicine)

The panacea , named after the Greek goddess of universal remedy Panacea, is any supposed remedy that is claimed to cure all diseases and prolong life indefinitely. It was in the past sought by alchemists as a connection to the elixir of life and the philosopher's stone, a mythical substance which would enable the transmutation of common metals into gold.

The Cahuilla people of the Colorado Desert region of California used the red sap of the elephant tree (Bursera microphylla) as a panacea.The Latin genus name of ginseng is Panax, (or "panacea") reflecting Linnean understanding that ginseng was widely used in traditional Chinese medicine as a cure-all.A panacea (or panaceum) is also a literary term to represent any solution to solve all problems related to a particular issue. The term panacea is also used in a negative way to describe the overuse of any one solution to solve many different problems especially in medicine.

Phegeus of Psophis

In Greek mythology, Phegeus (Ancient Greek: Φηγέως) was the king of Psophis in Arcadia who purified Alcmaeon after the murder of his own mother, Eriphyle. The town of Phegeia, which had before been called Erymanthus, was believed to have derived its name from him. Subsequently, however, it was changed again into Psophis.


In Greek mythology, the Telchines (Ancient Greek: Τελχῖνες, Telkhines) were the original inhabitants of the island of Rhodes, and were known in Crete and Cyprus.

Temenus (mythology)

In Greek mythology, Temenus (Ancient Greek:Τήμενος Tēmenos) was the name attributed to the following personages:

Temenus, a son of Pelasgus, who reared Hera at Stymphalus in Arcadia. His mother was probably either Meliboea, an Oceanid or Oread, one of the nymphs. Temenus established three sanctuaries for the goddess Hera. He gave her three surnames: (1) when she was still a maiden, Girl; (2) when married to Zeus he called her Grown-up; (3) when for some cause or other she quarreled with Zeus and came back to Stymphalus, he named her Widow.

Temenus, son of Phegeus of Psophis in Arcadia and brother of Axion and Alphesiboea. At the command of their father, Temenus together with his brother murdered by treachery their brother-in-law Alcmaeon and the two then dedicated the necklace of Harmonia to the god Apollo in Delphi. It is said that when the expedition of the Greeks to Troy took place, Temenus and Axion were the kings in the city that was still called Phegia (former name of Psophis). The people of Psophis assert that the reason why they took no part in the expedition was because their princes had incurred the enmity of the leaders of the Argives, who were in most cases related by blood to Alcmaeon, and had joined him in his campaign against Thebes. Later on, the widowed sister, Alphesiboea killed her own brothers in revenge of her husband's death. Otherwise, Apollodorus calls the two sons of Phegeus, Agenor and Pronous.

Temenus, son of Heracles and father of Archelaus,one of the Heraclides.

Temenus, son of Aristomachus, one of the Heracleidae.

Winnowing Oar

The Winnowing Oar (athereloigos - Greek ἀθηρηλοιγός) is an object that appears in Books XI and XXIII of Homer's Odyssey. In the epic, Odysseus is instructed by Tiresias to take an oar from his ship and to walk inland until he finds a "land that knows nothing of the sea", where the oar would be mistaken for a winnowing fan. At this point, he is to offer a sacrifice to Poseidon, and then at last his journeys would be over.

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