Greek Mythology >> Nymphs >> Oceanids >> Eidyia


Greek Name

Ειδυια Ιδυια


Eidyia, Idyia

Latin Spelling

Eidyia, Idyia


Seeing, Knowing (eidô)

EIDYIA was an Okeanid-nymph of the town of Kolkhis (Colchis) in Aia at the eastern end of the Black Sea. She was the wife of King Aeetes and the mother of the witch Medea.

Eidyia's name was derived from the Greek word eidô meaning "to see" or "to know." She probably personified the power of the eye which in Greek superstition was the source of a witch's supernatural powers. As an Okeanid-nymph she was presumably also the Naiad of the main well or fountain of Kolkhis--the marriage of founding-king and local Naiad is a common motif in Greek myth.


[1.1] OKEANOS & TETHYS (Hesiod Theogony 352, 960; Apollonius Rhodius 3.243)
[1.2] OKEANOS (Apollodorus 1.129, Cicero De Natura Deorum 3.19)


[1.1] MEDEA (by Aeetes) (Hesiod Theogony 962; Apollodorus 1.129, Hyginus Fabulae 25)
[1.2] MEDEA, KHALKIOPE (by Aeetes) (Apollonius Rhodius 3.244)
[1.3] MEDEA, ABSYRTOS (by Aeetes) (Cicero De Natura Deorum 3.19)


IDYIA or EIDYIA (Iduia), that is, the knowing goddess, a daughter of Oceanus and Tethys, and the wife of the Colchian king Aeetes. (Hes. Theog. 352; Apollon. Rhod. iii. 243; Hygin. Fab. 25; Eustath. ad Hom. p. 1193.)

Source: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.


Hesiod, Theogony 958 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"Aietes (Aeetes), son of Helios (the Sun) . . . married, by the counsels of the gods, the fair-faced daughter of Okeanos (Oceanus), the terminal river, Idyia, who, subdued to him in love, and through golden Aphrodite, bore him Medeia (Medea) of the slim ankles."

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 3. 243 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"[The town of Kholkis (Colchis) :] Higher buildings stood at angles to this court on either side. In one of them, the highest, King Aeetes lived with his queen; in another, his son Apsyrtos, whom a Kaukasian (Caucasian) nymphe named Asterodeia had borne to him before he married Eidyia, the youngest daughter of Tethys and Okeanos (Oceanus)."

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 3. 268 ff :
"Aeetes with his queen Eidyia . . . came out of the palace [to meet the Argonauts]."

Lycophron, Alexandra 1022 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"The angry ruler [Aeetes] of Aia (Aea) and of Korinthos (Corinth), the husband of Eidyia."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Preface (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"From Aeeta and Clytia [was born] : Medea."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 25 :
"Medea, daughter of Aeetes and Idyia."

Cicero, De Natura Deorum 3. 19 (trans. Rackham) (Roman rhetorician C1st B.C.) :
"If you therefore deem her [Kirke (Circe)] divine, what answer will you give to Medea, who, as her father was Aeetes and her mother Idyia, ahd as her two grandfathers Sol (the Sun) [Helios] and Oceanus? Or her brother Absyrtus--who appears in Pacuvius as Aegialeus, though the former name is commoner in ancient literature."

Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica 8. 140 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"[Medea fled Kolkhis (Colchis) with Jason and the Argonauts :] Her [Medea's] mother [Eidyia] was still stretching out her hands towards the sea, her sister too and all the other maidens who were thy peers, Medea. Above all rings out her mother's voice as she fills all the air with her wailings : ‘Stop thy flight, turn back hither thy vessel from mid-sea; thou canst, my daughter. Whither goest thou?’ she cries; ‘here are all thy folk, and thy father, not yet angry; this is thy land, thy kingdom. Why trustest thou thyself alone to Achaea? What place hast thou there, a stranger among Inachian maidens? Lies there the home of thy desire, the wedlock thou awaitest? Is this the day I prayed my old age might see? Ah, would that like a bird I could rend with hooked talons the very face of that brigand, and hover above his ship and with loud cry demand my daughter back again! To the Albanian prince was she betrothed, not to thee; no compact made her unhappy parents with thee, Aesonides [Jason]; by no such ruse doth Pelias bid thee escape, or rob the Colchians of their daughters. Keep the fleece, take aught else that our temples hold. But why accuse I thus any mad with undeserved complaint? She herself willed to flee, and avows (ah, horror!) the passion that consumes her. That then was the cause, unhappy girl (for each thing now do I recall), why, ever since the Thessalian oars drew night the shore, no feasting, no seasons gave thee pleasure. No colour hadst thou then, thy voice was faint, thy glance wandered, and ever was thy face a stranger to rejoicing. Why was not so dire a plague revealed to me, that Jason might have taken his place as a son-in-law in our palace, and that thou mightest not have stooped to a flight so base? Or at least we might no have shared all the crime between us, and were voyaging no matter where together; gladly should we both be seeking Thessaly and the city, whate'er its name, of the cruel stranger.’
So she spake her mother, and her sisters filled everything with like complaints, shrieking aloud."





A complete bibliography of the translations quoted on this page.