Absyrtus was the son of Aeëtes, king of Colchis and a brother of Medea and Chalciope. His mother is variously given: Hyginus calls her Ipsia, Hesiod and the Bibliotheca call her Idyia, Apollonius calls her Asterodeia, and others Neaera or Eurylyte.
When Medea fled with Jason, she took her brother Absyrtus with her, and when she was nearly overtaken by her father, she murdered her brother, cut his body into pieces and strewed them on the road, so that her father might thus be delayed by gathering the limbs of his child. Tomi, the place where this occurred, was believed to have derived its name from temno (τέμνω, "cut").
According to another tradition, Absyrtus was not taken by Medea, but was sent out by his father in pursuit of her. He overtook her in Corcyra, where she had been kindly received by King Alcinous, who refused to surrender her to Absyrtus. When he overtook her a second time in the island of Minerva, he was slain by Jason. Apollonius of Rhodes presents a variation on this tradition in Argonautica (Book 4): Jason murdered Medea's brother on one of the "Brygean Islands" (an island sacred to the goddess Artemis and located in the modern Kvarner Gulf), where he was lured by Medea with false promises – their first (and last) meeting after leaving Colchis.
- Gaius Julius Hyginus, Fabulae, 13.
- Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 9. §23.
- Apollonius of Rhodes, 3. 241.
- Scholia on Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica
- Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 9. §24; Ovid, Tristia 3. 9; compare Apollonius 4. 338, &c. 460, &c.
- Gaius Julius Hyginus. Fabulae, 23
- Cicero, De Natura Deorum 3. 19.
- Junianus Justinus, 42. 3.
- Diodorus Siculus, 4. 45
- Schmitz, Leonhard (1849). "Absyrtus". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. 1. Boston. pp. 3–4. Archived from the original on 2005-12-31.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Greenhill, William Alexander (1870). "Apsyrtus". In Smith, William. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. 1. p. 252.