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According to Pindar's 9th Pythian Ode, Creusa was a Naiad and daughter of Gaia who bore Hypseus, future King of the Lapiths, to the river god Peneus. Through Hypseus she was grandmother of Cyrene, one of the best known lovers of Apollo.
Daughter of Creon
Creusa - also known by the name Glauce, e.g. in Apollodorus's Bibliotheca 1.9.28. - was the daughter of King Creon of Corinth, Greece, in whose favor Jason abandoned Medea. In the version of the myth commonly followed by ancient tragedians, Medea obtained her revenge by giving Creusa a dress that had been cursed by the sorceress. The curse caused the dress to stick to Creusa's body and burn her to death as soon as she put it on.
Daughter of Erechtheus
Creusa was the daughter of Erechtheus, King of Athens and his wife, Praxithea, who was spared the fate of her sisters (see Chthonia) because she was an infant at the time they had sworn to commit suicide if one of them died. Apollodorus mentions her as the mother of Achaeus and Ion by her husband Xuthus; she is presumably also the mother of Xuthus' daughter Diomede.
However, according to Euripides' Ion, in which she is a prominent character, Creusa was mother of Ion by Apollo, while Xuthus was infertile so he accepted Ion as his own son. In the play, Creusa was raped by Apollo long before her marriage to Xuthus, and exposed the newborn baby in fear of her parents' wrath. Years later, Xuthus went to consult the Delphian oracle about his marriage to Creusa being childless and met Ion, who had been raised at the temple of Apollo; the prophecy seemed to indicate Ion as his son, so Xuthus decided to adopt the youth. Creusa, unaware of her husband's infertility, thought that Ion's birth must have been the result of Xuthus' adultery in the past, and attempted to poison the young man, but he was in time to discover her intent, and was about to kill her. Eventually Creusa realized that Ion was her son by Apollo she had abandoned, after Ion described to her the contents of the basket he had been found in as a baby; they, however, agreed to keep it a secret from Xuthus. In the end of the play, Athena promised that Creusa and Xuthus would have two sons together, Achaeus and Dorus.
Creusa, wife of Aeneas
Creusa's fate is dealt with in detail by Virgil in his Aeneid. As Troy is falling to the Greeks, Aeneas goes to his home to lead his father Anchises, Creusa, and their son Ascanius out of the city and into the countryside. Anchises refuses to leave the house, prompting Aeneas to decide that he will leave to continue the fight against the Greeks so that he may die in battle. Creusa grabs his feet and begs him to think of what would become of Ascanius, Anchises and herself if Aeneas were to be killed. As she does this, Ascanius catches fire with an un-earthly flame. The flame is quickly doused with water. Anchises believes this to be an omen from Jupiter, who confirms this omen by sending a shooting star. Anchises now agrees to flee Troy. The family leaves the home, Aeneas carrying his father and Ascanius holding his hand, while Creusa is to remain some distance behind them. As they flee through the city, pursued by Greeks, they reach the gates and begin to run, after noticing that the Greeks appear to be gaining on them. Creusa is unable to keep up with them. After reaching Ceres’ temple outside of the city, Aeneas leaves Anchises and Ascanius there to go back in search of Creusa. As he searches the city without success, he meets the ghost of Creusa, who tells him that she may not leave the city with him. She predicts his journey to Hesperia, Italy and future marriage to another. She asks that Aeneas take care of their child and vanishes. Aeneas tries three times to hold her, each time failing to grasp her wraith.
Creusa may also refer to:
- Creusa, wife of the Carian Cassandrus and mother by him of Menes. Her son was killed by Neoptolemus in the Trojan War.
- Creusa, an Amazon spearwoman in a painting on a vase from Cumae that depicts a battle of the Amazons against Theseus and his army; she is portrayed as being overcome by Phylacus.
Trojan family tree
- "Pindar's 9th Ode". Perseus. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
- Bibliotheca 3. 15. 1
- Euripides, Ion, 277
- Bibliotheca 1. 7. 3
- Apollodorus, Bibliotheca, 1. 9. 4
- Euripides, Ion passim
- Stephanus of Byzantium s. v. Iōnia
- Hyginus, Fabulae, 160
- Bibliotheca 3. 12. 5
- Hyginus, Fabulae, 90
- Virgil, Aeneid, 2.674
- Virgil, Aeneid, 2. 650 ff
- Pausanias, Description of Greece, 10. 26. 1.
- Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy, 8. 22
- Roscher, s. 1429
- Etymologicum Magnum, 217. 26, under Byzantion
- Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher (ed.): Ausführliches Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie. Band 2.1 (I-K), Leipzig, 1890-1894, ss. 1425 - 1429
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