Cassandra- The Cursed Oracle

In Greek Mythology, Cassandra (Greek: Κασσάνδρα “she who entangles men”]) (also known as Alexandra) was a daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy. Her beauty caused Apollo to grant her the gift of prophecy . However, when she did not return his love, Apollo placed a curse on her so that no one would ever believe her predictions.

In an alternative version, she spent a night at Apollo’s temple with her twin brother Helenus, at which time the temple snakes licked her ears clean so that she was able to hear the future. This is a recurring theme in Greek mythology, though sometimes it brings an ability to understand the language of animals rather than an ability to know the future. Apollo loved Cassandra and when she did not return his love, he cursed her so that her gift would become a source of endless pain and frustration. In some versions of the myth, this is symbolized by the god spitting into her mouth; in other Greek versions, this act was sufficient to remove the gift so recently given by Apollo, but Cassandra’s case varies. From the play Agamemmon, it appears that she made a promise to Apollo to become his consort, but broke it, thus incurring his wrath.

Telephus, the son of Heracles, loved Cassandra but she scorned him and instead helped him seduce her sister Laodice.

While Cassandra foresaw the destruction of Troy (she warned the Trojans about the Trojan Horse, the death of Agamemnon, and her own demise), she was unable to do anything to forestall these tragedies. Her family believed she was mad, and according to some versions, kept her locked up. In versions where she was incarcerated, this was typically portrayed as driving her truly insane, although in versions where she was not, she is usually viewed as remaining simply misunderstood.

Coroebus and Othronus came to the aid of Troy out of love for Cassandra. Cassandra was also the first to see the body of her brother Hector being brought back to the city.

After the Trojan War, she sought shelter in the temple of Athena, where she was raped by Ajax the Lesser. Cassandra was then taken as a concubine by King Agamemnon of Mycenae. Unbeknownst to Agamemnon, while he was away at war, his wife, Clytemnestra, had begun an affair with Aegisthus. Clytemnestra and Aegisthus then murdered both Agamemnon and Cassandra. Some sources mention that Cassandra and Agamemnon had twin boys, Teledamus and Pelops, both of whom were killed by Aegisthus.

Painting by Evelyn De Morgan.

Painting by Evelyn De Morgan.

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About cleffairy

Recently having fascination with ancient history.
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