ERECHTHEUS, king of Athens, had a beautiful daughter named Creusa. With renewed suspicion he tried to free himself from her embraces, thinking that this was only another ruse. Let us hurl the murderess from the highest cliff!” And the throngs around him howled their applause. “If the child lived,” said Creusa, “he would be of your age.”, “Oh, how like my own is the destiny of your friend!” cried the youth sorrowfully. , 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. “The gods have favored me!” he cried. Ion put his hand into the bottom of the basket and lifted out a fresh green olive wreath. Creusa was awaiting the outcome of her desperate attempt at Apollo’s altar. Creusa is also mentioned as the mother of Ion with Apollo by Stephanus of Byzantium. Long tables were placed within, and on them silver platters heaped with rich and dainty foods, and golden cups of fragrant wine. But who is this with you? He lived an honorable and dedicate life in the precincts of Phoebus Apollo. In the meantime the furious Delphians, led by Ion, came closer and closer, and even before they reached the temple, the boy’s angry words were carried to her by the wind. This son she exposed in a certain place, and ever since that time she has not known whether he is alive or dead. Do not hesitate to undo the folds. But Xuthus bade him be of good courage, promising to present him to his wife and to his people, not as his son, but as a stranger. At the very moment they reached the temple, the son of Apollo crossed the threshold to sweep the court with laurel twigs, according to the custom. Hardly had she wetted her bill when she began to beat her wings and reel about, until at last she died in spasms of pain, while the guests looked on in amazement. Creusa, in the meantime, had not stirred from Apollo’s altar, at which she had prostrated herself in prayer. All the guests followed his example. You blended the draught and handed me the cup!” And he gripped the servant’s shoulder and would not release him. “Unhappy mistress!” they called out to her, “your husband rejoices, but you will never hold a child in your arms or suckle it at your breast. In return for his assistance he asked, and was granted, Creusa’s hand in marriage. Taken off his guard and alarmed, he confessed his crime but shifted all the blame to Creusa. Eventually, due to the intervention of Pythia who told to Ion that he was found abandoned and gave him the basket in which she had found him, 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. “Stone her, stone her!” clamored the people as if with a single voice, and they followed Ion in search of Creusa. When may I look on your dear face?” He was, moreover, in grave doubt as to what the childless wife of Xuthus, whom—so he thought—he had never seen, would say to this unexpected stepson, and how the city of Athens would receive one who was not his father’s legitimate heir. “There comes the husband of the woman I was speaking of. “The god himself revealed this to me,” he insisted. ERECHTHEUS, king of Athens, had a beautiful daughter named Creusa. But Xuthus would not accept such denial. “My father’s name is Erechtheus, and Athens is my native land.”, In eager excitement the boy cried out: “What a glorious land! But in the play Ion, Creusa was impregnated by Apollo long before her marriage to Xuthus. However, Apollo had Hermes bring his son, Ion, to his temple and made arrangements for him to be brought up there. The poor princess, whose spirit the gods must have struck with blindness, since she did not solve so transparent a secret, brooded over her sad fate in silence. The princess and her husband, accompanied by a small retinue of servants, set out for Delphi. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. “Do you see this basket in my hands? In this you were once exposed; from this I took you and reared you.”, Ion looked at her in astonishment. Greek text available from the same website, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Creusa&oldid=969282152, Articles containing Ancient Greek (to 1453)-language text, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This article includes a list of Greek mythological figures with the same or similar names. Have you heard what wicked designs I have just escaped? “But how is this basket to help me?” asked Ion. But Creusa herself released him and stepping back said: “This linen shall testify to the truth of my words. If an, This page was last edited on 24 July 2020, at 13:47. The next morning at sunrise, when the Delphic priestess moved toward the temple, her eyes fell on the infant asleep in the basket. His divine will carried the news of Creusa’s attempted crime and of the punishment to be meted out to her to the ears of his priestess and illumined her spirit, so that she suddenly grasped the meaning in all that had happened and knew that her foster child Ion was not the son of Xuthus, as she herself had declared in ambiguous prophecy, but of Apollo and Creusa. The prophecy given by Apollo seemed to indicate Ion as his son, so Xuthus decided to adopt the youth. Xuthus embraced Ion, whom he accepted as a stepson and a cherished gift of the gods, and all three went into the temple to give thanks to Apollo. Without her parents’ knowledge she had become the bride of Apollo and borne him a son whom, for fear of her father’s wrath, she hid in a basket and placed in the grotto … She was the sister of Protogeneia, Pandora, Procris, Oreithyia and Chthonia. In Greek mythology, Creusa may refer to the following figures: “And tell me, noble princess,” he asked, “is it also true that in obedience to an oracle your father Erechtheus sacrificed his daughters, your sisters, with their full consent, in order to overcome his foes? “But—if you will—tell me who you are and from whence you have come.”, “I am Creusa,” the princess replied.  Hyginus calls Creusa mother of Cephalus by Hermes.. He then gave him the name of Ion, the Pacer, because he had clasped him to his breast as his son while the boy paced the court of the temple. And none was harmed save one which settled where Ion had emptied his first cup. How famous the family from which you are descended! “I lay in my mother’s arms.”, “And did the earth split and devour your father Erechtheus?” persisted the boy. As far back as I can remember, the house of the god has been my dwelling. Help me rescue my son! “There must be a necklace of small dragons, wrought of gold, in memory of the dragons in the chest of Erichthonius.”. Scarcely had I found a father, when my evil stepmother planned my destruction! When Xuthus left the temple with Ion, he took him to the double peak of Mount Parnassus, where the people of Delphi used to worship Dionysus, whom they held no less sacred than Apollo himself and celebrated with wild orgies. They come from the first olive tree planted in Athens.”. “I know a woman whose fate is very like your mother’s,” she said. If and when he will, let him lay bare the secret.”. But what happened to her took place in a far-off land, and we are strangers to each other. Confused with sorrow and hopelessness she agreed to the evil plans of the old man and, in return, confided to him her relationship to the god. And now the father will delight in the son he has recovered while you will live in your empty house like a widow.”. Then Ion, whom Apollo’s oracle had declared son of Xuthus, left the tent, and all crowded after him in wild confusion. Before long he heard the doors open and close with a sound like thunder. “It is for her sake I have come to consult the oracle. He came to meet Xuthus, as he was coming from the temple. In 1754 the play Creusa, Queen of Athens by William Whitehead was produced at the Drury Lane Theatre in London. “None,” said Creusa. Impetuously he flung his arms about the boy, called him “son” over and over, and begged him to clasp him in return and kiss him with filial devotion, until the young servant of Apollo thought the old man must be out of his mind and thrust him aside with youthful strength. But it seemed as though the sun-god took revenge on his beloved for marrying another, for she did not conceive, but lived childless. In Greek mythology, Creusa (/kriːˈjuːsə/; Ancient Greek: Κρέουσα Kreousa "princess") may refer to the following figures: Greek text available at the Perseus Digital Library. They reached the altar, and Ion seized the woman who was his mother, but who seemed to him his deadly foe, and tried to drag her from the sanctuary whose holiness she had invoked to save herself. He grew tall and handsome, and the inhabitants of Delphi, who had become accustomed to seeing in him a little guardian of the temple, now put him in charge of the precious offerings made to the god. Later there will be a solemn banquet. And I shall confide her secret to you, who are the god’s servant, before her husband arrives. Struck by her air of majesty, he ventured to ask the cause of her sorrow. In all these years Creusa had heard nothing from her divine husband and could not help thinking he had forgotten both her and her son. Creusa thought herself deserted both by her husband and her lover of long ago. Take him to my oracle at Delphi in the basket in which you will find him, and with the linen in which he is wrapped, and lay him down on the threshold of the temple. The priestess held out the basket to him, and he eagerly thrust his hand into it and drew out the folded linen. 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 Ion was in time to discover her conspiracy, and chased her to kill her. Then Creusa told him the secret of his birth, that he was the son of the god in whose temple he had served so long and faithfully. So she lifted him tenderly and reared him herself, and the boy played about his father’s altar and knew nothing of his parents. Xuthus himself was swept away with the rest, hardly aware of what he was about, for the dreadful discovery had dulled his reason. But do not betray us to him!”. “Now that he has given you a father, he has freed you to go to Athens.”. Rejoicing in fulfilment and hope, Xuthus and Creusa set out for Athens with the son who had been restored to her, and all the people of Delphi came to speed them on their way. After a little she inquired after the name and person of this stepson she seemed to have acquired. “Why, that is a token which may lead me to my rightful mother!”. But I trust in the god. Then Xuthus sent his herald down to the city of Delphi and invited all its inhabitants to share in his joy. And now your husband has gone to the altar of Dionysus to make secret sacrifice for his son. For the fate I mourn may well be visible in my face.”, “It is not my wish to intrude upon your grief,” said the boy. In the middle of the stuff you will see the Gorgon’s head, ringed with serpents, as it appears on the shield of Athene.”, Dubiously Ion unfolded the linen, but suddenly he cried out joyfully: “O mighty Zeus, here is the Medusa, and these are the serpents!”, “It is not enough,” said Creusa. A glance at the basket discovered the whole truth to her. But it was quite other from what she expected. When the prince heard this, he bade Creusa adorn herself with the sprays which suppliants must carry, and implore a favorable answer from Apollo at the god’s altar, which stood in the open under the sky and was wreathed about with branches of laurel. Is it true—what we have seen pictured—that your father’s grandfather Erichthonius came up out of the earth like a young tree? Apollo has granted him a son, a son full-grown, who was probably borne to him years ago by heaven knows what concubine. “His father has named him Ion. “He is the young guard of the temple, the one you spoke with,” her servants replied. Now tell me what to do, and I will obey your command.”, The priestess lifted a warning finger and said: “Ion, start for Athens with unstained hands, and under favorable auspices.”, Ion thought for a moment and then countered: “Is he not stainless who kills his foes?”, “Do not kill until you have heard me,” said the priestess in majesty. For in your friend’s name you have come to accuse him of faithlessness, and he will not wish to pronounce judgment upon himself.”, “Stop!” said Creusa. Creusa was the youngest daughter of Erechtheus, King of Athens and his wife, Praxithea. But not utterly, for even as he kissed and embraced his father he sighed: “O darling mother, where are you? Creusa was the youngest daughter of Erechtheus, King of Athens and his wife, Praxithea. Without her parents’ knowledge she had become the bride of Apollo and borne him a son whom, for fear of her father’s wrath, she hid in a basket and placed in the grotto where she and the sun-god had so often met secretly. This woman claims that she was the wife of Phoebus Apollo before she married the man who is now her husband, and that she bore the god a child. “Creusa!” he called out to her, “Trophonius has given me happy tidings. While his eyes, dim with tears, rested on this treasured keepsake, Creusa had gradually regained her composure. “I do not wonder,” she answered with a sigh, “that my sadness drew your attention to me. She took it for the child of some ne’er-do-well and was about to thrust it away from the sacred threshold when the god filled her spirit with compassion for his son. When she couldn't find the child, she assumed that the wild beasts had eaten the baby and went back grieving. After a number of years it occurred to her to go to the oracle of Delphi and pray for the fertility of her womb. Where is that viper with poisonous fangs, that she-dragon with eyes flashing flames of death? On this my friend’s behalf I have come to ask whether her son yet lives or is long since dead.”. How this can be I do not know, for my wife has never borne me a child. He threatened us with death if we told you these things, and only the love we bear you compels us to disobey him. A gust of sound from far off roused her from her lonely brooding, and as it swelled and came nearer, one of her husband’s serving-men, who was loyal to her above all others, ran in the van of the surging mob to tell her that her plot had been discovered and that the people of Delphi were resolved to kill her. Creusa was spared of the fate of her sisters because she was an infant at the time they had sworn to commit suicide if one of them died. About this time the Athenians began to wage a fierce war with the people of the neighboring island of Euboea, and in the end the Euboeans were defeated, largely because a certain stranger from Achaea brought particularly effective aid to the Athenians. And that these could not check their curiosity, opened the chest and—beholding the boy—were stricken with madness, so that they hurled themselves to their death from the rocks of the citadel?”, Creusa nodded silently, for the story of her ancestors had reminded her of the fate of her lost son. “Welcome, dear mother,” he said, “for so I must call you, although you did not give birth to me. “And the last token,” said Creusa, “is a wreath of unfading olive leaves which I set on the head of my newborn son. That the goddess Athene placed the earth-born child in a chest, with two dragons to guard it, and brought it for safekeeping to the daughters of Cecrops? At this Ion rose from his seat, angrily shook his arms free of his robe, clenched his fists, and cried: “Who is it that wanted to kill me? “And I envy your mother so fair a son.”, “I know nothing of my mother, nor of my father,” the boy answered dejectedly. Creusa gave birth to her child without pain due to Apollo's intervention, but she left the baby in a cave because she feared her father's reproach. At last he tore himself away and asked about Xuthus, his father. “Dear brother,” said Phoebus, “a mortal, the daughter of the king of Athens, has borne me a child and, for fear of her father, has hidden it in a grotto. Online version at the Perseus Digital Library. Toward the end of the banquet, when the flutes were beginning to play, he bade the serving-boys take the small cups from the festal board and set large vessels of gold and silver before the guests. Seated at her tripod, the priestess prophesied that Ion would be the father of a glorious race, to be named Ionians, in honor of him. He himself took the most beautiful of all and filled it to the brim with the noblest wine, as if to honor his new young lord, but secretly he added a deadly poison. “Why have you kept this secret so long?”, “Because the god wanted you to serve him all these years,” she answered. “How long ago was all this?” asked the youth. Under the open sky, within a circle of the noblest Delphians, he lifted his hands and said: “Holy Earth, you are witness that this alien woman of the line of the Erechthides wanted to kill me with poison!”. You will find the tokens I shall describe to you. CREUSA AND ION. “She is looking for her son, and I seek my mother. Apollo, whose divine insight revealed to him the birth of his son, did not want to betray his beloved nor fail to help the boy, so he turned to his brother Hermes, the messenger of the gods, for—since he was a go-between familiar to both heaven and earth—he could walk among men without attracting undue attention. The name of Creusa is given to several female figures in Greek mythology, although it is Creusa, wife of Aeneas, who is best known. Ion searched the basket and, smiling in delight, drew out the necklace. And the fresh garlands I have twined around the old withes? 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. Who is this youthful priest?”, The boy modestly approached the prince and told him that he was only Apollo’s servant, that the noblest among the men of Delphi, chosen by lot, were in the innermost sanctuary, seated around the tripod from which the priestess was preparing to issue the oracle. Greek text available at the Perseus Digital Library. Where is she? He alone can help me.”. “Linen?” exclaimed Ion.  Apollodorus mentions Creusa as the mother of Achaeus and Ion by her husband Xuthus; she is presumably also the mother of Xuthus' daughter Diomede. She rushed from the altar, and with a single jubilant word, “Son!” clasped Ion in her arms. Creusa sought shelter at Apollo's altar and demanded not to kill her. “Did Poseidon really destroy him with his trident, and is his grave near a grotto dear to Pythian Apollo, whom I serve?”, “O stranger, speak not of that grotto!” Creusa interrupted him with mournful agitation. Greek text available from the same website, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Creusa_of_Athens&oldid=984373656, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 19 October 2020, at 19:43. Do not hope, however, that the god will give you the answer you desire. Try to forget what I have told you—perhaps too readily and openly.”, Xuthus advanced joyfully toward his wife. Then he saw Xuthus hurrying forth with an air of happy bewilderment. “Phoebus Apollo,” she said with a sigh, “knows the cause of my childlessness. She left her tripod and fetched forth the basket in which the newborn babe, together with certain tokens she had carefully preserved, had once been found at the gates of the temple at Delphi. In order that the newborn boy might not be without some token of his identity, she put upon him a necklace linked of small golden dragons, which she had worn as a girl. But he, standing before her, continued his guileless questioning. Online version at the Topos Text Project. It was Xuthus, a son of Aeolus, who was himself a son of Zeus. With these in her hands, she hastened to the altar where Creusa was struggling with Ion for her very life. “It contains the linen in which you were wrapped, dear son,” said the priestess. Speak, old man, for it was you who lent your aid. He himself hastened to the shrine within, while the boy remained on guard in the outer court. Creusa Wife of Aeneas This Creusa was a mortal princess, for she was a daughter of King Priam of Troy, and his second wife Hecabe ; as Priam was known for his many children, Creusa had many famous siblings, including the likes of Hector and Paris. We do not know who his mother is. So he went to the board which held the wines and saw to the cups and the needs of the guests. Online version at the Topos Text Project. The rest you may leave to me, for he is my own child, and I shall see to him.”. There he set it down at the gates of the temple and raised the lid a little, so that the child might be seen easily. “Hold fast to the altar,” her women counseled, pressing about her, “and if this holy place does not save you from your murderers, they will, at least, incur blood guilt which no penance can atone for.”.