in Greek mythology, a mighty sorceress, was the daughter of.the god of the sun and of Perse, sister of AEetes, the king of Colchis. Her father carried her from Colchis towards the west, and placed her on an island -in the neighborhood of Italy, which the sorceress soon changed to an enchanting spot. In a beautiful valley she lived, in a palace sparkling with gold and jewels; lions and wolves, which she had tamed, guarded her residence, and golden-haired nymphs, goddesses, such as she was, were her servants. When Ulysses, in his. wanderings, came thither, he sent a part of his crew on shore to explore the island. Eurylochus, the leader, prudently remained at a distance, and thus escaped sharing the lot which fell to the rest. They were changed into swine, and fed on acorns. Ulysses now went himself to the dangerous sorceress. Mercury had given him a preventive against her witchery. Circe was taken by surprise when she discovered that her charm did not affect him, and she thereupon swore not to injure him nor his friends, to liberate the latter, and to share her kingdom and her love with him. One year Ulysses lived there, and Circe bore' to him a son, Agrius. Latinus, Telegonus, and Cassiphone are also mentioned as her children. Now Ulysses longed for home, but Circe first sent him to Hades to ask the advice of the shade Tiresias. During Ulysses' stay with her, Calchus, the king of the Danians, whom she had formerly favored, came to her, but was changed into a swine, and only at the entreaties of the Danians was he restored, on condition of never returning again to the island. Telemachus came, seeking his father, and married her daughter Cassiphone; but becoming angry with Circe, he killed her, and was therefore killed by his wife.
Diodorus relates the story as follows: Helios had two. sons, LEetes and Perses, who became kings of Colchis and Taurica respectively. Hecate, the daughter of Perses, married AEetes, and gave birth to Circe and Medea, and one son, Egialeus. Circe was occupied in the discovery of various poisons. The king of the Scythians took her in marriage, but her very first act was to poison her husband, and to take forcible possession of the kingdom. She was driven from the throne, and fled, with her women, to an uninhabited island.