Circe and Witchcraft in Ancient Greece

Listen to the Story: 4 minutes


This is a short excerpt from my lecture “Things That Go Bump: A Visual Survey of Witches, Demons, and Ghosts.” Herein we explore the ancient Greek tradition of witchcraft and metamorphosis in two images — one ancient and one modern — of Circe, the definitive witch of Grecian lore and seductive sorceress of Odyssean fame. Waterhouse masterfully betrays her jealous cruelty in those cold, dark, uncaring eyes. Vying for the affection of a handsome lover, the hateful witch Circe poisons the placid pool where the her rival Scylla bathed…