Necklace of Harmonia
Would you wear a necklace that promised eternal youth and beauty? What if it also came with a curse of great misfortune to go along with it? Apparently, the ladies of the House of Thebes thought it worth the risk.
When Hephaestus, blacksmith to the Olympic gods, discovered his wife, Aphrodite, cheating on him with Ares, he cursed any children born from the affair. And, yes, there was one. A daughter named Harmonia.
The little girl grew up and became engaged to Cadmus of Thebes. As a wedding present, Hephaestus forged the cursed necklace and gave it to the happy bride.
After wearing the gold necklace, fashioned as two serpents with open mouths to form a clasp, both Harmonia and Cadmus were later transformed into serpents.
The necklace passed down to Harmonia’s daughter, Semele. She wore it during a visit from Hera (remember her?) and insulted Zeus, insisting he prove his identity as a god to her. Semele was destroyed for her impertinence.
Queen Jocasta was another Thebes woman to wear it, allowing her to retain her youth and beauty. When her husband, King Laius, died, she married her son, Oedipus. That didn’t end well. Jocasta committed suicide and Oedipus gouged out his eyes.
Polynices then inherited the necklace and gave it to Eriphyle, so she could use it to persuade her husband to undertake an expedition against Thebes. Well, she died, along with her son Alcmaeon. Phegeus and his sons died as well.
Through a series of hops between daughters and sons, Amphoterus and Acarnan got smart and dedicated the necklace to the Temple of Athena at Delphi, hoping to stop the disasters among human wearers.
But not to leave well enough alone, the tyrant Phayllus stole the necklace from the Temple and gave it to his mistress. After she wore it her son was seized by madness and set fire to the house, killing her and burning all of her possessions.
One assumes the necklace went up in smoke too, since there are no other stories about it, but I’d be wary of any necklace that made me look youthful again. I’ll take my wrinkles as they come, thank you.
Next Monday I’ll be showcasing an excerpt from Wish the Awakening in anticipation of its Oct. 22nd release date so be sure to stop by and have a look!