A daughter of Ares and Aphrodite, or, according to others, of Zeus and Electra, the daughter of Atlas, in Samothrace. When Athena assigned to Cadmus the government of Thebes, Zeus gave him Harmonia for his wife, and all the gods of Olympus were present at the marriage. Cadmus on that day made her a present of a peplus and a necklace, which he had received either from Hephaestus or from Europa.1 Other traditions stated that Harmonia received this necklace (ὅρμορ) from some of the gods, either from Aphrodite or Athena.2
Those who described Harmonia as a Samothracian related that Cadmus, on his voyage to Samothrace, after being initiated in the mysteries, perceived Harmonia, and carried her off with the assistance of Athena. When Cadmus was obliged to quit Thebes, Harmonia accompanied him. When they came to the Encheleans, they assisted them in their war against the Illyrians, and conquered the enemy. Cadmus then became king of the Illyrians, but afterwards he and Harmonia were metamorphosed into dragons and transferred to Elysium; or, according to others, they were carried thither in a chariot drawn by dracones.3
Harmonia is renowned in ancient story chiefly on account of the fatal necklace she received on her wedding day. Polynices, who inherited it, gave it to Eriphyle, that she might persuade her husband, Amphiaraus, to undertake the expedition against Thebes. 4 Through Alcmaeon, the son of Eriphyle, the necklace came into the hands of Arsinoe, next into those of the sons of Phegeus, Pronous and Agenor, and lastly into those of the sons of Alcmaeon, Amphoterus and Acarnan, who dedicated it in the temple of Athena Pronoea at Delphi.5
The necklace had wrought mischief to all who had been in possession of it, and it continued to do so even after it was dedicated at Delphi. Phayllus, the tyrant, stole it from the temple to gratify his mistress, the wife of Ariston. She wore it for a time, but at last her youngest son was seized with madness, and set fire to the house, in which she perished with all her treasures.6
- Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library iii, 4.2.
- Diodorus Siculus, iv, 48, v, 49; Pindar. Pythian Odes iii, 167; Statius. Thebaid ii, 266; comp. Hesiod. Theogony, 934; Homer. Hymn to Apollo, 195.
- Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library iii, 5.4; Euripides. Bacchae, 1233; Ovid. Metamorphoses iv, 562 ff.
- Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library iii, 6.2; Scholiast on Pindar's Pythian Odes iii, 167.
- Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library iii, 7.5-7.
- Athenaeus, vi, 232; Parthenius. Erotica Pathemata, 25.
- Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.
This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.