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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

enchantress of the isle of Aea who transformed into swine those who drank from her cup ("Odyssey"), late 14c., from Latin Circe, from Greek Kirke. Related: Circean.


n. 1 (context Greek mythology English) An enchantress who turned Odysseus' men into pigs. 2 (context astronomy English) Short for (w: 34 Circe), a main belt asteroid.


In Greek mythology, Circe (; Greek Κίρκη Kírkē ) is a goddess of magic (or sometimes a nymph, witch, enchantress or sorceress. By most accounts, Circe was the daughter of Helios, the god of the sun, and Perse, an Oceanid. Her brothers were Aeetes, the keeper of the Golden Fleece, and Perses. Her sister was Pasiphaë, the wife of King Minos and mother of the Minotaur. Other accounts make her the daughter of Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft herself.

Circe was renowned for her vast knowledge of potions and herbs. Through the use of magical potions and a wand or a staff, she transformed her enemies, or those who offended her, into animals. Some say she was exiled to the solitary island of Aeaea by her subjects and her father for ending the life of her husband, the prince of Colchis. Later traditions tell of her leaving or even destroying the island and moving to Italy, where she was identified with Cape Circeo.

Circe (comics)

Circe is a fictional character appearing in DC Comics publications and related media. Based upon the Greek mythological figure of the same name who imprisoned Odysseus in Homer's Odyssey, she is a wicked sorceress and a major adversary of Wonder Woman. Circe first appeared as a ravishing blonde in 1949 in Wonder Woman, vol. 1, issue #37, written by Robert Kanigher and illustrated by Harry G. Peter. She would make a Silver Age return, going from blonde to raven-haired, to battle Rip Hunter in Showcase #21 in 1959 (written by Jack Miller and illustrated by Mike Sekowsky), followed by multiple appearances as a foil and sometimes-ally for Superman and Supergirl in Action Comics and Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane. In 1962 her "creator" Robert Kanigher pitted her against the Sea Devils in Sea Devils #3, illustrated by Russ Heath. She would get a Bronze Age makeover (this time with auburn hair) in 1983's Wonder Woman #302, by Dan Mishkin and Gene Colan, making multiple appearances over the next two years. Circe would be re-imagined in June 1988, by comics writer/artist George Pérez as part of his reboot of the Wonder Woman mythos. This version, with red-eyes and violet hair, would become one of Wonder Woman's principle post-Crisis foes. Circe was re-introduced yet again in 2011 in Men of War (vol. 2) #2, as part of the DC Comics continuity-reboot known as The New 52. This version of the character, with blood-red hair and pale white skin, was written by Ivan Brandon and illustrated by Tom Derenick.

Hair color aside, all of these versions of Circe have retained a set of key features: immortality, stunning physical beauty, a powerful command over sorcery, a penchant for turning human beings into animals (like her mythological antecedent), and a delight in humiliation.

Circe (film)

Circe is a 1964 Argentine film directed by Manuel Antín. It was entered into the 14th Berlin International Film Festival.

The film is based on a short story by Julio Cortazar, published in 1951. Its main theme is about perverse sexual gratification in a repressed Catholic environment. Delia Mañara is notorious in her quarter of Buenos Aires for the mysterious deaths of two of her fiancés. She lives in a twilight world and gains most satisfaction through the exercise of power over others. It emerges that she killed the two men by poisoning them with the sweets she makes; when this fails with her third fiancé, he is freed from her fatal attraction by the knowledge.

Circe (cable system)

Circe is a submarine communications cable that connects network switches in the United Kingdom with those in Belgium, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. It was built at a cost of US$1 billion by Viatel in the late 1990s and measures up to 8,700 km in total length. According to a 1998 Bloomberg Businessweek article, Circe is one of the first cross-border fibre-optics networks in Europe.

In 2013, media reports revealed that communication passing through Circe is being secretly monitored by the British intelligence agency GCHQ as part of its ongoing surveillance project.

Circé (Desmarets)

Circé (Circe) is an opera by the French composer Henri Desmarets, first performed at the Académie Royale de Musique (the Paris Opera) on 1 October 1694. It takes the form of a tragédie en musique in a prologue and five acts. The libretto by Louise-Geneviève Gillot de Saintonge, concerns the sorceress Circe who appears in Greek mythology and famously in Homer's Odyssey.

Circe (disambiguation)

Circe was a goddess or sorceress in Greek mythology.

Circe may also refer to:


  • HMS Circe, several ships of the British Royal Navy
  • USS Circe, two United States Navy ships
  • Circé-class submarine (1907), deployed by the French Navy before and during World War I
    • French submarine Circé (Q 47), a submarine of that class sunk in September 1918.
  • Circé class submarine, deployed by the French Navy before and during World War II
    • French submarine Circé, a submarine of that class scuttled in 1943.
  • Circe, a Spica class torpedo boat of the Royal Italian Navy


  • Mount Circe, Antarctica
  • Dome C, also known as Dome Circe, a summit or dome of the Antarctic Ice Sheet
  • Circe, one of 15 quadrangles (regions) of Tethys, a moon of Saturn (see List of quadrangles on Tethys)
  • 34 Circe, a large, main-belt asteroid

In Entertainment:

  • Circe chess, a variant of chess
  • Circe (film), a 1964 Argentine film
  • La Circe, an opera by Josef Mysliveček
  • Circe (comics) a DC comics character
  • Circé (opera), by Henri Desmarets
  • Circé, a machine play by Thomas Corneille
  • Circe; Rex's main love interest, sweetheart and only girlfriend in the popular (though canceled) animated series, Generator Rex.

Other uses:

  • Hestina nama, a brush-footed butterfly commonly known as the Circe
  • Circe (software), an Emacs-based Internet Relay Chat client

Usage examples of "circe".

And he ordained that by the counsels of Aeaean Circe they should cleanse themselves from the terrible stain of blood and suffer countless woes before their return.

Tiresias and Aeaean Circe too: time and again they told me to shun this island of the Sun, the joy of man.

Polydeuces and Castor pray to the immortal gods first to grant a path through the Ausonian sea where they should find Circe, daughter of Perse and Helios.

There are the episodes of Ulysses and Calypso, Ulysses and Circe, Numa and Egeria, Rinaldo and Armida, Prince Ahmed and Peri Banou.

Circe and Maskelyne, standing beside Gowen, stopped their questioning, and they too looked toward Galen.

He supported his argument by asserting that the writer was clearly more familiar with homelife than the sea and contending that Nausicaa used the story to frame portraits of the great Greek heroines: Calypso, Circe, and Penelope, for instance.

CIRCE against us implies that our beachheads have indeed trapped one or more of its components out of their reach.

Soon they would find themselves facing CIRCE, and the Peacekeepers would have the final word.

The Peacekeepers could take the time to well and properly seal the tectonic station, and this potential threat to a possible CIRCE component would be finished.

But even as he envisioned those invulnerable Zhirrzh warships armed with CIRCE weapons, the face of Melinda Cavanagh floated into view.

Circe couldn't maintain her braced chokehold on Standing Bear without risking breaking Alacrity's neck in the press.

Like that witch Circe, oft besung, Thou hast dear gifts, if thou wouldst give.

A voyage of this kind is by no means an easy undertaking, when there are Circes and Calypsos assailing one on every side.

But at least the next stop was Aeaea, where Odysseus had promised to get them a good feasting with plenty of meat and sweet wine from Circe.

On their route back to Hellas, Medea and Jason stopped at Aeaea, the isle of the enchantress Circe, who was Medea's aunt and sister to King Aeëtes.