Harmonia in Greek mythology
In Greek mythology, Harmonia is the goddess of harmony and concord. Her Roman counterpart is Concordia.
Here’s a brief overview of Harmonia in Greek mythological tales:
In the myth, Harmonia is usually described as the daughter of Ares (Mars in Roman mythology), the god of war, and Aphrodite (Venus in Roman mythology), the goddess of love. This union symbolically brought together both war and love to produce harmony.
READ MORE: The Birth of Aphrodite in Greek Mythology
Marriage to Cadmus
Harmonia is best known for her marriage to Cadmus, the founder and first king of Thebes. Their wedding was celebrated with grandeur, attended by many gods and goddesses.
At the wedding, she received several divine gifts, including a robe and necklace made by Hephaestus, which would later be considered cursed due to the misfortunes that befell its wearers.
READ MORE: Most Famous Heroes in Greek Mythology
Despite the initial joys of her marriage, Harmonia’s life was filled with tragedies, most of which resulted from the crimes committed by her husband and her father-in-law against the god Ares and the serpent sacred to Ares. As a punishment, she and Cadmus were eventually turned into serpents.
However, there’s a brighter end to their story in some versions, wherein after being turned into serpents, they were transported to the Elysian Fields, a paradise for the blessed.
Harmonia and Cadmus had several children, all of whom faced tragic ends or significant challenges. Their offspring included Agave (who would later, in a frenzied state, kill her own son Pentheus), Ino (who leapt into the sea with her son to escape her crazed husband and was transformed into a sea deity), Semele (the mortal mother of Dionysus by Zeus, who died when she saw Zeus in his true form), and Polydorus (the successor to Cadmus as king of Thebes).
Role and Worship
While Harmonia wasn’t a major deity in the Greek pantheon, she was invoked as a symbol of harmony and unity, especially during times of conflict or discord. In this sense, she embodied the harmony of opposites, fitting given her parentage. There were shrines and cults dedicated to her, particularly in Thebes.
READ MORE: Sons of Zeus, including Ares and Hermes
The Necklace of Harmonia
The necklace given to Harmonia by Hephaestus was said to bring misfortune to its wearer, despite its divine origins. It became a recurring motif in various Greek myths, bringing calamity to multiple generations. For example, it was through this necklace that Queen Jocasta of Thebes, its eventual possessor, became both the wife and mother of Oedipus, leading to the tragic events of the Oedipus tale.