Αρμονια

There are two different legends about Harmonia, one of them Theban and the other linked to the worship of the gods of Samothrace. The legends have one point in common: in each of them, Harmonia was the wife of Cadmus.

  1. In the Theban legend, Harmonia was the daughter of Ares and Aphrodite. Zeus himself married her to Cadmus; the wedding took place on the Cadmea, the citadel of Thebes, and the gods attended it, as they did later for the marriage of Thetis and Peleus. They brought presents, the most famous of which was a robe and a necklace. The robe was a present from Athena (or Aphrodite), and had been woven by the Charities (Graces); the necklace was Hephaestus' gift. According to other stories, both the necklace and the robe were given to Harmonia by CADMUS himself, who had obtained them from Europa; she had been given them by Zeus as love offerings. Yet another tradition asserts that the robe had been made by Athena and Hephaestus, and were impregnated by those two deities with a philtre which poisoned Harmonia's children. The reason for this unkind action was the hatred Hephaestus and Athena felt for Harmonia, the love-child of Ares and Aphrodite. These two presents from the gods were destined to play an important role later in the legend of the Seven Chiefs (see ALCMAEON, AMPHIARAUS, and ERIPHYLE). Later still they became an ex-voto offering at Delphi, where they were stolen in the days of Philip of Macedon.

  2. In the Samothracian traditions, Harmonia was the daughter not of Ares and Aphrodite, but of Zeus and Electra, one of Atlas' daughters; she was therefore the sister of Dardanus and Iasion (Table 7). In other versions Cadmus met her as he made his way through the island, in search of his sister Europa who had been carried off by Zeus. Harmonia's marriage to Cadmus took place in Samothrace, in the same way as in the Theban tradition. It was also said that Cadmus had carried Harmonia off with Athena's help. Cadmus and Harmonia had several children (Table 3). At the end of their lives, they abandoned the throne of Thebes and went to Illyria, where they were eventually transformed into snakes.

The name Harmonia was also applied to the abstract concept of harmony and concord. There are no myths about this Harmonia. She was usually portrayed in the train of the Charities and of Aphrodite.

{E2 DICTIONARY OF CLASSICAL MYTHOLOGY}

A second Harmonia, a nymph, mated with Ares, and together they are the parents of the entire race of the Amazons. She is a very minor character in Greek mythology, and very little is written of her, other than to record her name.


Against all expectations, a harmonia is also a type of suture (an immovable joint) in which two bones are joined along a flat (or nearly flat) plane. The bones come firmly together with no overlap, and the apposing bones are usually smooth-surfaced. The lacrimomaxillary suture is a good example.

It is sometimes called a sutura plana or, most commonly, a plane suture.

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