The Necklace of Harmonia was an object that brought misfortune to most of its owners. It was originally a wedding gift from Hephaestus, the blacksmith god, to the goddess Harmonia for her wedding to the King of Thebes, Cadmus.
Hephaestus had caught his wife Aphrodite having an affair with Ares, god of war. Hephaestus claimed that any child produced from this union would be cursed. Harmonia was the daughter of Aphrodite and Ares, and on her wedding day, he gave her the necklace he had crafted and cursed to bring misfortune to anyone who possessed it.
Although cursed, the necklace was also said to bring eternal youth and beauty. It was highly coveted by women of the House of Thebes. According to myth, the necklace had the shape of two serpents using their mouths to form a clasp and was made from gold and jewels.
Harmonia and her husband were turned into serpents, and their daughter, Semele, inherited the necklace. The necklace also destroyed Semele. On the day she wore it, she was forced by Hera to reveal her lover, who had been Zeus in disguise. Semele foolishly demanded that Zeus prove himself and his power, and this led to her destruction.
Generations later, the great grandson of Cadmus, King Laius gave the necklace to his wife Jacosta. She remained young and beautiful thanks to the power of the necklace. After King Laius was unwittingly killed by Oedipus, their abandoned son, Jacosta married her own son, unaware of his identity. The great misery she felt after realizing the truth led Jacosta to hang herself, and the necklace was inherited by Polynices.
Polynices gifted the necklace to Eriphyle, and after her demise, it went to Arsinoe, and then finally Amphoterus and Acarnan. In order to stop further destruction and misery, Amphoterus and Acarnan offered the necklace to the Temple of Athena in Delphi.
The Necklace of Harmonia was then stolen by the tyrant Phayllus. He gave the necklace to his lover, and her son fell into madness. He set fire to their home and killed everyone inside. It is unknown whether the necklace existed after the fire, as this is the last known mention of its curse.
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