Ajax grasps Cassandra to drag her away Attic red figure hydria, c. 480-475 BC
Attributed to the Kleophrades Painter
Naples, Museo Archeologico Nazionale 2422

In Greek mythology, Cassandra (Κασσάνδρα) ("she who entangles men") (also known as Alexandra) was a daughter of King Priam of Troy and his queen Hecuba, who captured the eye of Apollo and so was given the ability to see the future. However, when she did not return his love, he placed a curse on her so that no one would ever believe her predictions. Thus Cassandra foresees the destruction of Troy (she warns the Trojans about the Trojan Horse, the death of Agamemnon, and her own demise), but is unable to do anything about them. Coroebus and Othronus came to the aid of Troy out of love for Cassandra.

Ajax draggs Cassandra away from the statue of the goddess at which she had taken refuge. Lycurgus Painter, Red figure pottery, c. 370-360 BC [Source].

After the Trojan War, Cassandra is taken as a concubine and slave girl by King Agamemnon of Mycenae after being raped by Ajax. Unbeknownst to Agamemnon, while he was away at war, his wife, Clytemnestra, had begun an affair with Aegisthus. Upon Agamemnon and Cassandra's arrival in Mycenae, Clytemnestra asked her husband to walk across a purple carpet; he initially refused then gave in and entered, not believing Cassandra's warnings. Clytemnestra and Aegisthus then murdered Agamemnon, and then Cassandra. Some information says that Cassandra and Agamemnon have twin boys Teledamus and Pelops, who are killed by Aegisthus.

Homer. Iliad XXIV, 697-706; Homer. Odyssey XI, 405-434; Aeschylus. Agamemnon; Euripides. Trojan Women; Euripides. Electra; Apollodorus. Bibliotheke III, xii, 5; Apollodorus. Epitome V, 17-22; VI, 23; Virgil. Aeneid II, 246-49.

Ajax drags Cassandra from Palladium before eyes of Priam. Pompeii, House of Menander

Hector and Cassandra, Pomarici Santomasi, Eretria Painter

Cassandra flees the carnage

Ajax and Cassandra, Louvre G458

Cassandra prophecies MAR Naples , from Pompei

Ajax and Cassandra

In literature

Cassandra, Friedrich Schiller
Cassandra has been a very popular subject for tragedy and romance.
It is the name of a novel by the French writer La Calprenède.

Cassandra, Evelyn de Morgan

Cassandra Syndrome

The Cassandra Syndrome is a term applied to predictions of doom about the future that are not believed, but upon later reflection turn out to be correct. This denotes a psychological tendency among people to disbelieve inescapably bad news, often through denial. The person making the prediction is caught in the dilemma of knowing what is going to happen but not being able to resolve the problem.


Ajax the Lesser and Cassandra, Codros Painter, 440-430 BC (Detail)

Mythology Images

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