I know of the Necklace of Harmonica. The necklace was made by Hephaestus, given to the goddess Harmonia as a wedding gift:

Harmonia and her husband were eventually turned into serpents, and the necklace was inherited by their daughter, Semele. It also brought her demise, as the day she wore it, she was visited by a disguised Hera and was tricked into asking her lover, who was Zeus in disguise, to reveal himself; Zeus was forced to comply causing her instant death. The necklace later fell into the hands of Queen Jocasta, who remained young and beautiful thanks to it. She unknowingly married her son Oedipus, and when the truth was revealed, she killed herself, while Oedipus tore his eyes out. Polynices inherited the necklace and gifted it to Eriphyle, eventually leading to her demise as well. It then went into Arsinoe's hands, before finally reaching the hands of Amphoterus and Acarnan. They both decided to offer the necklace to the Temple of Athena in Delphi, in order to stop any further misfortunes. The necklace was stolen, however, by the tyrant Phayllus, who offered it to his lover; however, her son fell into madness, set fire to the house, killing everyone in there.

Source: greekmythology.com

Are there any other cursed items in Greek mythology? What is their history?

  • Do items that can not be taken off count as cursed? (Prometheus's ring) Commented Mar 21, 2018 at 15:34
  • If the item is cursed not to be taken off.. What is Prometheus's ring? Never heard of it. TELL ME!!! Commented Mar 21, 2018 at 16:40
  • 1
    Prometheus was punished, bound to a rock waiting for his punisment every day. Heracles freed him and killed the bird that was feeding on Prometheus. But the punishment did not end. Prometheus had to be bound to that rock forever, so he wore a ring with a piece of that rock and he could never take it off. Commented Mar 21, 2018 at 18:04
  • Interesting... I blame Zeus. Commented Mar 21, 2018 at 18:35

1 Answer 1


What immediately comes to mind is Pandora's Box, though whether that's a curse or a trap is up to interpretation. (The gods gave Pandora a jar containing all the evils of the world, sealed with magic; when she opened it, all the evil escaped, and that's why the world is so awful now.)

As Nuolen mentions in the comments, Prometheus was eternally bound to a mountainside where a carnivorous bird would eat his liver every day. Hercules broke his chains, but the "eternal binding" was still there. So Prometheus broke off a piece of rock from the mountainside and set it into a ring, which could never be taken off.

From Pliny the Elder:

primumque saxi eius fragmentum inclusum ferro ac digito circumdatum: hoc fuisse anulum et hoc gemmam.
[Prometheus] set a chip of this rock in iron, and wrapped it around his finger: this metal was the first ring, and this fragment the first gemstone.

(XXXVII.I.2-3, translation mine.)

Pliny also suggests that this myth is a misinterpretation, and that Prometheus's cursed item was actually a fetter, not a finger ring. But the idea behind it is the same.

If you want something that was designed to be cursed, rather than a trap or a loophole abuse, the Apples of the Hesperides may qualify. They're magically desirable so that anyone who sees them can't help wanting them. Hippomenes threw one over his shoulder to distract Atalantë so he could defeat her, for example, and Eris used one inscribed kallistēi ("for the most beautiful woman") to start the Trojan War—all the goddesses wanted it, and none was willing to give it up.

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