In Greek mythology, Circe was a goddess living on the island of Aeaea (identified by classical writers with a mountain on Cape Circaeum on the western coast of Italy, which may have looked like an island due to the marshes and ocean surrounding its base) in the Aegean Sea. Her father was Helios, the Sun god, and her mother was Perse, an Oceanid; she was sister of Aeetes, the king of Colchis. She transformed her enemies, or those who offended her, into animals through the use of magical potions. She turned Picus into a woodpecker for refusing her love, and Scylla into a monsterous creature with six dogs' heads when Glaucus (another object of Circe's affection) declared his undying love for her.
In Homer's Odyssey, her home is described as a stone mansion standing in the middle of a clearing in a dense wood. Around the house prowled lions and wolves, the drugged victims of her magic; they were not dangerous, and fawned on all newcomers. Circe worked at a huge loom. She invited Odysseus' crew to a feast, the food laced with one of her magical potions, and she them all into pigs with a wand after they gorged themselves on it. Only Eurylochus, suspecting treachery from the outset, escaped to warn Odysseus and the others who had stayed behind at the ships. Odysseus set out to rescue his men, but was intercepted and told by Hermes to procure some of the herb moly to protect him from the same fate. When her magic failed he was able to force her to return his men to human form. She later fell in love with Odysseus and assisted him in his quest to reach his home after he and his crew spent a year with her on her island.
The Italians believe that Circe bore Odysseus three sons; Telegonus, Argius, and Latinus. She sent Telegonus to find Odysseus, who had long since returned to his home on Ithaca, but on arrival Telegonus accidentally killed his father. He brought the body back to Aeaea and took Odysseus' widow Penelope and son Telemachus with him. Circe made them immortal and married Telemachus, while Telegonus made Penelope his wife.