The Odyssey by Homer (Translation by Robert Fitzgerald)
Circe is the daughter of the ancient sun god Helios, goddess of magic and expert herbalist. She appears in many Greek myths but most famously in Homer’s version of the tale of Odysseus and his wandering journey home from the war on Troy. On the run from a fierce race of giants, Odysseus and his men pitch up on a remote island and discover a mysterious stone hall surrounded by wolves and mountain lions that are tame as dogs. They also discover a beautiful woman:
‘Low she sang
in her beguiling voice, while on her loom
she wove ambrosial fabric sheer and bright,
by that craft known to the goddesses of heaven.’
Circe tricks and drugs a group of the sailors, turning them into pigs, but Odysseus is forewarned and protected against her spell. He’s not immune to her offer to sleep with him though, and thus Odysseus and his band of brothers lose a spellbound year in Circe’s magic hall, feasting on ‘roast meats and ruddy wine’. Note: no information is supplied by Homer as to which herbs turn men into swine.