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Category Archives: Jason and the Argonauts

Jason and the Quest for the Golden Fleece

by March 18, 2013

Some superhero stories feature perfect wonder men or women, conquering the world and beating the bad guys. Other legends include characters with tragic flaws, which lead to their ultimate demise. While another category portrays bigger than life stars with pathetically human traits. Jason and the Argonauts fulfill this last description.

Jason, the rightful king of Iolcos, and his Greek gang of half gods and magical men, made numerous bad decisions on their quest for the golden fleece, spurned on by lust, ignorance and pride. They also completed their fantastic mission while vanquishing monsters, employing quick wittedness as well as making important friends. The result is an amazing adventure full of mishaps, apologies and the thing which all Greek heros seem to seek – glory.

Jason and the quest for the golden fleece

Hypsipyle putting her father out to sea

After Jason banded together the team, named the Argonauts after their ship, The Argo, they set sail for Lemnos. This small island was notorious for its foul-smelling women. The ladies foolishly incurred Aphrodite’s wrath and were punished by an odious odor, which had their men running to the arms of the mainland concubines. Enraged, the Lemnos women murdered the island’s males in their sleep, except for the king who was put to sea in a chest. It was then just females, who were ruled by the King’s daughter, Hypsipyle… until Jason and the Argonauts landed.

Finding the island free of competition, the ‘glorious’ group had their way with the inhabitants… all of them. Jason, himself, fathered twins with the ruler, Hypsipyle. All this mingling lead to a new “race” called Minyae. Eventually the Argonauts were pressured to leave by Heracles, usually the epitome of a philandering fellow, who was disgusted by the sailors’ antics at port.

This time the heroic team set anchor in the land of Doliones, ruled by the gracious king Cyzicus. After enjoying royal treatment, Jason was gifted with important information about the land beyond Bear Mountain. Unfortunately, some crucial details were conspicuously absent. The region had giants. Giants, swaddled in leather loincloths, who each miraculously possessed six arms.

Gegenees, the six armed giants

The six armed Giants

While the Argonauts were doing their usual and necessary forging, the earthborn gargantuas made a break for the ship, which was guarded by only a few men. Jason’s team, however, had the mythical Heracles, who managed to kill almost all of them before the leader returned. Together they killed the rest of the giants and set sail again.

Now the Argonauts were back on the seas, off towards their next destination. Then fate swirled her wand and the Greek group of superheroes lost their way. Muddled and confused, they finally arrived on land late at night and were mistaken as enemies… by their friends the Doliones. A battle ensued in which the Argonauts emerged victorious, although not without killing their previously kind host, King Cyzicus.

When the dust settled, and the sun rose, the Argonauts realised their horrendous mistake. Sadly, they held a funeral and cast out to sea once more… this time to Thrace…


Read Part Three here: http://classicalwisdom.com/jason-the-colchis-days/

 

“Jason and the Quest for the Golden Fleece” was written by Anya Leonard

The myth of Jason and the Argonauts

by March 4, 2013

Imagine a group of superheroes, each with their own special power, traveling around on wild, improbable adventures. There is the guy who can fly, another with super strength and yet another fellow with a secret, unbeatable weapon. And of course there is also the captain of the team, usually an “all around good guy” who’s almost an everyman… if it wasn’t for his quick-witted thinking and problem solving.

This is the Argonauts, a fantastic ancient Greek gang, complete with a cool name and trusty boat to speed them on their way.

myth of jason and the argonauts

Jason and the Argonauts

The main man leading the group is Jason. In his cadre of killers are famous myth makers such as the Boreads (sons of Boreas, the North Wind) who could fly, Heracles, Philoctetes, Peleus, Telamon, Orpheus, Castor and Pollux, Atalanta, and Euphemus.

Their mission? To help Jason take his rightful place as king. To accomplish this quest, however, the band of heroes must fetch the golden fleece…. which is hung from a tree in the grove of the Colchian Ares, guarded night and day by a dragon that never sleeps.

Back up a minute.. you might say. A golden fleece? A displaced price? A fire breathing dragon? How did this all happen in the first place? How did our greek myth get to this fantastic junction point, filled with monsters, martyrs and missions?

It began, like many great stories, with a power struggle. Not pleased at being second to the throne, our stereotypical baddie, Pelias, killed his half-brother and rightful king, Aeson. Not only that, Pelias murdered all of Aeson’s descendents to be rid of his competition.

After the familial slaughtering, Pelias was still worried that one day he would be overthrown. He consulted with an oracle to be certain and was dismayed at the news: Be wary of the man with one sandal.

Unfortunately for Pelias, the oracle was right. Aeson’s infant son, Jason, miraculously survived.

When the executions began, Jason’s mother ordered the women to cluster around the baby and cry as if he was still-born. Thus they successfully deceived the wrathful uncle that he was not alive. Afterwards she sent Jason away to be educated with the centaur Chiron, knowing his life would be in danger if Pelias found out the truth.

Jason grew up to be a strong, capable man who was determined to return to his hometown and take back his rightful throne.

One day Pelias decided to throw a few games in honor of his alleged father, the god Poseidon. This was the perfect opportunity for Jason to visit. On the way, he crossed a river to help an old woman (who, fantastically enough, was the goddess Hera) and he lost his shoe. When Jason was announced as the man with one sandal, the fearful uncle knew the time had come. Pelias could not kill his nephew, however, in front of all the gathered kings and spectators, so he sent Jason on a misson, one he thought was impossible to accomplish…

The myth of Jason and the argonauts starts with the boat The Argo

The Argo (ca. 1500-1530), painting by Lorenzo Costa

He told Jason this: “To take my throne, which you shall, you must go on a quest to find the Golden Fleece.” Jason happily accepted.

Jason then assembled his super team of monster vanquishing men, and embarked in their famous ship, the Argo. Their first stop? The island of Lemnos, known for the foul smelling, men-killing women who inhabit the place.

And so, the myth of Jason and the Argonauts began…

Read Part Two here: http://classicalwisdom.com/jason-and-the-quest-for-the-golden-fleece/