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Jason, A Ship and Some Fleece.
Jason was the son of Aeson, the king of Ioclos in Thessaly. Pelias, Aeson brother seized the throne of Ioclos. Aeson feared Pelias would harm his sons, so he faked Jasons death and sent him to be raised by Chiron, a wise Centaur, who had also tutored Hercules. After Jason had grown up, he returned to challenge his uncle for the throne.
Pelias had offended Hera by not paying respect to her. In addition Pelias had killed a woman while she was clinging to Hera’s altar. Hera decided to help Jason to take his revenge on Pelias.
Jason was determined to return to the capital city. During the journey, he met up with an old woman who asked him to help her across a river. He carried her on his shoulders through the river and lost one of his sandals in the process. He did not realize the old woman was Hera in disguise. He continued to the city, less one sandal, to confront Pelias. Pelias heard of the man with one sandal and went to meet him. An oracle had predicted that a man wearing one sandal would cause his death. Jason told Pelias who he was and that he planned to recapture his throne. The rules of hospitality did not allow Pelias to deal with Jason directly without angering the gods. Pelias decided to send Jason away on an impossible journey.
Pelias promised the throne to Jason if he could return with the Golden Fleece. Jason traveled to Delphi to consult the oracle about how to complete his quest. He assembled a famous crew of divine and mortal men to help him on the quest.
So What Was This Golden Fleece Tale?
These heroes, fifty in number, were called the Argonauts, because they sailed with Jason in the ship Argo. After many adventures they reached the land of the fleece; and here Jason was aided by the king's daughter, Medea, who was a mighty sorceress. She charmed and then drugged the dragon, so that she and Jason escaped with the treasured prize. Being pursued by Medea's father and his followers, the heroes fled in the Argo and sailed onward. They kept following the coast-line, until at length they encircled the world, that is, the world of Europe as the ancients knew it, and in this manner got back to Greece, having been the first men to see all the wonders of the world.
The later fate of both Jason and Medea was tragic. He deserted her, and she in revenge slew their children. Then, according to one form of the story, she persuaded him to sleep under the shade of the old, rotting hull of the Argo, so that its timbers fell on him, and the ship which had been his glory caused his death.
Do Not Forget This Week's Discussion Question and Assignment.
© Ms. Stockman and Mrs. Collins. 2013