Jason

Jason

Overview
Jason was a late ancient Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 mythological
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

 hero from the late 10th Century BC, famous as the leader of the Argonauts
Argonauts
The Argonauts ) were a band of heroes in Greek mythology who, in the years before the Trojan War, accompanied Jason to Colchis in his quest to find the Golden Fleece. Their name comes from their ship, the Argo, which was named after its builder, Argus. "Argonauts", therefore, literally means...

 and their quest for the Golden Fleece
Golden Fleece
In Greek mythology, the Golden Fleece is the fleece of the gold-haired winged ram, which can be procured in Colchis. It figures in the tale of Jason and his band of Argonauts, who set out on a quest by order of King Pelias for the fleece in order to place Jason rightfully on the throne of Iolcus...

. He was the son of Aeson
Aeson
In Greek mythology, Aeson or Aison was the son of Cretheus and Tyro, who also had his brothers Pheres and Amythaon. Aeson was the father of Jason and Promachus with Polymede, the daughter of Autolycus. Other sources say the mother of his children was Alcimede or Amphinome...

, the rightful king of Iolcus. He was married to the sorceress Medea
Medea
Medea is a woman in Greek mythology. She was the daughter of King Aeëtes of Colchis, niece of Circe, granddaughter of the sun god Helios, and later wife to the hero Jason, with whom she had two children, Mermeros and Pheres. In Euripides's play Medea, Jason leaves Medea when Creon, king of...

.

Jason appeared in various literature in the classical world of Greece and Rome, including the epic poem Argonautica and tragedy, Medea
Medea (play)
Medea is an ancient Greek tragedy written by Euripides, based upon the myth of Jason and Medea and first produced in 431 BC. The plot centers on the barbarian protagonist as she finds her position in the Greek world threatened, and the revenge she takes against her husband Jason who has betrayed...

. In the modern world, Jason has emerged as a character in various adaptations of his myths, such as the 1963 film Jason and the Argonauts and the 2000 TV miniseries of the same name.

Jason has connections outside of the classical world, as he is seen as being the mythical founder of the city of Ljubljana
Ljubljana
Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia and its largest city. It is the centre of the City Municipality of Ljubljana. It is located in the centre of the country in the Ljubljana Basin, and is a mid-sized city of some 270,000 inhabitants...

, the capital of Slovenia
Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

.

Pelias
Pelias
Pelias was king of Iolcus in Greek mythology, the son of Tyro and Poseidon. His wife is recorded as either Anaxibia, daughter of Bias, or Phylomache, daughter of Amphion. He was the father of Acastus, Pisidice, Alcestis, Pelopia, Hippothoe, Asteropia, and Antinoe.Tyro was married to Cretheus...

 (Aeson's half-brother) was very power-hungry, and he wished to gain dominion over all of Thessaly
Thessaly
Thessaly is a traditional geographical region and an administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey....

.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Jason'
Start a new discussion about 'Jason'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Recent Discussions
Encyclopedia
Jason was a late ancient Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 mythological
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

 hero from the late 10th Century BC, famous as the leader of the Argonauts
Argonauts
The Argonauts ) were a band of heroes in Greek mythology who, in the years before the Trojan War, accompanied Jason to Colchis in his quest to find the Golden Fleece. Their name comes from their ship, the Argo, which was named after its builder, Argus. "Argonauts", therefore, literally means...

 and their quest for the Golden Fleece
Golden Fleece
In Greek mythology, the Golden Fleece is the fleece of the gold-haired winged ram, which can be procured in Colchis. It figures in the tale of Jason and his band of Argonauts, who set out on a quest by order of King Pelias for the fleece in order to place Jason rightfully on the throne of Iolcus...

. He was the son of Aeson
Aeson
In Greek mythology, Aeson or Aison was the son of Cretheus and Tyro, who also had his brothers Pheres and Amythaon. Aeson was the father of Jason and Promachus with Polymede, the daughter of Autolycus. Other sources say the mother of his children was Alcimede or Amphinome...

, the rightful king of Iolcus. He was married to the sorceress Medea
Medea
Medea is a woman in Greek mythology. She was the daughter of King Aeëtes of Colchis, niece of Circe, granddaughter of the sun god Helios, and later wife to the hero Jason, with whom she had two children, Mermeros and Pheres. In Euripides's play Medea, Jason leaves Medea when Creon, king of...

.

Jason appeared in various literature in the classical world of Greece and Rome, including the epic poem Argonautica and tragedy, Medea
Medea (play)
Medea is an ancient Greek tragedy written by Euripides, based upon the myth of Jason and Medea and first produced in 431 BC. The plot centers on the barbarian protagonist as she finds her position in the Greek world threatened, and the revenge she takes against her husband Jason who has betrayed...

. In the modern world, Jason has emerged as a character in various adaptations of his myths, such as the 1963 film Jason and the Argonauts and the 2000 TV miniseries of the same name.

Jason has connections outside of the classical world, as he is seen as being the mythical founder of the city of Ljubljana
Ljubljana
Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia and its largest city. It is the centre of the City Municipality of Ljubljana. It is located in the centre of the country in the Ljubljana Basin, and is a mid-sized city of some 270,000 inhabitants...

, the capital of Slovenia
Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

.

Early years


Pelias
Pelias
Pelias was king of Iolcus in Greek mythology, the son of Tyro and Poseidon. His wife is recorded as either Anaxibia, daughter of Bias, or Phylomache, daughter of Amphion. He was the father of Acastus, Pisidice, Alcestis, Pelopia, Hippothoe, Asteropia, and Antinoe.Tyro was married to Cretheus...

 (Aeson's half-brother) was very power-hungry, and he wished to gain dominion over all of Thessaly
Thessaly
Thessaly is a traditional geographical region and an administrative region of Greece, comprising most of the ancient region of the same name. Before the Greek Dark Ages, Thessaly was known as Aeolia, and appears thus in Homer's Odyssey....

. Pelias was the product of a union between their shared mother, Tyro
Tyro
In Greek mythology, Tyro was the daughter of Salmoneus and married Cretheus, but loved Enipeus. She gave birth to Pelias and Neleus, the twin sons of Poseidon. With Cretheus she had Aeson, Pheres, and Amythaon....

 ("high born Tyro") the daughter of Salmoneus
Salmoneus
In Greek mythology, Salmoneus was the son of Aeolus and Enarete, the brother of Athamas, Sisyphus, Cretheus, Perieres, Deionus, Canace, Alcyone, and Perimede. Salmoneus was the father of Tyro by his first wife Alcidice, the second one being Sidero....

, and allegedly the sea god Poseidon
Poseidon
Poseidon was the god of the sea, and, as "Earth-Shaker," of the earthquakes in Greek mythology. The name of the sea-god Nethuns in Etruscan was adopted in Latin for Neptune in Roman mythology: both were sea gods analogous to Poseidon...

. In a bitter feud, he overthrew Aeson (the rightful king), killing all the descendants of Aeson that he could. He spared his half-brother for unknown reasons. Alcimede I
Alcimede
In Greek mythology, Alcimede was one of the matrilineal Minyan daughters, the daughter of Clymene, Minyas' daughter. She was the mother of Jason by Aeson, whom she met in the caves below Iolcus in Thessaly, a chthonic lair where the rightful king Aeson had been imprisoned by his evil...

 (wife of Aeson) already had an infant son named Jason whom she saved from being killed by Pelias, by having women cluster around the newborn and cry as if he were still-born. Alcimede sent her son to the centaur
Centaur
In Greek mythology, a centaur or hippocentaur is a member of a composite race of creatures, part human and part horse...

 Chiron
Chiron
In Greek mythology, Chiron was held to be the superlative centaur among his brethren.-History:Like the satyrs, centaurs were notorious for being wild and lusty, overly indulgent drinkers and carousers, given to violence when intoxicated, and generally uncultured delinquents...

 for education, for fear that Pelias would kill him — she claimed that she had been having an affair with him all along. Pelias, still fearful that he would one day be overthrown, consulted an oracle
Oracle
In Classical Antiquity, an oracle was a person or agency considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophetic predictions or precognition of the future, inspired by the gods. As such it is a form of divination....

 which warned him to beware of a man with one sandal.

Many years later, Pelias was holding games
Olympic Games
The Olympic Games is a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games have come to be regarded as the world’s foremost sports competition where more than 200 nations participate...

 in honor of the sea god and his alleged father, Poseidon, when Jason arrived in Iolcus and lost one of his sandals in the river Anauros ("wintry Anauros"), while helping an old woman to cross (the Goddess Hera
Hera
Hera was the wife and one of three sisters of Zeus in the Olympian pantheon of Greek mythology and religion. Her chief function was as the goddess of women and marriage. Her counterpart in the religion of ancient Rome was Juno. The cow and the peacock were sacred to her...

 in disguise). She blessed him for she knew, as goddesses do, what Pelias had up his sleeve. When Jason entered Iolcus (modern-day city of Volos
Volos
Volos is a coastal port city in Thessaly situated midway on the Greek mainland, about 326 km north of Athens and 215 km south of Thessaloniki...

), he was announced as a man wearing one sandal. Jason, knowing that he was the rightful king, told Pelias that and Pelias said, "To take my throne, which you shall, you must go on a quest to find the Golden Fleece." Jason happily accepted the quest.

The Quest for the Golden Fleece


Jason assembled a great group of heroes, known as the Argonauts
Argonauts
The Argonauts ) were a band of heroes in Greek mythology who, in the years before the Trojan War, accompanied Jason to Colchis in his quest to find the Golden Fleece. Their name comes from their ship, the Argo, which was named after its builder, Argus. "Argonauts", therefore, literally means...

 after their ship, the Argo
Argo
In Greek mythology, the Argo was the ship on which Jason and the Argonauts sailed from Iolcos to retrieve the Golden Fleece. It was named after its builder, Argus.-Legend:...

. The group of heroes included the Boreads
Boreads
The Boreads, in Greek mythology, were Calaïs and Zetes . They were the sons of Boreas and Oreithyia, daughter of King Erechtheus of Athens...

 (sons of Boreas, the North Wind) who could fly, Heracles
Heracles
Heracles ,born Alcaeus or Alcides , was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson of Perseus...

, Philoctetes
Philoctetes
Philoctetes or Philocthetes according to Greek mythology, the son of King Poeas of Meliboea in Thessaly. He was a Greek hero, famed as an archer, and was a participant in the Trojan War. He was the subject of at least two plays by Sophocles, one of which is named after him, and one each by both...

, Peleus
Peleus
In Greek mythology, Pēleus was a hero whose myth was already known to the hearers of Homer in the late 8th century BCE. Peleus was the son of Aeacus, king of the island of Aegina, and Endeïs, the oread of Mount Pelion in Thessaly; he was the father of Achilles...

, Telamon
Telamon
In Greek mythology, Telamon , son of the king Aeacus, of Aegina, and Endeis and brother of Peleus, accompanied Jason as one of his Argonauts, and was present at the hunt for the Calydonian Boar. In the Iliad he was the father of Greek heroes Ajax the Great and Teucer the Archer by different...

, Orpheus
Orpheus
Orpheus was a legendary musician, poet, and prophet in ancient Greek religion and myth. The major stories about him are centered on his ability to charm all living things and even stones with his music; his attempt to retrieve his wife from the underworld; and his death at the hands of those who...

, Castor and Pollux
Castor and Pollux
In Greek and Roman mythology, Castor and Pollux or Polydeuces were twin brothers, together known as the Dioscuri . Their mother was Leda, but Castor was the mortal son of Tyndareus, king of Sparta, and Pollux the divine son of Zeus, who visited Leda in the guise of a swan...

, Atalanta
Atalanta
Atalanta is a character in Greek mythology.-Legend:Atalanta was the daughter of Iasus , a Boeotian or an Arcadian princess . She is often described as a goddess. Apollodorus is the only one who gives an account of Atalanta’s birth and upbringing...

, and Euphemus
Euphemus
Euphemus in Greek mythology was a son of Poseidon, an Argonaut connected with the legend of the foundation of Cyrene.Euphemus is also a character mentioned in in Book II of the Iliad.- Greek mythology :...

.

The Isle of Lemnos


The isle of Lemnos
Lemnos
Lemnos is an island of Greece in the northern part of the Aegean Sea. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within the Lemnos peripheral unit, which is part of the North Aegean Periphery. The principal town of the island and seat of the municipality is Myrina...

 is situated off the Western coast of Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 (modern day Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

). The island was inhabited by a race of women who had killed their husbands. The women had neglected their worship of Aphrodite
Aphrodite
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation.Her Roman equivalent is the goddess .Historically, her cult in Greece was imported from, or influenced by, the cult of Astarte in Phoenicia....

, and as a punishment the goddess made the women so foul in stench that their husbands could not bear to be near them. The men then took concubines from the Thracian
Thrace
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

 mainland opposite, and the spurned women, angry at Aphrodite, killed all the male inhabitants while they slept. The king, Thoas
Thoas
Thoas , son of Andraemon and Gorge, was one of the heroes who fought for the Greeks in the Trojan War. He was a former suitor of Helen of Troy and led a group of forty ships for the Aetolians, one of the larger contingents. In the Iliad it states that he received his lordship because the previous...

, was saved by Hypsipyle
Hypsipyle
In Greek mythology, Hypsipyle was the Queen of Lemnos, daughter of Thoas and Myrina.During her reign, Aphrodite cursed the women of the island for having neglected her shrines. All the women developed extreme body odor that made them repugnant to the men of the nation. The men took up with...

, his daughter, who put him out to sea sealed in a chest from which he was later rescued. The women of Lemnos lived for a while without men, with Hypsipyle
Hypsipyle
In Greek mythology, Hypsipyle was the Queen of Lemnos, daughter of Thoas and Myrina.During her reign, Aphrodite cursed the women of the island for having neglected her shrines. All the women developed extreme body odor that made them repugnant to the men of the nation. The men took up with...

 as their queen.

During the visit of the Argonauts the women mingled with the men creating a new "race" called Minyae. Jason fathered twins with the queen. Heracles pressured them to leave as he was disgusted by the antics of the Argonauts. He hadn't taken part, which is truly unusual considering the numerous affairs he had with other women. Note: In "Hercules, My Shipmate" Robert Graves
Robert Graves
Robert von Ranke Graves 24 July 1895 – 7 December 1985 was an English poet, translator and novelist. During his long life he produced more than 140 works...

 claims that Heracles fathered more children than anyone else of the crew.

Cyzicus


After Lemnos the Argonauts landed among the Doliones, whose king Cyzicus treated them graciously. He told them about the land beyond Bear Mountain, but forgot to mention what lived there. What lived in the land beyond Bear Mountain were the Gegeines which are a tribe of Earthborn giants with six arms and wore leather loincloths. While most of the crew went into the forest to search for supplies, the Gegeines saw that a few Argonauts were guarding the ship and raided it. Heracles
Heracles
Heracles ,born Alcaeus or Alcides , was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson of Perseus...

 was among those guarding the ship at the time and managed to kill most them until Jason and the others returned. Once some of the other Gegeines were killed, Jason and the Argonauts set sail.

Sometime after their fight with the Gegeines, they sent some men to find food and water. Among these men was Heracles' servant Hylas
Hylas
In Greek mythology, Hylas was the son of King Theiodamas of the Dryopians. Roman sources such as Ovid state that Hylas' father was Hercules and his mother was the nymph Melite, or that his mother was the wife of Theiodamas, whose adulterous affair with Heracles caused the war between him and her...

 who was gathering water while Heracles was out finding some wood to carve a new oar to replace the one that broke. The nymph
Nymph
A nymph in Greek mythology is a female minor nature deity typically associated with a particular location or landform. Different from gods, nymphs are generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature, and are usually depicted as beautiful, young nubile maidens who love to dance and sing;...

s of the stream where Hylas was collecting were attracted to his good looks, and pulled him into the stream. Heracles returned to his Labors, but Hylas was lost forever. Others say that Heracles went to Colchis
Colchis
In ancient geography, Colchis or Kolkhis was an ancient Georgian state kingdom and region in Western Georgia, which played an important role in the ethnic and cultural formation of the Georgian nation.The Kingdom of Colchis contributed significantly to the development of medieval Georgian...

 with the Argonauts, got the Golden Girdle of the Amazons and slew the Stymphalian Birds
Stymphalian birds
In Greek mythology, the Stymphalian birds were man-eating birds with beaks of bronze and sharp metallic feathers they could launch at their victims, and were sacred to Ares, the god of war. Furthermore, their dung was highly toxic...

 at that time.

The Argonauts departed, losing their bearings and landing again at the same spot that night. In the darkness, the Doliones took them for enemies and they started fighting each other. The Argonauts killed many of the Doliones, among them the king Cyzicus. Cyzicus' wife killed herself. The Argonauts realized their horrible mistake when dawn came and held a funeral for him.

Phineas and the Harpies


Soon Jason reached the court of Phineas
Phineas
In Greek mythology, Phineas was a Phoenician King of Thrace.The name 'Phineas' or 'Phineus' may be associated with the ancient city of Phinea on the Thracian Bosphorus.-Phineas, Son of Agenor:...

 of Salmydessus
Kiyiköy
Kıyıköy, formerly Midye, ancient/medieval Medea , is a town of the district of Vize in Kırklareli Province in northwestern Turkey. It is situated on the coast of the Black Sea. It became a municipality in 1987. The population of the town is 2,443 according to the 2000 National Census.Fishing and...

 in Thrace
Thrace
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

. Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

 had sent the Harpies
Harpy
In Greek mythology, a harpy was one of the winged spirits best known for constantly stealing all food from Phineas...

 to steal the food put out for Phineas each day. Jason took pity on the emaciated king and killed the Harpies when they returned; in other versions, Calais and Zetes
Boreads
The Boreads, in Greek mythology, were Calaïs and Zetes . They were the sons of Boreas and Oreithyia, daughter of King Erechtheus of Athens...

 chase the Harpies away. In return for this favor, Phineas revealed to Jason the location of Colchis and how to pass the Symplegades
Symplegades
The Symplegades or Clashing Rocks, also known as the Cyanean Rocks, were, according to Greek mythology, a pair of rocks at the Bosphorus that clashed together randomly. They were defeated by Jason and the Argonauts, who would have been lost and killed by the rocks except for Phineas' advice. Jason...

, or The Clashing Rocks, and then they parted.

The Symplegades


The only way to reach Colchis was to sail through the Symplegades (Clashing Rocks), huge rock cliffs that came together and crushed anything that traveled between them. Phineas told Jason to release a dove when they approached these islands, and if the dove made it through, to row with all their might. If the dove was crushed, he was doomed to fail. Jason released the dove as advised, which made it through, losing only a few tail feathers. Seeing this, they rowed strongly and made it through with minor damage at the extreme stern of the ship. From that time on, the clashing rocks were forever joined leaving free passage for others to pass.

The arrival in Colchis



Jason arrived in Colchis
Colchis
In ancient geography, Colchis or Kolkhis was an ancient Georgian state kingdom and region in Western Georgia, which played an important role in the ethnic and cultural formation of the Georgian nation.The Kingdom of Colchis contributed significantly to the development of medieval Georgian...

 (modern Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 coast of Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

) to claim the fleece as his own. It was owned by King Aeetes
Aeëtes
In Greek mythology, Aeëtes , , , was a King of Colchis , son of the sun-god Helios and the Oceanid Perseis , brother of Circe and Pasiphae, and father of Medea, Chalciope and Apsyrtus...

 of Colchis. The fleece was given to him by Phrixus
Phrixus
In Greek mythology, Phrixus or Frixos or Phryxus was the son of Athamas, king of Boiotia, and Nephele . His twin sister Helle and he were hated by their stepmother, Ino. Ino hatched a devious plot to get rid of the twins, roasting all of Boeotia's crop seeds so they would not grow. The local...

. Aeetes promised to give it to Jason only if he could perform three certain tasks. Presented with the tasks, Jason became discouraged and fell into depression. However, Hera
Hera
Hera was the wife and one of three sisters of Zeus in the Olympian pantheon of Greek mythology and religion. Her chief function was as the goddess of women and marriage. Her counterpart in the religion of ancient Rome was Juno. The cow and the peacock were sacred to her...

 had persuaded Aphrodite
Aphrodite
Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation.Her Roman equivalent is the goddess .Historically, her cult in Greece was imported from, or influenced by, the cult of Astarte in Phoenicia....

 to convince her son Eros to make Aeetes's daughter, Medea
Medea
Medea is a woman in Greek mythology. She was the daughter of King Aeëtes of Colchis, niece of Circe, granddaughter of the sun god Helios, and later wife to the hero Jason, with whom she had two children, Mermeros and Pheres. In Euripides's play Medea, Jason leaves Medea when Creon, king of...

, fall in love with Jason. As a result, Medea aided Jason in his tasks. First, Jason had to plow a field with fire-breathing oxen, the Khalkotauroi
Khalkotauroi
The Khalkotauroi are mythical creatures that appear in the Greek myth of Jason and the Golden Fleece. They are two immense bulls with bronze hooves and bronze mouths through which they breathe fire. In the Argonautica, Jason is promised the prized fleece by King Aeetes if he can first yoke the...

, that he had to yoke himself. Medea provided an ointment that protected him from the oxen's flames. Then, Jason sowed the teeth of a dragon
Dragon's teeth (mythology)
In Greek myth, dragon's teeth feature prominently in the legends of the Phoenician prince Cadmus and Jason's quest for the Golden Fleece. In each case, the dragon's teeth, once planted, would grow into fully armed warriors....

 into a field. The teeth sprouted into an army of warriors. Medea had previously warned Jason of this and told him how to defeat this foe. Before they attacked him, he threw a rock into the crowd. Unable to discover where the rock had come from, the soldiers attacked and defeated one another. His last task was to overcome the sleepless dragon which guarded the Golden Fleece
Golden Fleece
In Greek mythology, the Golden Fleece is the fleece of the gold-haired winged ram, which can be procured in Colchis. It figures in the tale of Jason and his band of Argonauts, who set out on a quest by order of King Pelias for the fleece in order to place Jason rightfully on the throne of Iolcus...

. Jason sprayed the dragon with a potion, given by Medea, distilled from herbs. The dragon fell asleep, and Jason was able to seize the Golden Fleece. He then sailed away with Medea. Medea distracted her father, who chased them as they fled, by killing her brother Apsyrtus and throwing pieces of his body into the sea; Aeetes stopped to gather them. In another version, Medea lured Apsyrtus into a trap. Jason killed him, chopped off his fingers and toes, and buried the corpse. In any case, Jason and Medea escaped.

The return journey


On the way back to Iolcus, Medea prophesised to Euphemus
Euphemus
Euphemus in Greek mythology was a son of Poseidon, an Argonaut connected with the legend of the foundation of Cyrene.Euphemus is also a character mentioned in in Book II of the Iliad.- Greek mythology :...

, the Argo's helmsman, that one day he would rule Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

. This came true through Battus
Battus
Battus can refer to:*In Greek mythology, Battus is a shepherd from Pylos. Battus witnessed Hermes stealing Apollo's cattle. Though he promised his silence, he told many others...

, a descendant of Euphemus. Zeus
Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

, as punishment for the slaughter of Medea's own brother, sent a series of storms at the Argo and blew it off course. The Argo then spoke and said that they should seek purification with Circe
Circe
In Greek mythology, Circe is a minor goddess of magic , described in Homer's Odyssey as "The loveliest of all immortals", living on the island of Aeaea, famous for her part in the adventures of Odysseus.By most accounts, Circe was the daughter of Helios, the god of the sun, and Perse, an Oceanid...

, a nymph
Nymph
A nymph in Greek mythology is a female minor nature deity typically associated with a particular location or landform. Different from gods, nymphs are generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature, and are usually depicted as beautiful, young nubile maidens who love to dance and sing;...

 living on the island called Aeaea. After being cleansed, they continued their journey home.

Sirens


Chiron had told Jason that without the aid of Orpheus
Orpheus
Orpheus was a legendary musician, poet, and prophet in ancient Greek religion and myth. The major stories about him are centered on his ability to charm all living things and even stones with his music; his attempt to retrieve his wife from the underworld; and his death at the hands of those who...

, the Argonauts would never be able to pass the Siren
Siren
In Greek mythology, the Sirens were three dangerous mermaid like creatures, portrayed as seductresses who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. Roman poets placed them on an island called Sirenum scopuli...

s — the same Sirens encountered by Odysseus
Odysseus
Odysseus or Ulysses was a legendary Greek king of Ithaca and the hero of Homer's epic poem the Odyssey. Odysseus also plays a key role in Homer's Iliad and other works in the Epic Cycle....

 in Homer
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

's epic poem the Odyssey
Odyssey
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature...

. The Sirens lived on three small, rocky islands called Sirenum scopuli
Sirenum scopuli
According to the Roman poets Virgil and Ovid, the Sirenum scopuli were three small rocky islands where the Sirens of Greek mythology lived and lured sailors to their deaths...

 and sang beautiful songs that enticed sailors to come to them, which resulted in the crashing of their ship into the islands. When Orpheus heard their voices, he drew his lyre
Lyre
The lyre is a stringed musical instrument known for its use in Greek classical antiquity and later. The word comes from the Greek "λύρα" and the earliest reference to the word is the Mycenaean Greek ru-ra-ta-e, meaning "lyrists", written in Linear B syllabic script...

 and played music that was more beautiful and louder, drowning out the Sirens' bewitching songs.

Talos


The Argo then came to the island of Crete
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

, guarded by the bronze man, Talos
Talos
In Greek mythology, Talos or Talon was a giant man of bronze who protected Europa in Crete from pirates and invaders by circling the island's shores three times daily while guarding it.- History :...

. As the ship approached, Talos hurled huge stones at the ship, keeping it at bay. Talos had one blood vessel which went from his neck to his ankle, bound shut by only one bronze nail (as in metal casting by the lost wax method). Medea
Medea
Medea is a woman in Greek mythology. She was the daughter of King Aeëtes of Colchis, niece of Circe, granddaughter of the sun god Helios, and later wife to the hero Jason, with whom she had two children, Mermeros and Pheres. In Euripides's play Medea, Jason leaves Medea when Creon, king of...

 cast a spell on Talos to calm him; she removed the bronze nail and Talos bled to death. The Argo was then able to sail on.

Jason returns


Medea, using her sorcery, claimed to Pelias' daughters that she could make their father younger by chopping him up into pieces and boiling the pieces in a cauldron of water and magical herbs. She demonstrated this remarkable feat with a sheep, which leapt out of the cauldron as a lamb. The girls, rather naively, sliced and diced their father and put him in the cauldron. Medea did not add the magical herbs, and Pelias was dead.

It should be noted that Thomas Bulfinch
Thomas Bulfinch
Thomas Bulfinch was an American writer, born in Newton, Massachusetts. Bulfinch belonged to a well educated Bostonian merchant family of modest means. His father was Charles Bulfinch, the architect of the Massachusetts State House in Boston and parts of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 has an antecedent to the interaction of Medea and the daughters of Pelias. Jason, celebrating his return with the Golden Fleece, noted that his father was too aged and infirm to participate in the celebrations. He had seen and been served by Medea's magical powers. He asked Medea to take some years from his life and add them to the life of his father. She did so, but at no such cost to Jason's life. Pelias' daughters saw this and wanted the same service for their father. Pelias' son, Acastus
Acastus
Acastus is a character in Greek mythology. He sailed with Jason and the Argonauts, and participated in the hunt for the Calydonian Boar.-Biography:Acastus was the son of Pelias, then king of Iolcus, and Anaxibia ....

, drove Jason and Medea into exile for the murder, and the couple settled in Corinth.

Treachery of Jason


In Corinth, Jason became engaged to marry Creusa
Creusa
In Greek mythology, four people had the name Creusa ; the name simply means "princess".-Naiad:According to Pindar's 9th Pythian Ode, Creusa was a naiad and daughter of Gaia who bore Hypseus, King of the Lapiths to the river god Peneus. Hypseus had one daughter, Cyrene. When a lion attacked her...

 (sometimes referred to as Glauce
Glauce
In Greek mythology, Glauce , Latin Glauca, refers to seven different people:#Glauce, daughter of Creon. She married Jason. She was killed, along with Jason's children, by his wife, Medea. Also known by the name Creusa, predominantly in Latin authors, e.g...

), a daughter of the King of Corinth, to strengthen his political ties. When Medea confronted Jason about the engagement and cited all the help she had given him, he retorted that it was not she that he should thank, but Aphrodite who made Medea fall in love with him. Infuriated with Jason for breaking his vow that he would be hers forever, Medea took her revenge by presenting to Creusa a cursed dress, as a wedding gift, that stuck to her body and burned her to death as soon as she put it on. Creusa's father, Creon
Creon (disambiguation)
-Greek mythology and history:* Creon, King of Thebes in the legend of Oedipus.* Creon, King of Thebes and father of Megara* Creon, King of Corinth and father of Creusa* Creon, son of Heracles* Creon, the third Archon of Athens-Geography:...

, burned to death with his daughter as he tried to save her. Then Medea killed the two boys that she bore to Jason, fearing that they would be murdered or enslaved as a result of their mother's actions. When Jason came to know of this, Medea was already gone; she fled to Athens in a chariot sent by her grandfather, the sun-god Helios.

Later Jason and Peleus
Peleus
In Greek mythology, Pēleus was a hero whose myth was already known to the hearers of Homer in the late 8th century BCE. Peleus was the son of Aeacus, king of the island of Aegina, and Endeïs, the oread of Mount Pelion in Thessaly; he was the father of Achilles...

, father of the hero Achilles
Achilles
In Greek mythology, Achilles was a Greek hero of the Trojan War, the central character and the greatest warrior of Homer's Iliad.Plato named Achilles the handsomest of the heroes assembled against Troy....

, attacked and defeated Acastus, reclaiming the throne of Iolcus for himself once more. Jason's son, Thessalus
Thessalus
In Greek mythology, the name Thessalus is attributed to three individuals, all of whom were considered possible eponyms of Thessaly.*Thessalus, son of Jason and Medea and the twin of Alcimenes. He escaped being murdered by his mother and, after the death of Acastus, became king of...

, then became king.

As a result of breaking his vow to love Medea forever, Jason lost his favor with Hera
Hera
Hera was the wife and one of three sisters of Zeus in the Olympian pantheon of Greek mythology and religion. Her chief function was as the goddess of women and marriage. Her counterpart in the religion of ancient Rome was Juno. The cow and the peacock were sacred to her...

 and died lonely and unhappy. He was asleep under the stern of the rotting Argo
Argo
In Greek mythology, the Argo was the ship on which Jason and the Argonauts sailed from Iolcos to retrieve the Golden Fleece. It was named after its builder, Argus.-Legend:...

when it fell on him, killing him instantly. The manner of his death was due to the deities cursing him for breaking his promise to Medea.

Popular Culture


Though some of the episodes of Jason's story draw on ancient material, the definitive telling, on which this account relies, is that of Apollonius of Rhodes
Apollonius of Rhodes
Apollonius Rhodius, also known as Apollonius of Rhodes , early 3rd century BCE – after 246 BCE, was a poet, and a librarian at the Library of Alexandria...

 in his epic poem
Epic poetry
An epic is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Oral poetry may qualify as an epic, and Albert Lord and Milman Parry have argued that classical epics were fundamentally an oral poetic form...

 Argonautica, written in Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

 in the late 3rd century BC.

Another Argonautica was written by Gaius Valerius Flaccus
Gaius Valerius Flaccus
Gaius Valerius Flaccus was a Roman poet who flourished in the "Silver Age" under the emperors Vespasian and Titus and wrote a Latin Argonautica that owes a great deal to Apollonius of Rhodes' more famous epic....

 in the late 1st century AD, eight books in length. The poem ends abruptly with the request of Medea
Medea
Medea is a woman in Greek mythology. She was the daughter of King Aeëtes of Colchis, niece of Circe, granddaughter of the sun god Helios, and later wife to the hero Jason, with whom she had two children, Mermeros and Pheres. In Euripides's play Medea, Jason leaves Medea when Creon, king of...

 to accompany Jason on his homeward voyage. It is unclear if part of the epic poem has been lost, or if it was never finished. A third version is the Argonautica Orphica, which emphasizes the role of Orpheus
Orpheus
Orpheus was a legendary musician, poet, and prophet in ancient Greek religion and myth. The major stories about him are centered on his ability to charm all living things and even stones with his music; his attempt to retrieve his wife from the underworld; and his death at the hands of those who...

 in the story.

Jason is briefly mentioned in Dante's
Dante Alighieri
Durante degli Alighieri, mononymously referred to as Dante , was an Italian poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker. He is best known for the monumental epic poem La commedia, later named La divina commedia ...

 Divine Comedy in the poem Inferno
Inferno (Dante)
Inferno is the first part of Dante Alighieri's 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy. It is followed by Purgatorio and Paradiso. It is an allegory telling of the journey of Dante through what is largely the medieval concept of Hell, guided by the Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Hell is depicted as...

. He appears in the Canto XVIII. In it, he is seen by Dante and his guide Virgil
Virgil
Publius Vergilius Maro, usually called Virgil or Vergil in English , was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues , the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid...

 being punished in Hell's Eighth Circle (Bolgia 1) by being driven to march through the circle for all eternity while being whipped by devil
Devil
The Devil is believed in many religions and cultures to be a powerful, supernatural entity that is the personification of evil and the enemy of God and humankind. The nature of the role varies greatly...

s. He is included among the panderers and seducers (possibly for his seduction and subsequent uncare of Medea).

The story of Medea
Medea
Medea is a woman in Greek mythology. She was the daughter of King Aeëtes of Colchis, niece of Circe, granddaughter of the sun god Helios, and later wife to the hero Jason, with whom she had two children, Mermeros and Pheres. In Euripides's play Medea, Jason leaves Medea when Creon, king of...

's revenge on Jason is told with devastating effect by Euripides
Euripides
Euripides was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him but according to the Suda it was ninety-two at most...

 in his tragedy Medea
Medea (play)
Medea is an ancient Greek tragedy written by Euripides, based upon the myth of Jason and Medea and first produced in 431 BC. The plot centers on the barbarian protagonist as she finds her position in the Greek world threatened, and the revenge she takes against her husband Jason who has betrayed...

.

The mythical geography of the voyage of the Argonauts has been connected to specific geographic locations by Livio Stecchini
Livio Catullo Stecchini
Livio Catullo Stecchini was a professor of ancient history at Paterson State Teachers College in New Jersey. He wrote on the history of science, ancient weights and measures , and the history of cartography in antiquity...

 but his theories have not been widely adopted.

Jason appeared in the Hercules episode "Hercules and the Argonauts" voiced by William Shatner
William Shatner
William Alan Shatner is a Canadian actor, musician, recording artist, and author. He gained worldwide fame and became a cultural icon for his portrayal of James T...

. He is shown to have been a student of Philoctetes and takes his advice to let Hercules travel with him.

In The Heroes of Olympus
The Heroes of Olympus
The Heroes of Olympus is a fantasy book series written by Rick Riordan and based on Greek and Roman mythology. It is the sequel series to the Percy Jackson & the Olympians pentalogy....

story "The Lost Hero," there was a reference to the mythical Jason when Jason Grace and his friends encounter Medea.

External links