When Jason had grown up into strapping young manhood, he came back to reclaim his kingdom. Along the way the goddess Juno (Hera) disguised herself as an old woman and pretended to be drowning in the river Anauros. Jason, showing proper princely virtue, jumped in to save her, losing one of his sandals in the process. Obviously, when Pelias was presented with Jason, wearing one sandal, he knew his game was up. However, Pelias, while seemingly resigned to losing his kingdom, tells Jason that he must first retrieve the Golden Fleece. This was the golden skull and skin of a ram that was a gift of the gods (there is a whole other story about why and how it came to be) which brought health, wealth and prosperity to whoever held it and would be just the thing for a new king to have, particularly when his kingdom would be starting out in a sorry state. By retrieving it, Jason would also prove that he had been chosen by the gods and was truly the rightful king. Pelias, of course, also expected Jason might be killed on such a dangerous quest and solve his problem for him.
Their first stop was the island of Lemnos, inhabited by bad smelling women who had had killed off all of their husbands. Evidently the
The Argonauts next landed in Thrace and found King Phineus of Salmydessus (in the film played by “Doctor Who” Patrick Troughton, I also cannot help mentioning that the part of Hercules was played by Nigel Green who was in a ton of great movies like “Play Dirty”, “Tobruk”, “Khartoum” and “Zulu”). He is being plagued by harpies who snatch away his food every day and so is starving. Jason and the Argonauts feel sorry for the old guy, even though this is made known to be punishment from the gods, and they deal with the harpies for him, chasing them away. In thanks, Phineus tells Jason where he can find Colchis, the land at the end of the world where the Golden Fleece is and that they will have to pass through the Symplegades of “The Clashing Rocks”. These are huge, rocky cliffs that smash anything that sails between them. However, Phineas tells them to send a dove through first to test if it is safe for them to pass before going in. The Argonauts sail on, reach the cliffs and did as they were told. The dove made it through, as did the Argonauts and the cliffs closed behind them, never menacing navigation again. There may be more to the story that I am missing, but I always wondered why no one just sailed around the rocks in the first place instead of always going between them?
|Jason taming the fire-breathing bulls|
|Jason obtains the fleece (thanks to Medea)|
|Orpheus plays for the Sirens|
|Jason and his prize|
Jason, once again a prince without a kingdom, decides to make a marriage alliance with the King of Corinth by marrying his daughter Creusa. Well, as anyone with half a brain could guess, Medea flies into a rage when she hears about this betrayal by her beloved and recounts everything she has done for Jason. Now, true, Medea does seem to have been a murdering psychopath but it was her who basically made it possible for Jason to get the Golden Fleece and to get back home. Jason, however, says that since Cupid put a spell on her to love him, Venus deserves the credit rather than Medea. No, sorry Jason, that does not wash. Even if Medea had no choice but to love you, it isn’t as though you were treating her like a sister this whole time, you took full advantage of the situation and seeded two sons by Medea during this time, you don’t get off that easy! And, indeed, he did not as the women who butchered her own brother just as a distraction turns out to be the sort of woman you really shouldn’t make angry. She put a curse on Creusa’s wedding dress, causing it to burn her alive, murders her two sons by Jason and then flees to Athens in a chariot of light pulled by dragons sent by the sun god (her grandfather) Sol/Helios.
|Order of the Golden Fleece|