Jason and the Argonauts

One of the greatest stories from Greek mythology was about Jason and his Golden Fleece. Read about this popular hero in “Jason and the Argonauts”. Jason and the Argonauts 1 Pelias killed his brother to gain control of Iolcus, a kingdom in Greece. However, the murdered king had a young son named Jason who was the rightful heir to the kingdom. Jason had been sent away to a safe place, but returned to Iolcus to claim the throne. Pelias promised to give up the kingdom to Jason if Jason would go on a journey and bring back the Golden Fleece from the city of Colchis. Jason agreed and organized a group of heroes, known as the Argonauts, to help him on his quest. 2 Jason and the Argonauts set sail on their ship, the Argo, and soon reached a place where the Harpies lived. The Harpies were ugly flying creatures with hooked beaks and claws that had an awful odor. They were annoying Phineus, a prophet who had become a friend of the Argonauts. When Phineus tried to eat, the Harpies would take his food, and Phineus was withered and weak from the lack of nourishment. To help Phineus, two of the Argonauts took a position nearby while the old man started to eat. When the Harpies attempted to snatch the prophet’s food away, these sons of Boreas (the great North Wind) hit the Harpies with swords. They did not kill the Harpies out of respect for Zeus who had created the horrid creatures. In gratitude, Phineus told Jason how to navigate through the Clashing Rocks, the next test on the Argonauts’ journey. Sailing off the next morning, Jason unexpectedly came upon the 3 Clashing Rocks that would destroy the Argo if he was not careful. Following Phineus’ advice, they set a dove free to test the rocks. The dove made it through the rocks, except for its tail feathers which were cut off by the rocks crashing together like a huge gate. Next, the ship sailed past the rocks, and as the prophet had predicted, the ship survived and passed safely. But part of its stern was cut off, just like the tail feathers of the dove. 4 The Argonauts continued on, passing quickly through the country of the Amazons to avoid any confrontations. After traveling all day, they finally arrived in Colchis, the home of the Golden Fleece and King Aetes. ™ © Advanced Assessment Systems/LinkIt! Duplication is restricted to licensees only. 5 As the Argonauts made their way to the city, Hera, their protecting goddess, wrapped them in a blanket of mist so they wouldn’t be seen until they arrived at the palace. King Aetes welcomed them to Colchis and was quite friendly to them. Princess Medea, the King’s daughter and a powerful magician, saw Jason and immediately fell in love with him because Hera had arranged for Cupid to shoot an arrow into her heart. 6 King Aetes said to Jason, “If you want me to give you the Golden Fleece, you must prove your courage as I have done.” He said that Jason must harness two flame-breathing bulls, whose feet were made of bronze, and plow a field with them. Then he must take the teeth of a dragon and sow them in the ground as if they were seeds. A crop of armed men would grow from the ground, and he must then fight them off. Medea gave Jason a charm that would make him and his weapons invincible for a day. She also gave him a magic stone to throw at his enemies. Jason used these to defeat the bulls and make the crop of armed men turn against each other, and thus he fulfilled the challenge. Jason, Medea, and the Serpent ™ © Advanced Assessment Systems/LinkIt! Duplication is restricted to licensees only. 7 Now, in order to get the Golden Fleece, Jason had to get past a huge serpent that was guarding it. Medea helped him again by casting a spell that put the serpent to sleep, so Jason was able to snatch the Fleece. The King then sent his army against the Argonauts to stop them, but Medea once more saved them, and thus they were able to finally escape from Colchis with the Golden Fleece. 8 On the return trip, Hera guided the Argonauts to safety as they passed through the dangerous rock of Scylla and around the deadly whirlpool of Charybdis. A final challenge occurred as they sailed by Crete. They landed there at the request of Medea because she knew that Talus, the last living man of the ancient bronze race, was waiting to crush the Argo. Talus was completely made of bronze, except for one ankle. Medea tricked Talus into scraping his vulnerable ankle. He bled to death, and so Medea saved Jason and the Argonauts once more. 9 When the Argo returned to Iolcus with the Golden Fleece, evil King Pelias refused to honor his agreement with Jason. Acting quickly, Jason and Medea tricked the king’s daughters into killing him. Jason now had his revenge and took over the throne that was rightly his all along. ™ © Advanced Assessment Systems/LinkIt! Duplication is restricted to licensees only.

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