Jason And The Argonauts - Ancient Greek myth

When Pelias, the half-brother of Aeson, deposed Aeson and claimed the throne of Iolcus threatening to kill anyone who disputed his claim, Jason, the heir to the throne, was smuggled away from the kingdom and put into the care of Chiron the gentle Centaur.

Jason had won the favor of the goddesses Hera and Athena. With their help Jason built the fabled ship Argo, which had 50 oars. He recruited 50 remarkable people called the Argonauts. They included one woman, Atalanta, and Hercules, the strongest man who lived ever. Orpheus, the poet from Thrace, who could sing more sweetly than the Sirens, as well as Castor and Polydeukis, the brothers of Helen of Troy, were also in the team of the Argonauts.

Jason and the Argonauts set sail for the Black Sea where the legend said the Golden Fleece was hidden. After many adventures, the Argonauts reached the kingdom ruled by Aetes. The king, whose help the Argonauts needed, imposed seemingly impossible tasks upon Jason. One was to harness the fire breathing bulls with brazen feet and plow a field. Then he was to sow the plowed field with dragons’ teeth, from which would spring fully armed warriors.

Fortunately for Jason, Medea, daughter of Aetes, had fallen in love with him. Medea used her powers as a sorceress to help him. Jason mastered the bulls, and when the armed men sprang from the dragons’ teeth, Jason did what Kadmus had done before him: He threw a stone into the midst of the warriors, who accused each other of throwing the stone. They fought amongst themselves until all were dead.

Medea then led Jason to the place where the Golden Fleece hung, guarded by a terrible dragon. Using a magic potion, Medea put the dragon to sleep, allowing Jason to secure the precious trophy. Jason and the Argonauts put to sea, accompanied by Medea, and pursued by King Aetes.

Medea slew her brother, Apsirtus, who had accompanied them. She cut his body into pieces and flung them into the sea and onto the surrounding land, knowing that Aetes would gather up the dismembered pieces of his son’s body to give them a ceremonial burial. Thus Jason and the Argonauts escaped with the Golden Fleece, and returned it to Iolcus.