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The story could also perhaps represent an age of Greek colonisation around the shores of the Black Sea. Village in Svaneti region of north west Georgia. Jason was taken from his parents, and was brought up on Mount Pelion, in Thessaly, by a centaur named Cheiron. Meantime his uncle lived in dread of an oracle's prophecy, which said he should fear the 'man with one shoe'.

His task would take him beyond the known world to acquire the fleece of a magical ram that once belonged to Zeus, the king of the gods. At the age of 20 Jason set off to return to Iolkos - on his journey losing a sandal in the river while helping Hera, Queen of the Gods, who was in disguise as an old woman. On arriving before King Pelias, Jason revealed who he was and made a claim to the kingdom. The king replied, 'If I am to give you the kingdom, first you must bring me the Fleece of the Golden Ram'.

And this was the hero's quest.

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Jason's ancestor Phrixus had flown east from Greece to the land of Cochlis modern day Georgia on the back of this ram. King Aietes, son of Helios the sun god, had then sacrificed the ram and hung its fleece in a sacred grove guarded by a dragon. An oracle foretold that Aietes would lose his kingdom if he lost the fleece, and it was from Aietes that Jason had to retrieve it. Why a fleece? Fleeces are connected with magic in many folk traditions. For the ancient Etruscans a gold coloured fleece was a prophecy of future prosperity for the clan.

Recent discoveries about the Hittite Empire in Bronze Age Anatolia show celebrations where fleeces were hung to renew royal power. This can offer insight into Jason's search for the fleece and Aietes' reluctance to relinquish it. The fleece represented kinship and prosperity. Ships in the old Turkish harbour at Lemnos, Greece. The Greek claim that the Argo was the first ship ever built can not be true, but Jason's journey was seen by the ancient Greeks as the first long-distance voyage ever undertaken.

Jason & the Argonauts

Indeed, the voyage can be seen as a metaphor for the opening up of the Black Sea coast. Historically, once the Greeks learned to sail into the Black Sea they embarked on a period of colonisation lasting some 3, years - but the time they first arrived in the region is still controversial. Lemnos, an island in the north-eastern Aegean was Jason's first stop. This was a place inhabited by women who had murdered their husbands after being cursed by Aphrodite. Next the Argo sailed to Samothrace, where the Argonauts were initiated into the Kabeiroi, a cult of 'great gods' who were not Greek and who offered protection to seafarers.

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From Samothrace the adventurers passed the city of Troy by night, and entered the Sea of Marmara the next day. The Jason tale is a founding myth for many towns along this shore. It is, however, most likely that local accounts of events have arisen out of the story itself, rather than being based on historic facts that themselves became the basis of the myth. It is along this stretch of coast that the Argonauts rescue a blind prophet, Phineus, by chasing away the Harpies - the ugly winged females Zeus had sent to torment Phineus.

In return Phineus prophesies that Jason will be the first mariner to sail through the 'clashing rocks' that guard the entrance to the Black Sea. The myth arose when Greek sailors were first able to negotiate their way up the powerful currents of the Bosphorus to enter the Black Sea beyond. In time the sea was transformed in Greek eyes from Axeinos Pontus , the 'hostile sea' to Euxeinos Pontus , the 'welcoming sea'.

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Mythic Warriors Guardians of the Legend Jason and the Argonauts:The Search for the Golden Fleece

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Bacon, Janet Ruth The Voyage of the Argonauts. London: Methuen. Barber, Elizabeth J.

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Braund, David Oxford: Oxford University Press. Lordkipanidze, Otar McKinley, Daniel Ars Textrina. Charles Babbage Research Centre. Jason and the Argonauts. Giasone La toison d'or Ancient Greek religion and mythology. Dragons in Greek mythology Greek mythological creatures Greek mythological figures List of minor Greek mythological figures.

BBC - History - Ancient History in depth: Jason and the Golden Fleece

Hecate Hesperus Phosphorus. Aphrodite Aphroditus Philotes Peitho. Hermanubis Hermes Thanatos. Empusa Epiales Hypnos Pasithea Oneiroi. Angelia Arke Hermes Iris. Apate Dolos Hermes Momus. Circe Hecate Hermes Trismegistus. Acherusia Avernus Lake Lerna Lake.

Charonium at Aornum Charonium at Acharaca. Aeacus Minos Rhadamanthus. Charon Charon's obol. Bident Cap of invisibility. Ascalaphus Ceuthonymus Eurynomos Hade's cattle. Agon Panathenaic Games Rhieia. Argo Phaeacian ships. Discordianism Gaianism Feraferia Hellenism. Greek mythology in popular culture. Authority control GND : Categories : Mythological objects Thessalian mythology Colchis in mythology Mythology of Argonautica.

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