Gods and Heroes of the Greeks: The Library of Apollodorus

By Apollodorus; Michael Simpson et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THREE
Jason, the Argonauts, Medea and the Golden Fleece (1. 9. 16-1. 9. 28)

BOOK 1 9 Jason was born to Aeson, the son of Cretheus, and Polymede, the daughter of Autolycus. He lived in Iolcus over which Pelias, succeeding Cretheus, ruled. When Pelias consulted the oracle about his kingdom, the god warned him to beware of the man with one sandal. He later understood the oracle, although he failed to at first. For when he was performing a sacrifice to Poseidon by the sea, he summoned among many others Jason, who lived in the country because of his love of farming. Hastening to the sacrifice he emerged from the river Anaurus, which he crossed on the way, with one sandal, having lost the other in the stream. When Pelias saw him he understood the oracle and, going up to him, asked him what he would do, if he had authority, on hearing an oracle which said that he would be murdered by a citizen. Jason replied, "I would command him to bring the golden fleece." Pelias did not honor Hera [see 1. 9. 8-9] and Jason said this either by chance or because of Hera's anger, in order that evil come to Pelias in the form of Medea. When Pelias heard this, he immediately ordered him to go after the fleece. It was in Colchis in a grove of Ares, hanging from an oak and guarded by a serpent which never slept.1

16

Sent on this mission Jason summoned to his side Argus, the son of Phrixus, who, on Athena's advice, built a fifty-oared ship named Argo for its builder. Athena used in its prow a timber from the oak of Dodona which could speak.2 When the ship was finished Jason consulted the oracle, and the god told him to gather together the nobles of Greece and set sail. ∣ He assembled the following: Tiphys, son of Hagnias, who was the ship's pilot; Orpheus, son of Oeagrus; Zetes and Calais, sons of Boreas; Castor and Pollux, sons of Zeus; Telamon and Peleus, sons of Aeacus; Heracles, son of Zeus; Theseus, son of Aegeus; Idas and Lynceus, sons of Aphareus; Amphiaraus, son of

-54-

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