Greece

Jason

Jason was the Hero who obtained the Golden Fleece from the Land of Colchis with the Argonauts. He was the son of king Aeson of Iolchos (Volos) whose brother Pelias had unrightfully overturned him and seized the throne. An oracle had told Pelias that a one-shoed man would revenge Aeson.

Jason had been sent away by his father, who feared Pelias would harm him. He would grow up with the wise centaur Cheiron on Mt Pelion. Jason returned when he was twenty years old, and on his way to Iolchos he lost one shoe. When Pelias met him and saw the missing shoe, he became wary and promised Jason the throne if he would only bring him the Golden Fleece, thinking this would send the young man to a sure death.

Together with many heroes, also called the Argonauts, Jason sailed off on the boat Argus, to Asia Minor. The goddess Athena had helped building the boat, and a piece of Zeus' holy oak tree in Dodona was put in. Among the 50 Argonauts were Heracles, Castor and Polydeuces (the Dioscuri), Calais and Zethes (the Boreads), Tiphus, Nestor, Ancaeus and Orpheus.

The Argonauts first landed on the island Limnos. It was ruled by women only after all the men had been killed for ignoring their wives for the Thracian slave women. The Argonauts spent some days with these women, and again Lemnos would have children.

The next adventure was in Propontis, where king Kyzicos ruled over the dolions. The country was tormented by sixarmed giants, which Heracles killed. Under great festivities the Argonauts sailed off, but during the night they drifted back. This time the dolions thought they were pirates, and a fierce battle took place. Only when the first light came did they realise their mistake, but many had already been killed.

After the burials, the Argonauts sailed off to Chios, where Heracles went to cut some wood to replace his broken oar. His young friend Hylas went to get some water, but Nymph living in the well fell in love with him and dragged him down into the deep. Heracles wandered around searching for his lover, and the Argonauts sailed off without noticing that the hero was not with them anymore.

The next stop was at the country of the Bebrycs, whose king Amycos did not let go of any strangers without a fistfight. Polydeuces killed him and the Bebrycs tried to fight the Argonauts, but were beaten.

Next stop was in Bithynia, where king Phineus lived. He could see the future, but had revealed too much to the people, and had been struck with blindness by the gods. Every day the flying monsters the Harpyes would torment him, and whenever the king would try to eat, they took most of it and made the rest stink. Phineus asked the Argonauts for help, and the winged Boreads then chased the monsters away.

As a reward, Phineus told Jason what would happen to them next, and gave some advice. They would encounter two huge rocks in the sea that slammed together, crushing whatever was inbetween them. Phineus said that if Jason would let a dove fly through. If she was crushed, then they must not venture it. If she made it through, then they could make an attempt.
When the ship came to these rocks, the Symphlegades, the dove made it through, losing only some back feathers. The Argus then sailed through, losing only its back ornament.

The ship reached the south coast of the Black Sea where the amazons and other peoples lived. On the island Aretias beautiful birds flew through the air, but when they shook their wings the feathers fell on the crew like arrows. Making loud noises with copper objects the Argonauts chased the birds away.

After many ordeals, they reached the kingdom of Aeetes who told him he could have the Fleece if he would only kill the two fire-breathing bronze bulls that guarded it, and then sow a dragon's teeth, and fight the warriors that would grow out of the teeth.

Aeetes daughter was the sorceress Medea, a devotee to the dark goddess Hecate. She fell in love with Jason, and helped him to get the Fleece by giving him a magic potion with would double his strength for a day. Once he had the Fleece, he fled back to Greece with Medea, and made her his wife.

The journey back was also adventurous, and included the killing of Medeas brother Apsyrtos who was perstecuting them, carrying the ship over the desert of Libya and fighting the copper giant Thales at Crete.

On their arrival to Iolchos, Jason discovered that Pelias had made Aeson commit suicide, which had made his mother die of a broken heart. Medea then punished Pelios in a horrible way by making his daughters believe they could make him young again by boiling him, wich they did, unwillingly becoming their father's murderesses.
This upset the people of Iolchos, and frightened by Medea's witchery they chased the couple away.

In Corinth Medea gave birth to two sons, but Jason left her and married the young princess of Corinth. Medea then killed the princess as well as her sons with Jason. She then escaped Jason's wrath in a dragon-drawn chariot and went to Athens.

Jason is said to have died an old man while sleeping next to his beloved ship Argos. One day a piece of wood fell off the old boat, hitting Jason in the head and immediately killing him.

 

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