Jason: From Medea and Argonauts to the Golden Fleece


     Jason, in Greek Mythology, is one of the most relevant Characters, so much so that, in addition to being a Hero, he is the son of Zeus, thus: a demigod. He knows more about its history, from Medea and Argonauts to the Golden Fleece.

Jason in Greek Mythology:

     Jason, in Greek Mythology, was a hero of Thessaly, son of Eson. His father Esan was the son of Creteus and Tyre. And his mother was Polymede, daughter of Autolycus. Jason was created by the centaur Chiron. Iolco's throne passed from his grandfather Creteus to his uncle Pelias, who was the son of Tire and Poseidon.

     Fearing the prophecy that he would be killed by Jason, King Pelias sends the hero, as a condition to restore him to the throne, on an impossible mission: to bring the Golden Fleece from distant Colchis. In Argos, Jason builds the Argo ship and gathers a crew of heroes, known as the Argonauts, to accompany him.

     After several adventures, including the first pass through the Simpligadas (the Bosphorus), the Argonauts arrive in Colchis, thinking they are somewhere at the end of the Black Sea. King Eetes of Colchis requires Jason to complete several tasks to obtain the Fleece, including plowing a field with fire-breathing bulls, sowing the teeth of a dragon, fighting the army that sprouts from the seeded teeth, and finally passing through the dragon that guards the Velocino itself.

     With the Velocino in his hands, Jason runs away with Medea, Eetes' daughter, and faces several adventures on his way back home. Medea plots the death of King Pelias, fulfilling the ancient prophecy.

     Then he retired to Corinth, after ten years of marriage, disowned Medea to marry Creusa, or Glauce, daughter of Creon, king of Corinth. Medea, in revenge, killed Creusa and the very children she had had by Jason. Many years later, Jason is killed by a piece of Argo wood. In another version, Thessalus, the eldest son of Jason and Medea, escaped being killed and later succeeded Acastus as king of Iolco.

In an alternative version of Greek Mythology, Jason is also the son of the God of Thunder: Zeus, different from the version where we quoted above where the Hero is the son of Esão.

Who were the Argonauts?

  • Tiphys the helmsman;
  • Telamon;
  • Phyloctetes;
  • Peleus;
  • Orpheus;
  • Meleager;
  • Lynceus;
  • Idmon the seer;
  • Outings;
  • Heracles;
  • Euphemus;
  • The Dioscuri, Castor & Polydeuces;
  • The winged Boreads, Zetes & Calaïs;
  • heydays;
  • Atalanta;
  • Argus, the namesake builder of Argo;
  • Admethus;
  • Acastus.


     Soon Jason arrived at the court of Phineas of Salmydessus in Thrace. Zeus had sent the Harpies to steal the food served to Finneus every day. Jason took pity on the emaciated king and killed the Harpies when they returned; in other versions, Calais and Zetes chase away the harpies. In exchange for this favor, Phineus revealed to Jason the location of Colchis and how to get past the Symplegades (Clashing Rocks) and so they parted.


     The only way to reach Colchis was to sail across the Symplegades (Rocks in Conflict), huge cliffs of rock that joined and crushed anything that traveled between them. Phineus told Jason to release a dove as they approached these islands, and if the dove made it through, paddle with all her might.

     If the dove was crushed, he was doomed to failure. Jason released the dove as recommended, which managed to get through, losing only a few tail feathers. Seeing this, they paddled hard and survived with minimal damage to the ship's stern end. From that moment on, the colliding rocks were joined together forever, leaving a clear passageway for others to pass through.

The arrival and the golden fleece:

     Jason arrived in Colchis (Georgia's modern Black Sea coast) to claim the Golden Fleece as his own. It was the property of King Aeetes of Colchis. The fleece was given to him by Phrixus. Aeetes promised to give it to Jason only if he could perform three specific tasks. Presented with the tasks, Jason became discouraged and fell into depression.

     However, Hera persuaded Aphrodite to convince her son Eros to make Aeetes' daughter Medea fall in love with Jason. As a result, Medea helped Jason with his tasks. First, Jason had to plow a field with fire-breathing oxen, the Khalkotauroi, which he had to unite. Medea provided an ointment that protected him from the flames of oxen.

     So Jason sowed the teeth of a dragon in a field. Teeth germinated into an army of warriors. Medea had already warned Jason about this and told him how to defeat the enemy. Before they attacked him, he threw a stone into the crowd. Unable to discover where the rock had come from, the soldiers attacked and defeated each other.

     His last task was to overcome the sleepless dragon that guarded the Golden Fleece. Jason sprinkled the dragon with a potion, given by Medea, distilled from herbs. The dragon fell asleep and Jason was able to seize the Golden Fleece. He then left with Medea.

     Medea distracted her father, who chased them as they fled, killing her brother Apsyrtus and throwing pieces of his body into the sea; Aeetes stopped to collect them. In another version, Medea lured Apsyrtus into a trap. Jason killed him, cut off his fingers and toes, and buried the corpse. In any case, Jason and Medea escaped.

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