Golden Fleece: myth, history and symbolism

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Golden Fleece: myth, history and symbolism
Golden Fleece: myth, history and symbolism

The king of Boeotia Athamas had a wife of unprecedented beauty. In addition, she was very smart and educated, she bore the name Nephele (goddess of the clouds). The family lived happily and raised children: the girl Gella and the boy Friks. Unfortunately, the people of Boeotia took a dislike to Nephele. The husband had to leave his wife. From tears for a broken family and separation from her children, Nefela turned into a cloud and began to travel across the sky, watching her family from above. Thus begins the myth of the "Golden Fleece" - one of the most famous in the world. A legend of valor, honor and love.

In this article you will read a summary of the Golden Fleece myth. A whole book is not enough to fully describe all the exploits and adventures of the Argonaut team.

The Golden Fleece

The king's new wife

The ruler had to marry again, because he had no right to remain a bachelor. He took the beautiful but prudent princess Ino as his wife. The new wife did not like children from her first marriage and decided to kill them from the world. The first attempt was to send the children to the mountain pasture.The road there was very dangerous, but the children returned unharmed. This angered the woman even more.

She began to slowly convince her husband that the gods want him to sacrifice Gella and Frixus, otherwise the whole country is in danger of starvation. In order to convince her husband that she was right, she forced the maids to roast the seeds that were stored for seedlings. Naturally, after such processing, not a single spikelet appeared on the field. This made the king very sad.

The country was on the verge of disaster, Athamas decided to find out the fate of the oracle of Delphi and sent messengers to him. And then Ino foresaw everything, she intercepted people and bribed them with gifts and gold. They were ordered to tell her husband that he should sacrifice Gella and Frix, so he would turn away trouble from his people. Afamant did not know the place from grief, but nevertheless decided to take a terrible step for the sake of the population of the country.

At this time, unsuspecting children had fun in the pasture with the sheep. Then they saw among other animals a ram with sparkling wool. According to the myths of Greece, the golden fleece is a precious animal skin. They approached him and heard: “Children, your mother sent me to you. You are in danger, I must save you from Ino, sending you to another country where you will be fine. Gella - behind her brother's back. Only you can't look down, otherwise you will be very dizzy."

Gella's death

The ram carried the children under the very clouds. What happened next in the Golden Fleece myth? They rushed across the sky to the north, and then grief happened …The little girl was very tired of holding her hands on her brother and let them go. The daughter of Nephele flew straight into the waves of the raging sea. The baby could not be saved. The goddess mourned her child for a long time. Now this place is called the Dardanelles, and earlier, thanks to the myth of the Golden Fleece, the strait was called the Hellespont - the Sea of ​​​​Gella.

The animal brought the boy to the distant northern Colchis, where King Eet was already waiting for him. He raised the boy as his own, spoiled him and gave him an excellent education. When Phrixus matured, he gave him his beloved daughter Halkiope as his wife. The couple lived in perfect harmony, and they had four boys.

Aries, that was the name of an unusual ram, Eet sacrificed to Zeus. And he placed the skin on an old oak tree. Hence the name of the myth - "Golden Fleece". Soothsayers warned the king that nothing threatened his reign as long as this wool was on the tree. Eet ordered a dragon to be assigned to him, which never slept.

At the same time, Ino gave birth to Afomant more children. Later they created a port in Thessaly called Iolk. The grandson of the king of Boeotia ruled in this area. His name was Eson. His half-brother Pelias staged a coup and overthrew a relative. Aeson had a son, Jason, who was also an heir, and he was in danger. Fearing that the boy might be killed, his father hid him in the mountains, where he was guarded by the wise centaur Chiron. For every modern person, the name Jason is associated with the myth of the golden fleece.

The child lived with a centaur for 20 long years. Chiron taught him the sciences, raised him strong and strong. Jason mastered the basics of healing and excelled inmilitary art.

The leader of the Argonauts - Jason

When the guy was 20 years old, he decided to return the power of his father into his own hands. He turned to Pelius with a demand to return to him the throne of his father. He allegedly agreed, but decided to kill the guy with cunning. He told him about the golden fleece, which brought good luck and blessings to the descendants of Afamant. According to the insidious plan of Pelius, Jason was supposed to die on this expedition.

Iason began to assemble a team. Among his true friends were:

  • Hercules;
  • Theseus;
  • Castor;
  • Polydeuces;
  • Orpheus and others.

The ship that was ordered to be built for them was called the Argo. This is where the expression "argonauts" came from. The goddesses Athena and Hera became the patrons of travelers. Under the singing of Orpheus, the ship set off towards dangers.

Jason - leader of the Argonauts

The myth of the voyage of the Argonauts to Colchis

Argo's first stop was on the island of Lemnos. The area had an interesting history. There were practically no men here, since their wives killed them. The unfortunate paid for numerous betrayals. The formidable Queen Gipsipyla incited them to commit a crime.

The Argonauts descended to earth and for some time had fun with the beauties, feasted and rested. Having had enough fun, they remembered their mission and followed on.

The path of the Argonauts

The next stop of the travelers was on the Cyzicus peninsula (Propontides, Sea of ​​Marmara). The local ruler received the Argonauts well. In gratitude for this, they helped him overcomesix-armed giants who lived nearby and attacked the inhabitants of Cyzicus.

According to the myth of the Golden Fleece, the area in the Mysia region became the next refuge for the Argonauts. Nymphs lived in this place. The river beauties liked Hylas, who was very handsome. They lured him into their abyss. Hercules went in search of a friend and fell behind the Argo. The sea king Glaucus intervened in the situation. He told Hercules that he had a mission: he needed to perform 12 labors in the service of the ruler Eurystheus.

Ship of the Argonauts

Clairvoyant from Thrace

Arriving in Thrace, the travelers met the former king of the area Phineus. He was a clairvoyant who was punished by the gods for making predictions. They blinded him and sent harpies, winged half-maidens, half-birds to his house. They took away any food from the unfortunate person. The Argonauts helped him cope with evil spirits. For this, the clairvoyant revealed to them the secret of how to pass between the rocks that converge. He also said that Athena would help them get the Golden Fleece.

Below you see an illustration of the ancient Greek myth "Golden Fleece".

Hercules and Medea

Then the Argonauts got to the island of Aretia, where they were attacked by Stymphalian birds. By coincidence, these terrible creatures were driven out of Greece by Hercules. The birds had arrow-feathers made of bronze, from which the warriors covered themselves with shields.

Argonauts mine the Golden Fleece

Finally, the Argonauts arrived in Colchis. As they say in the myth of the Golden Fleece, it was almost impossible to get a precious skin. This is where I came to helpAphrodite. She aroused in the heart of Medea, the daughter of Eet, an ardent passion for Jason. The girl in love led the Argonauts to the king.

Sorceress Medea

Medea was a sorceress, and if not for her abilities, Jason would have died. At an audience with the king, the leader of the Argonauts asked Eetus to give him the Golden Fleece in exchange for any service. The ruler was angry and came up with a very difficult task for Jason. According to his plan, the main argonav was supposed to die while doing it. Jason was supposed to plow the field of the god of war Ares with the help of fire-breathing bulls. On it, the Argonaut was supposed to plant the dragon's teeth, and Jason had to kill the warriors who grew out of them.

The task was beyond the power of anyone, and Jason could have died if not for the sorceress in love. Medea took the Argonaut to the temple and gave him a miraculous ointment. She made any warrior invulnerable.

Medea's Tricks

Jason took advantage of Medea's gift and received dragon teeth from Eet. The bulls of the king almost killed the head of the Argonauts, but he was helped by Polydeuces and Castor, two brothers of a strong man. Together they harnessed the bulls to the plow and plowed the field. Then came warriors in armor that had grown out of their teeth. Before the battle, Medea advised her lover to throw a stone at the crowd of warriors. Not realizing who did it, they began to attack each other. So gradually they destroyed themselves. Those who remained were finished off by Jason with his sword.

Dragon guarding the rune

King Eet was amazed at Jason's victory and guessed that his daughter had helped him. Medea realized that the whole team of Argonauts and she was in danger fromangry father. At night, she led her lover for the Golden Fleece. She put the dragon to sleep with her magic potion. The head of the Argonauts got the precious fleece, and together with Medea and the team went to Greece.

So ends the Golden Fleece myth of Ancient Greece. There is a whole cycle of legends about Jason, which shows the connection between Ancient Greece and the Caucasus. For example, Colchis is modern western Georgia. In the mountainous country there is also a legend that gold was washed from the rivers here by dipping the skin of a ram into the water. Pieces of precious metal settled on his fur. The contents of the Golden Fleece myth should be known to every educated person.

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