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Jason (Greek: Ἰάσων, Iásōn) was a late ancient Greek mythological figure, famous as the leader of the Argonauts and their quest for the Golden Fleece. He was the son of Aeson, the rightful king of Iolcus. He was married to the sorceress Medea.

Jason is considered to be one of the heroes of Greek mythology, along with such others as Herakles and Odysseus.

Jason appeared in various literature in the classical world of Greece and Rome, including the epic poem Argonautica and tragedian play, Medea. In the modern world, Jason has emerged as a character in various adaptations of his myths, such as the film Jason and the Argonauts.

Jason has connections outside of the classical world, as he is seen as being the mythical founder of the city of Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.

Contents

Early years

Pelias (Aeson's half-brother) was very power-hungry, and he wished to gain dominion over all of Thessaly. Pelias was the product of a union between their shared mother, Tyro ("high born Tyro") the daughter of Salmoneus, and allegedly the sea god Poseidon. In a bitter feud, he overthrew Aeson (the rightful king), killing all the descendants of Aeson that he could. He spared his half-brother for unknown reasons. Alcimede I (wife of Aeson) already had an infant son named Jason whom she saved from being killed by Pelias, by having women cluster around the newborn and cry as if he were still-born. Alcimede sent her son to the centaur Chiron for education, for fear that Pelias would kill him - she claimed that she had been having an affair with him all along. Pelias, still fearful that he would one day be overthrown, consulted an oracle which warned him to beware of a man with one sandal.

Many years later, Pelias was holding games in honor of the sea god and his alleged father, Poseidon, when Jason arrived in Iolcus and lost one of his sandals in the river Anauros ("wintry Anauros"), while helping an old woman (the Goddess Hera in disguise), to cross. She blessed him for she knew, as goddesses do, what Pelias had up his sleeve. When Jason entered Iolcus (modern-day city of Volos), he was announced as a man wearing one sandal. Jason, knowing that he was the rightful king, told Pelias that and Pelias said, "To take my throne, which you shall, you must go on a quest to find the Golden Fleece." Jason happily accepted the quest.

The Quest for the Golden Fleece

Jason bringing Pelias the Golden Fleece, Apulian red-figure calyx krater, ca. 340 BC–330 BC, Louvre

Jason assembled a great group of heroes, known as the Argonauts after their ship, the Argo. The group of heroes included the Boreads (sons of Boreas, the North Wind) who could fly, Heracles, Philoctetes, Peleus, Telamon, Orpheus, Castor and Pollux, Atalanta, and Euphemus.

The Isle of Lemnos

The isle of Lemnos is situated off the Western coast of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). The island was inhabited by a race of women who had killed their husbands. The women had neglected their worship of Aphrodite, and as a punishment the goddess made the women so foul in stench that their husbands couldn't bear to be near them. The men then took concubines from the Thracian mainland opposite, and the spurned women, angry at Aphrodite, killed every male inhabitant while they slept. The king, Thoas, was saved by Hypsipyle, his daughter, who put him out to sea sealed in a chest from which he was later rescued. The women of Lemnos lived for a while without men, with Hypsipyle as their queen.

During the visit of the Argonauts the women mingled with the men creating a new "race" called Minyae. Jason fathered twins with the queen. Heracles pressured them to leave as he was disgusted by the antics of the Argonauts. He hadn't taken part, which is truly unusual considering the numerous affairs he had with other women. [note 1]

Kyzicos

After Lemnos the Argonauts landed among the Doliones, whose king Kyzicos treated them graciously. The Argonauts departed, losing their bearings and landing again at the same spot that night. In the darkness, the Doliones took them for enemies and they started fighting each other. The Argonauts killed many of the Doliones, among them the king Kyzicos. Kyzicos' wife killed herself. The Argonauts realized their horrible mistake when dawn came.

Mysia

When the Argonauts reached Mysia, they sent some men to find food and water. Among these men was Heracles' servant, Hylas. The nymphs of the stream where Hylas was collecting were attracted to his good looks, and pulled him into the stream. Heracles returned to his Labors, but Hylas was lost forever. Others say that Heracles went to Colchis with the Argonauts and he got the Golden Girdle of the Amazons and slew the Stymphalian Birds at that time.[citation needed]

Phineus and the Harpies

Soon Jason reached the court of Phineas of Salmydessus in Thrace. Phineas had been given the gift of prophecy by Apollo, but was later given the choice of being blind and having a long life, or having sight and having a short life, for revealing to humans the deliberations of the gods. He chose to be blind. Helios the sun god sent the Harpies, creatures with the body of a bird and the head of a woman, to prevent Phineas from eating any more than what was necessary to live, because he was enraged that Phineas had chosen to live in a continual state of darkness than live in the sun he provided. Jason took pity on the emaciated king and killed the Harpies when they returned (In other versions Calais and Zetes chase the Harpies away). In return for this favor, Phineas revealed to Jason the location of Colchis and how to cross the Symplegades, or The Clashing Rocks, and then they parted.

The Symplegades

The only way to reach Colchis was to sail through the Symplegades (Clashing Rocks), huge rock cliffs that came together and crushed anything that traveled between them. Phineus told Jason to release a dove when they approached these islands, and if the dove made it through, to row with all their might. If the dove was crushed, he was doomed to fail. Jason released the dove as advised, which made it through, losing only a few tail feathers. Seeing this, they rowed strongly and made it through with minor damage at the extreme stern of the ship. From that time on, the clashing rocks were forever joined leaving free passage for others to pass.

The Arrival in Colchis

Jason and the Snake

Jason arrived in Colchis (modern Black Sea coast of Georgia) to claim the fleece as his own. King Aeetes of Colchis promised to give it to him only if he could perform three certain tasks. Presented with the tasks, Jason became discouraged and fell into depression. However, Hera had persuaded Aphrodite to convince her son Eros to make Aeetes's daughter, Medea, fall in love with Jason. As a result, Medea aided Jason in his tasks. First, Jason had to plow a field with fire-breathing oxen, the Khalkotauroi, that he had to yoke himself. Medea provided an ointment that protected him from the oxen's flames. Then, Jason sowed the teeth of a dragon into a field. The teeth sprouted into an army of warriors. Medea had previously warned Jason of this and told him how to defeat this foe. Before they attacked him, he threw a rock into the crowd. Unable to discover where the rock had come from, the soldiers attacked and defeated one another. His last task was to overcome the Sleepless Dragon which guarded the Golden Fleece. Jason sprayed the dragon with a potion, given by Medea, diluted from herbs. The dragon fell asleep, and Jason was able to seize the Golden Fleece. He then sailed away with Medea. Medea had to distract her father, who chased them, as they fled by killing her brother Apsyrtus and throwing pieces of his body into the sea, which Aeetes had to stop for and gather. In another version, Medea lured Apsyrtus into a trap. Jason kills him, chops off his fingers and toes, and buries the corpse. In any case, Jason and Medea escaped.

Return journey

On the way back to Iolcus, Medea prophesised to Euphemus, the Argo's helmsman, that one day he would rule Libya. This came true through Battus, a descendant of Euphemus. Zeus, as punishment for the slaughter of Medea's own brother, sent a series of storms at the Argo and blew it off course. The Argo then spoke and said that they should seek purification with Circe, a nymph living on the island called Aeaea. After being cleansed, they continued their journey home.

Sirens

Chiron had told Jason that without the aid of Orpheus, the Argonauts would never be able to pass the Sirens — the same Sirens encountered by Odysseus in Homer's epic poem the Odyssey. The Sirens lived on three small, rocky islands called Sirenum scopuli and sang beautiful songs that enticed sailors to come to them, which resulted in the crashing of their ship into the islands. When Orpheus heard their voices, he drew his lyre and played music that was more beautiful and louder, drowning out the Sirens' bewitching songs.

Talos

The Argo then came to the island of Crete, guarded by the bronze man, Talos. As the ship approached, Talos hurled huge stones at the ship, keeping it at bay. Talos had one blood vessel which went from his neck to his ankle, bound shut by only one bronze nail (as in metal casting by the lost wax method). Medea cast a spell on Talos to calm him; she removed the bronze nail and Talos bled to death. The Argo was then able to sail on.

Jason returns

Medea, using her sorcery, claimed to Pelias' daughters that she could make their father younger by chopping him up into pieces and boiling the pieces in a cauldron of water and magical herbs. She demonstrated this remarkable feat with a sheep, which leapt out of the cauldron as a lamb. The girls, rather naively, sliced and diced their father and put him in the cauldron. Medea did not add the magical herbs, and Pelias was dead.

[It should be noted that Thomas Bulfinch has an antecedent to the interaction of Medea and the daughters of Pelias. Jason, celebrating his return with the Golden Fleece, noted that his father was too aged and infirm to participate in the celebrations. He had seen and been served by Medea's magical powers. He asked Medea to take some years from his life and add them to the life of his father. She did so, but at no such cost to Jason's life. {See Thomas Bulfinch, page 134; compare to Shakespeare's witches in Macbeth.} Pelias' daughters saw this and wanted the same service for their father.] Pelias' son, Acastus, drove Jason and Medea into exile for the murder, and the couple settled in Corinth.

Treachery of Jason

In Corinth, Jason became engaged to marry Creusa (sometimes referred to as Glauce), a daughter of the King of Corinth, to strengthen his political ties. When Medea confronted Jason about the engagement and cited all the help she had given him, he retorted that it was not she that he should thank, but Aphrodite who made Medea fall in love with him. Infuriated with Jason for breaking his vow that he would be hers forever, Medea took her revenge by presenting to Creusa a cursed dress, as a wedding gift, that stuck to her body and burned her to death as soon as she put it on. Creusa's father, Creon, burned to death with his daughter as he tried to save her. Then Medea killed the two boys that she bore to Jason, fearing that they would be murdered or enslaved as a result of their mother's actions. When Jason came to know of this, Medea was already gone; she fled to Athens in a chariot sent by her grandfather, the sun-god Helios.

Later Jason and Peleus, father of the hero Achilles, would attack and defeat Acastus, reclaiming the throne of Iolcus for himself once more. Jason's son, Thessalus, then became king.

Because he broke his vow to love Medea forever, Jason lost his favor with Hera and died lonely and unhappy. He was asleep under the stern of the rotting Argo when it fell on him, killing him instantly. The manner of his death was due to the deities cursing him for breaking his promise to Medea.

In classical literature

Epic poetry

Though some of the episodes of Jason's story draw on ancient material, the definitive telling, on which this account relies, is that of Apollonius of Rhodes in his epic poem Argonautica, written in Alexandria in the late 3rd century BC.

Another Argonautica was written by Gaius Valerius Flaccus in the late 1st century AD, comprising of eight books in length. The poem ends abruptly with the request of Medea to accompany Jason on his homeward voyage. It is unclear if part of the epic poem has been lost, or if it had ever been finished. A third version is the Argonautica Orphica, which emphasizes the role of Orpheus in the story.

Jason is briefly mentioned in Dante's Divine Comedy. He appears in the Canto XVIII. In it, he is seen by Dante and his guide Virgil being punished in Hell's Eighth Circle (Bolgia 1) by being driven to march through the circle for all eternity while being whipped by devils. He is included among the seducers (possibly for his seduction and subsequent uncare of Medea).

Drama

The story of Medea's revenge on Jason is told with devastating effect by Euripides in his tragedy Medea.

Non-fiction

The mythical geography of the voyage of the Argonauts has been speculatively explicated by the historian of science and the cartography of Antiquity, Livio Catullo Stecchini, in a suggestive essay, The Voyage of the Argo, that draws upon fragments of the mythic sources Apollonius employed in constructing his poem.

Notes

  1. ^ Note: In "Hercules, My Shipmate" Robert Graves claims that Heracles fathered more children than anyone else of the crew.

See also

References

Bibliography

  • Publius Ovidius Naso. Metamorphoses.
  • Powell, B. The Voyage of the Argo. In Classical Myth. Upper Saddle River, NJ. Prentice Hall. 2001. pp. 477-489.
  • Alain Moreau, Le Mythe de Jason et Médée. Le Va-nu-pied et la Sorcière. Paris : Les Belles Lettres, collection « Vérité des mythes », 2006 (ISBN 10 2-251-32440-2).
  • Bulfinch's Mythology, Medea and Aeson.
  • King, David. Finding Atlantis: a true story of genius, madness, and an extraordinary quest for a lost world. Harmony Books, New York, 1970. (Based on works of Olof Rudbeck 1630-1702.)

Notes

External links


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

JASON ('Icwwv), in Greek legend, son of Aeson, king of Iolcus in Thessaly. He was the leader of the Argonautic expedition (see Argonauts). After he returned from it he lived at Corinth with his wife Medea for many years. At last he put away Medea, in order to marry Glauce (or Creusa), daughter of the Corinthian king Creon. To avenge herself, Medea presented the new bride with a robe and head-dress, by whose magic properties the wearer was burnt to death, and slew her children by Jason with her own hand. A later story represents Jason as reconciled to Medea (Justin, xlii. 2). His death was said to have been due to suicide through grief, caused by Medea's vengeance (Diod. Sic. iv. 55); or he was crushed by the fall of the poop of the ship "Argo," under which, on the advice of Medea, he had laid himself down to sleep (argument of Euripides' Medea). The name (more correctly Iason) means "healer," and Jason is possibly a local hero of Iolcus to whom healing powers were attributed. The ancients regarded him as the oldest navigator, and the patron of navigation. By the moderns he has been variously explained as a solar deity; a god of summer; a god of storm; a god of rain, who carries off the rain-giving cloud (the golden fleece) to refresh the earth after a long period of drought. Some regard the legend as a chthonian myth, Aea (Colchis) being the under-world in the Aeolic religious system from which Jason liberates himself and his betrothed; others, in view of certain resemblances between the story of Jason and that of Cadmus (the ploughing of the field, the sowing of the dragon's teeth, the fight with the Sparti, who are finally set fighting with one another by a stone hurled into their midst), associate both with Demeter the corn-goddess, and refer certain episodes to practices in use at country festivals, e.g. the stone throwing, which, like the OaXX ris at the Eleusinia and the XiOof30aia at Troezen (Pausanias ii. 30, 4 with Frazer's note) was probably intended to secure a good harvest by driving away the evil spirits of unfruitfulness.

See articles by C. Seeliger in Roseher's Lexikon der Mythologie and by F. Durrbach in Daremberg and Saglio's Dictionnaire des antiquites; H. D. Muller, Mythologie der griechischen Stcmme (1861), ii. 328, who explains the name Jason as "wanderer"; W. Mannhardt, Mythologische Forschungen (1884), pp. 75, 130; 0. Crusius, Beitrage zur griechischen Mythologie and Religionsgeschichte (Leipzig, 1886).

Later Versions of the Legend

Les fais et processes du noble et vaillant chevalier Jason was composed in the middle of the 15th century by Raoul Lefevre on the basis of Benoit's Roman de Troie, and presented to Philip of Burgundy, founder of the order of the Golden Fleece. The manners and sentiments of the 15th century are made to harmonize with the classical legends after the fashion of the Italian pre-Raphaelite painters, who equipped Jewish warriors with knightly lance and armour. The story is well told; the digressions are few; and there are many touches of domestic life and natural sympathy. The first edition is believed to have been printed at Bruges in 1474.

Caxton translated the book under the title of A Boke of the hoole Lyf of Jason, at the command of the duchess of Burgundy. A Flemish translation appeared at Haarlem in 1495. The Benedictine Bernard de Montfaucon (1655-1741) refers to a MS. by Guido delle Colonne, Historia Medeae et Jasonis (unpublished).

The Histoire de la Thoison d'Or (Paris, 1516) by Guillaume Fillastre (1400-1473), written about 1440-1450, is an historical compilation dealing with the exploits of the trks chretiennes maisons of France, Burgundy and Flanders.


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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also Jasón

Contents

English

Etymology

From the Ancient Greek Ἰάσων (Iasōn), from ἰάομαι (iaomai), I heal). The Jason mentioned in the New Testament (Acts 17:5-9, Romans 16:21 ) is probably a Greek rendering of Joshua.

Pronunciation

Proper noun

Singular
Jason

Plural
-

Jason

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Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia

  1. (Greek mythology) The leader of the Argonauts, who retrieved the Golden Fleece from king Aeetes of Colchis, for his uncle Pelias.
  2. A male given name; it was very popular in the English-speaking world in the 1970s and the 1980s.

Quotations

  • 1594, William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act III, Scene II:
    I know he will be glad of our success: / We are the Jasons, we have won the fleece.
  • 1611, King James Version of the Bible (Authorized Version), Acts 17:6-7
    And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.
  • 1984 Sue Townsend, The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole, Methuen 1985, ISBN 0413588106, page 49:
    The new prince left the hospital today. My father is hoping that he will be called George, after him. My mother said that it's time the Royal Family came up to date and called the Prince Brett or Jason.

Translations

Anagrams


Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki


he that will cure, the host of Paul and Silas in Thessalonica. The Jews assaulted his house in order to seize Paul, but failing to find him, they dragged Jason before the ruler of the city (Acts 17:5-9). He was apparently one of the kinsmen of Paul (Rom 16:21), and accompanied him from Thessalonica to Corinth.

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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Simple English

Jason was a hero of Greek mythology. He was the captain of the ship the Argos. The men who helped to sail the boat were called the Argonauts. The word Argonaut comes from the name of the boat: Arogs and the word ending -naut. The ending -naut is used in other words about the ocean such as nautical. Jason and the Argonauts went to find the Golden Fleece. His father was Aeson, the rightful king of Iolcus.








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