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> Jason and the Argonauts, Special on Discovery Channel
Cleo_Serapis
post Nov 9 03, 19:28
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Hi all.

I'm watching a new show right now on Discovery Channel, "Ancient Evidence" - Jason and the Argonauts.

They have recently found archaological evidence in Greece to support the myth of Jason ("Healer" in Greek) and his trade expedition as a merchant.


Excerps below from "The Golden Fleece" by Thomas Bulfinch - Age of Fable: Vols. I & II: Stories of Gods and Heroes.  1913

"At that time the only species of navigation known to the Greeks consisted of small boats or canoes hollowed out from trunks of trees, so that when Jason employed Argus to build him a vessel capable of containing fifty men, it was considered a gigantic undertaking. It was accomplished, however, and the vessel named “Argo,” from the name of the builder. Jason sent his invitation to all the adventurous young men of Greece, and soon found himself at the head of a band of bold youths, many of whom afterwards were renowned among the heroes and demigods of Greece. Hercules, Theseus, Orpheus, and Nestor were among them. They are called the Argonauts, from the name of their vessel.    

The “Argo” with her crew of heroes left the shores of Thessaly and having touched at the Island of Lemnos, thence crossed to Mysia and thence to Thrace. Here they found the sage Phineus, and from him received instruction as to their future course. It seems the entrance of the Euxine Sea was impeded by two small rocky islands, which floated on the surface, and in their tossings and heavings occasionally came together, crushing and grinding to atoms any object that might be caught between them. They were called the Symplegades, or Clashing Islands. Phineus instructed the Argonauts how to pass this dangerous strait. When they reached the islands they let go a dove, which took her way between the rocks, and passed in safety, only losing some feathers of her tail. Jason and his men seized the favorable moment of the rebound, plied their oars with vigor, and passed safe through, though the islands closed behind them, and actually grazed their stern. They now rowed along the shore till they arrived at the eastern end of the sea, and landed at the kingdom of Colchis.

Jason made known his message to the Colchian king, Æetes, who consented to give up the golden fleece if Jason would yoke to the plough two fire-breathing bulls with brazen feet, and sow the teeth of the dragon which Cadmus had slain, and from which it was well known that a crop of armed men would spring up, who would turn their weapons against their producer. Jason accepted the conditions, and a time was set for making the experiment. Previously, however, he found means to plead his cause to Medea, daughter of the king. He promised her marriage, and as they stood before the altar of Hecate, called the goddess to witness his oath. Medea yielded, and by her aid, for she was a potent sorceress, he was furnished with a charm, by which he could encounter safely the breath of the fire-breathing bulls and the weapons of the armed men.    

At the time appointed, the people assembled at the grove of Mars, and the king assumed his royal seat, while the multitude covered the hill-sides. The brazen-footed bulls rushed in, breathing fire from their nostrils that burned up the herbage as they passed. The sound was like the roar of a furnace, and the smoke like that of water upon quick-lime. Jason advanced boldly to meet them. His friends, the chosen heroes of Greece, trembled to behold him. Regardless of the burning breath, he soothed their rage with his voice, patted their necks with fearless hand, and adroitly slipped over them the yoke, and compelled them to drag the plough. The Colchians were amazed; the Greeks shouted for joy. Jason next proceeded to sow the dragon’s teeth and plough them in. And soon the crop of armed men sprang up, and, wonderful to relate! no sooner had they reached the surface than they began to brandish their weapons and rush upon Jason. The Greeks trembled for their hero, and even she who had provided him a way of safety and taught him how to use it, Medea herself, grew pale with fear. Jason for a time kept his assailants at bay with his sword and shield, till, finding their numbers overwhelming, he resorted to the charm which Medea had taught him, seized a stone and threw it in the midst of his foes. They immediately turned their arms against one another, and soon there was not one of the dragon’s brood left alive. The Greeks embraced their hero, and Medea, if she dared, would have embraced him too.    

It remained to lull to sleep the dragon that guarded the fleece, and this was done by scattering over him a few drops of a preparation which Medea had supplied. At the smell he relaxed his rage, stood for a moment motionless, then shut those great round eyes, that had never been known to shut before, and turned over on his side, fast asleep. Jason seized the fleece and with his friends and Medea accompanying, hastened to their vessel before Æetes the king could arrest their departure, and made the best of their way back to Thessaly, where they arrived safe, and Jason delivered the fleece to Pelias, and dedicated the “Argo” to Neptune. What became of the fleece afterwards we do not know, but perhaps it was found after all, like many other golden prizes, not worth the trouble it had cost to procure it."


Now.....I'm going back to watch the show. Any comments?

TTFN!
~Cleo  :pharoah:


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Guest_Don_*
post May 22 04, 12:07
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And it is said that the Irish have far fetched tales.

Unfortunately inaccuracy of my memory destroys veracity, but this past year I have read about Celts in north coast of France building 60 foot long log boats that were used to trade across the channel.  
These were substantial enough to resist ramming by Roman craft.  J. Ceaser(spell) is said to have advised his forces that ramming would be ineffective.
I suspect part of the problem with construction of large log boats is the availability of tall trees.  Ownership of these woods would be a factor.

I wonder of what the clashing islands consisted?  I picture two very steep sided land masses within a body of heavy seas or waves that fluctuated drastically.  In a wave depression the islands are close and an at a peak the land is far apart.  Another mental picture is a long narrow channel with waves sloshing forth and back.

I suspect that the fleece may not actually have been golden, but very valuable from magical powers. The leather bandolier the Queen of the Amazons wore was magical for protection.  Like body armour today.  The dun cow in the epic Irish cattle raid was also magical.

One must always be aware that embellishments become tuned with age.

Thanks for the long description.


Don
 
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