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Chapter 19 .pdf

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Douglas Frayne

- Prelude to theArgonautica - Phrixus,Helle,and the Golden Fleece: - Jason belonged to the family of theAeolids,descendants ofAeolus -Aeolus was king of Magnesia,inThessaly,a son of Hellen,and grandson of Deucalion and Pyrrha.He had seven sons includingAthamas,one of the unluckiest men in Greek legend -Athamas' first wife,Nephele,"cloud" bore him a son,Phrixus,and a girl Helle.Eventually tired of Nephele,Athamas took a second wife,Ino, daughter of Cadmus ofThebes - Ino boreAthamas two sons and was jealous of Phrixus because she feared that he,instead of one of her own children,might inherit the throne - Ino plotted to kill Phrixus - She persuaded the local women to parch the seed gain.Of course,the crop failed and feminine soon fell on the land,soAthamas sent messengers to the oracle at Delphi to ask what to do.Ino intercepted the messengers and bribed them to report thatApollo had replied that, to restore fertility to the land,Athamas must sacrifice his firstborn child, Phrixus -Athamas led Phrixus to the altar,knife in hand,but just as he was about to stab,a golden ram appeared beside the altar.Athamas took a step back while Phrixus and Helle climbed up on the back of the animal -As the ram passed over the entrance to the straits,Helle lost her grip and tumbled to her death in the narrows below still called Hellespont ("sea of Helle").The Propontis is also called the Sea of Marmara.The straits of the Hellespont are also called the Dardanelles -The ram flew on and at last alighted in the distant town of Colchis where a tyrantAeetes ("earth man") ruled.Aeetes was a son of Helius,the Sun,and brother of Circe and to Pasiphae,wife of King Minos of Crete - Phrixus sacrificed the ram to Zeus in gratitude and gave the skin of the animal toAeetes,who hung it from an oak tree in a grove ofAres - Pelias andAeson: - Salmoneus,brother ofAthamas,had a daughter namedTyro,who became the grandmother of Jason - Pelias,son ofTyro,grew up to be arrogant and intolerant.He drove out his brother Neleus fromThessaly and kept his half-brotherAeson imprisoned in the palace of Iolcus - Pelias took a wife and fathered several daughters:includingAlcestis,who married her cousinAdmetus,the son of Pheres,whom Heracles brought back from the dead -Aeson's wife bore a son,but fearing for the child's life,they spread the rumor that he was stillborn.They actually sent him to the Centaur Chiron.- - Chiron named him Jason - Pelias then learned from an oracle that a man with one sandal would one day bring about his downfall - Jason grew into manhood and headed towards Iolcus,determined to claim the throne as his own.As he hoisted and carried a woman on his shoulders, he accidentally lost a sandal.The woman was actually Hera in disguise - Hera hated Pelias because he did not honor her! She decided to destroy him through the wiles of the beautiful sorceress Medea.Jason's kind act proved to Hera that he would be capable of bringing Medea to Greece and therefore punishing Pelias - Pelias learned that a one-sandaled man was standing in the marketplace so he confronted the stranger:"What would you do if you knew someone was going to kill you,someone over whom you had power?" "Why,I'd send him to recover the Golden Fleece" Jason replied."I shall do as you suggest" snarled Pelias."Go!" -TheVoyage of theArgo: - Jason summonedArgus ("swift") who constructed the largest ship ever made andAthena inserted into its prow a magic,speaking beam,cut from Zeus's oracular oak at Dodona.The ship was namedArgo - Jason sent out.Call for the best fighting men:Heracles;Orpheus;the Dioscuri:Castor and Polydeuces,sons of Zeus and brothers of Helen andTroy; the Boreads:Zeles and Calais,sons of Boreas;Telamon,father of theTrojan war-heroAjax and his brother Peleus,father ofAchiles;Meleager,brother of Deianira and hero if the Calydonian Boar Hunt;the brothers Idas and Lynceus; Admetus,who marriedAlcestis and whomApollo served for a year as a slave; Augeas,whose stables Heracles cleaned;Tiphys,the helmsman;the seer Idmon; andArgus himself.And lastly,Pelias' own sonAcastus - Before departure,Idmon read the entrails of a sacrificed animal and saw that they would all return safely,except for himself - EarlyAdventures: - the landed on the man-less island of Lemnos populated by sex-starved women who had killed their husbands - the local king of the Doliones,Cyzicus,was a young man of Jason's age,newly married.He welcomed them warmly,for an oracle told him to be kind to strangers - Jason accidentally kills Cyzicus after a battle with the Greeks - Heracles,showing off his gigantic strength,pulled so hard on his oar that he snapped it in two - while Heracles locked for a good tree,his boy-friend Hylas,along for the ride, went inland to look for water.Lustful water-nymphs pulled him into a spring. Heracles heard the scream,but found nothing.The boy now lives with the nymphs deep in the pond - the next morning theArgonauts put to sea,not noticing that Heracles and Hylas were missing.When they discovered their mistake,some wanted to turn back,but Zetes and Calais wanted to just proceed (for which later Heracles killed them) -TheArgonauts put in to a land ruled by the braggartAmycus,an ugly,brutish man who challenged all passerby to box.He always won,but Polydeuces, although not do big and strong,dodged a killer blow,slipped in behind,and crushed the bones into his brains.Amycus dropped dead - Phineus and the Harpies: -TheArgonauts put ashore where King Phineus was in terrible plight.He had abused the gift of prophecy received fromApollo - Zeus gave Phineus the burden of long and painful old age and also denied him any food.A flock of Harpies would sweep from the clouds and snatch the food from his fingers - Phineus' wife,Cleopatra,a sister of Boreas' winged sons Zetes and Calais,and the desperate Phineus agreed to give Jason exact information about the future course of theArgo if Zetes and Calais would only free him from the Harpies -TheArgonauts baited a trap,a table set with delicious food.When the Harpies appeared,Zetes and Calais drew their swords and rose against them, pursuing them at lightning speed through the air until they fell from the sky -The Symplegades: - Phineus warned them especially about the Symplegades,the "Clashing Rocks" - these massive rumbling rocks,which lay in an impenetrable mist,smashed together and destroyed anything between them - Before attempting to get past,theArgonauts should release a dove - If the dove made it through,so would they;if it were killed,they should forget about their adventure and go home -When they sailed through,the dove made it through,losing only a tail of feather when the rocks smashed together.TheArgonauts made it through but the banner on theArgo's stern snapped away - Medea and the Golden Fleece: -After reaching the mouth of the river Phasis,the first of the Colchians to see Jason was the sorceress Medea,the king's daughter,agent of Hera's complicated plan to ki
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