Welcome to my summer series for this year, In Search of Greek Heroes, where I search for the facts and myths behind the greatest Heroes of ancient Greek religion. Today we are looking for the courageous Jason.
Jason, it is believed, lived from 1287 to 1247 BCE, being born royalty to King Aeson and Alcimede of the Kingdom of Iolcus in Thessaly. Before Jason could assume the throne, however, His uncle Pelias overthrew His family and seized power.
Jason's most notable adventure and success is the achievement of the Golden Fleece. For years, people have wondered what it actually was. To speak simply, it is the wool of a special kind of ram, golden and winged. Gold can indeed by intertwined with thread, so it's very well possible that there was a fleece that has been beaten in with gold or gold lining. In fact, the land where it allegedly resided was known to be rich in gold. The Fleece itself represented Kingship and Authority. After the overthrow of His royal parents, He was sent to be raised by the wise centaur known as Chiron before returning home to reclaim His throne. Meanwhile, the tyrant Pelias received a prophecy from a local oracle, to be wary of a man wearing only one sandal.
On Jason's journey home, He had one of the simplest but also one of my favorite adventures of His life. Coming to an old woman at a river crossing, He took her upon His back and waded through to the other side, losing a sandal along the way and also not realizing that the old woman was Hera in disguise, Queen of all Gods. She blessed the young man for His kindness and also because She did not like Pelias. Upon meeting Him, and seeing the one-shoed youth, He made Jason a deal. If He could capture and return with the Golden Fleece, he would step down and give the throne back to Him. The legendary object was located in Colchis, which is the modern day nation of Georgia, on the far East of the Black Sea.
Jason did not go alone, however. He assembled a crew of Heroes and also a Heroine (Atalanta, the only female aboard), naming them all Argonauts, after the name He gave the ship, Argo. When they finally made it to Colchis after many amazing encounters and adventures, the king of the realm was in possession of the Fleece, but would only relinquish it to Jason if He preformed a series of tasks successfully. The first was plowing a complete field using fire-breathing and bronze hooved bulls known as the Khalkotauroi. The second was to sow dragon's teeth in the field, which resulted in the resurrection of stone warriors from the earth, whom He defeated. The king, however, still did not want to give it up. Helped my Medea, a legendary witch and sorceress, Jason found the oak where the Fleece hung, guarded by a deadly dragon. Medea used her spells to make the dragon fall into a deep sleep. Jason took the Fleece and headed for home.
He eventually did reclaim the throne, but had an extremely hard life afterwards. It was not a glorious reign. Jason died in 1247 BCE, while sleeping under the Argo one night. The stern, rotted from years of use and disrepair, fell and crushed Him.In the Goodness of the Gods,