Tuesday, May 25, 2021

In Search of Greek Heroes: Jason

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. 


One of the most interesting things about Jason's story in terms of examining His life and history, is that for a notable time, historians argued that the story of Jason's voyage, as written, could not be true because the ships of His time could not have survived those waters for such a long journey. However, in 1984, an adventurer by the name of Tim Severin decided to test that theory. He reconstructed an ancient Greek ship of the time period with his own crew and successfully sailed the entire distance, proving that it could have been done. The skeptics were completely debunked. The story of Jason and the Argonauts was a solid possibility. To read his book, The Jason Voyage, is to see just how horrendous and painful such a trip would have been for ancient men. It's one reason why all of the Argonauts are Heroes. Tim Severin sadly passed away last year, leaving behind a life of remarkable adventure work and exploration.

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,
Chris Aldridge.

Note To The Reader
Thank you so much for taking time to read my latest writing. Without your viewership, my site would have no purpose. The upper right side column of the site holds some of my best books if you wish to read more of my materials. Thank you again, because while Polytheism and Paganism are growing religions, we are still a minority, and Hellenism is a minority within that minority. Your readership and financial support makes it possible for Hellenists like me to continue helping and representing our religious community and likeminded people. To this day, I have published over 300 posts on history, myth and religious practice for our people. If you have already read all of my books, you may send a donation to my PayPal address at chriswaynealdridge@gmail.com. May the Gods smile on you.


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