Jason and The Argonauts — The Epic Quest for the Golden Fleece (Complete Myth)

Jason and The Argonauts — The Epic Quest for the Golden Fleece (Complete Myth)

Who was Jason in Greek Mythology?

JASON, the son of Aeson and Alcimede, was a Greek hero and voyager, born in Iolcus, a town in Thessalian Magnesia. However, difficulties arose when Aeson, ruler of, was dethroned by his half brother Pelias. Either because Alcimede distrusted Pelias’ intentions towards Jason or simply because it would better for the boy if he were educated elsewhere.

She placed Jason in the care of the wise Centaur Chiron, who lived in the Thessalian woodlands. Chiron was skilled in many things, including medicine, and may have given the boy the name Jason (meaning “healer”).

Who were the Argonauts in Greek Mythology?

THE ARGONAUTS were very early explorers, most likely the first Greek Voyagers to the Black Sea. The Argonauts consisted of 50 members or heroes in Greek mythology who sailed from Thessaly, where their leader, Jason, was the rightful king of Iolcus. Years before the Trojan War, the Argonauts accompanied Jason to Colchis in his quest to find the Golden Fleece.

When people ask me where it all began, where my interest in mythology came from, the answer is always the same Jason and the Argonauts. More specifically, the 1963 movie. However, we will be looking at the complete myth or story of Jason and the Argonauts as they embark on their epic quest to find the Golden Fleece.

There are numerous stories of Jason’s quest for the Golden Fleece. Still, the most comprehensive comes from Apollonius Rhodius in his epic poem Argonautica, which is one of the only surviving epics from the Hellenistic period.

Before we get into the story, it’s probably best to start with Jason’s backstory and heritage.

Jason’s Backstory and Heritage

It’s pretty much agreed that Jason’s father was a man named Aeson, who also happened to be next in line to be king of Iolcus—a city in Thessaly. However, his mother is someone that not every poet seems to agree with. Apollonius and many others claim this woman’s name to be Alcimede.

Jason in Greek Mythology — Jason and the Argonauts
Jason with the Golden Fleece by Bertel Thorvaldsen

Another pretty common belief is that Jason was a descendant of the gods, not quite a demigod in the same vein as Heracles or Perseus, but there was some divine blood there.

Whether it was his grandparents, great-grandparents or even further down the line, some say it eventually stems back to Hermes, and others say it’s Poseidon. Still, if it’s just mere speculation, you may also throw Zeus in there for good measure.

Simply put, Jason’s father was a king, his mother was a beautiful woman, and somewhere along the line, there is some divine blood, which is a reasonably typical backstory for any Greek hero.

Before Jason was born, his father, Aeson, was overthrown and imprisoned by his half-brother and Jason’s uncle, Pelias—who believed he was the rightful king of southern Thessaly. Their mother pleaded with Pelias not to kill Aeson, and so he was left alive but locked away from the rest of the city.

Aeson eventually met her woman named Alcimede, and she would later fall pregnant with Jason. Knowing that Pelias would have any child of Aeson and hers killed, she did the only thing she could to deceive the new king. She had her handmaidens weep and sob when Jason was born, convincing Pelias that the boy did not survive the birth. She then sent the baby away to keep him safe.

Jason was raised outside of the city on Mount Pelion by the Centaur Chiron, who was best known for educating gods, demigods and future kings. If someone had the potential to do great things from a young age, they would likely be sent Chiron at some point, where they would be taught a variety of skills from combat and archery to medicine and philosophy.

After his rather eventful birth, Jason’s childhood was fairly quiet and uneventful. It wasn’t until he was a young man that people would start to pay attention to Jason.

The Labour of Jason—Calydonian Boar Hunt

The Labour of Jason—Calydonian Boar Hunt

For years, the city of Calydon had been plagued by an enormous boar sent by Artemis when the king refused the sacrifice in her name.

To solve this problem, the hunt for the Calydonian boar became a massive, celebrated event. Attended by the most prestigious hunters and even heroes such as Theseus. Despite the sheer number that joined in on this hunt, the boar was slain by Jason. Rather impressive for someone who not many knew of, especially when you consider he was still in his teenage years.

Jason Returns to Homeland

At the age of 20, Jason finally decided it was time to return home, where King Pelias was hosting a series of games in Poseidon’s honour. After Jason was sent away as a child all those years ago, the king feared someone would challenge him in the same way he had done to his brother. And so, he consulted an Oracle—who told him to be wary of a man wearing just one sandal.

On his way home, Jason came across an old woman attempting to cross a river and offered her his assistance. In doing so, he lost one of his sandals downstream. The old woman then gave him a blessing, but this wasn’t because he had helped her.

This was because that old woman was actually the goddess Hera in disguise, and she could see what the king had planned for Jason. She decided that he needed all the blessings he could get.

When Jason entered the city, nobody knew who he was. But he was brought before the king when they noticed he was wearing only one sandal. Jason knew that he was the rightful king, but Pelias had planned for this day. He knew he would encounter a man with one sandal; he just didn’t think it would be his nephew—the boy he thought died all those years ago.

He asked Jason a question, “What would you do if an Oracle told you one of your citizens was destined to kill you?” Jason laughed and told the King he “would send them to the far lands of Colchis to retrieve the Golden Fleece. For surely they would fail and never be seen again.” Jason spoke these words, but they came from Hera, who believed they would save Jason from an execution.

When Jason then declared himself the rightful heir to the throne, Pelias did not deny his claim but merely set their deal conditions. He swore to Zeus that Jason could take the throne if he embarked on a quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece—a deal that everyone would agree heavily favoured the king.

The odds of Jason returning alive was slim, and to return with the Golden Fleece was considered impossible. However, this didn’t stop Jason from accepting the offer, but he wasn’t foolish enough to make the journey to Colchis by himself.

First, he would need a ship. He managed to procure the legendary ship known as Argo—what many consider to be the first ship ever to sail the seas. Now, he would need a crew to join him on this voyage. This crew consisted of a group of men known as the Argonauts.

Who Were Among the Argonauts?

Jason and the Argonauts Arriving at Colchis, by Charles de La Fosse. The poem Argonautica was written specifically for Ptolemaic Alexandria, but it has long been a resource for other dynasties seeking to illustrate their power and ambitions. This painting is located in the Château de Versailles.

If you’ve ever wondered where the name came from, it simply means Argo sailors or sailors of Argo. Being named after a ship they sailed doesn’t mean that they were a bunch of random men that Jason picked up off the streets to make up the numbers.

The Argonauts were comprised of the sons of kings, heroes and gods. To say that it was a raw stacked crew doesn’t tell the whole story.

Some of the more well-known names included Heracles, who needs no introduction; Peleus, the father of Achilles; the sons of the northern wind, known as the Boreads, who could fly; the divine twin Castor and Pollux, sons of Zeus; the legendary musician Orpheus; and the hero of Philoctetes, who appears in numerous stories including the 12 labours of Heracles and the Trojan War.

Much of the crew was also made up of hunters. Many of which took part in the hunt for the Calydonian Boar. These included Euphemus, a son of Poseidon who could walk on water; the Prince of Calydon, Meleager; and the Huntress Atalanta, who was the only woman to embark on this journey.

Before they set sail, they took a vote to decide who should captain this journey. Unsurprisingly, they chose Heracles. But Heracles rejected this notion—this was Jason’s quest, and he should lead.

The Epic Quest for the Golden Fleece

So, with introductions out of the way, Jason and the Argonauts left Thessaly and began their voyage to Colchis, the home of the Golden Fleece.

Modern-day Colchis is a stretch of land covering parts of Russia, Georgia and Turkey, with the majority being in Georgia.

First Stop: Island of Lemnos

The first stop of note was on the island of Lemnos, which is in modern-day Turkey. This island, however, was far from normal. It was inhabited by a group of women who had killed all of their husbands. The women of Lemnos ignored their worship of Aphrodite, and so, she cursed all of them.

What this curse did was make the women smell bad, which sounds pretty tame, but were probably talking about a stench that was vomit-inducing. The men of Lemnos, unable to bear just being around these women, spent most of their time on mainland Thrace, with women who probably didn’t smell like death. This drove their wives crazy, and so one night, they just decided to kill all of the men when they were sleeping.

The only man left alive was King Thoas. He was thrown into a barrel and left to float away at sea by his daughter Princess Hypsipyle, who in all this madness had become queen Hypsipyle—queen of the disgusting smelling women. A title you could only dream of.

When the Argonauts landed on the island, the women decided they would encourage them to stay. Jason was taken before the Queen, and she falls instantly in love. The women then take Jason and the rest of the crew home, leaving only Heracles and a few stragglers to look after the ship.

So, either Aphrodite’s curse had no effect on the Argonauts, and the women smelt fine, or they’d been at sea for that long that they care. Regardless, it creates this weird situation where Heracles is the voice of reason. Which is ironic in itself, considering how many wives he went through.

Jason and his men remained with the women for longer than originally planned. Every day, the voyage was postponed. They would set sail the next morning, but the same excuse would be used again and again. That is until Heracles decided it was enough.

He rallied the Argonauts and told them it was time to start behaving like heroes. Retrieving the Golden Fleece was their quest, and they had made no progress.

It does give us a small insight into why the men may have chosen Heracles to lead, as, without him, Jason would have fallen at the very first hurdle.

Jason fathered two twins with the Queen, and the rest of the Argonauts most likely had a bunch of children they left behind to continue this quest. It does raise the question as to whether these children were born of the same curse as their mothers.

It has no relevance to the story, but that is a pretty unlucky childhood; never knowing your fathers and thinking it was no more torn of vomit every time you went near a woman—the island of Lemnos just sucks.

Second Stop: The Encounter with the Gegenees

The Argonauts losing their bearings landed on an island inhabited by a group of people known as the Doliones, the descendants of Poseidon. They greeted Jason and his men with hospitality, inviting them to join in on the celebrations as they had just crowned a new king, King Cyzicus, son of Aeneus and Aenete.

They also told them to be wary of the Gegenees (Gegeines)—a race of savage six-armed giants who didn’t take kindly to trespassers on their land.

As Jason and most of the Argonauts celebrated and enjoyed the festivities, Heracles in a small group of men stayed behind once again to look after the Argo. Unknown to the Argonauts, the Gegenees watched as most of them went into the forest and decided they would raid the ship, not knowing that a few men had stayed behind.

Heracles and the few men he had killed most of the Giants, buying enough time for Jason and the rest of the crew to return and drive them away. So, I guess the reasons why Heracles should have led counter is now apparent.

King Cyzicus had given Jason directions, so they set sail that evening. Unfortunately, they once again lost their bearings and ended up back where they started.

King Cyzicus and his people, seeing a ship approaching in the dead of night, assumed the worst, and with it being so dark, neither one could recognize the other, which resulted in the Argonauts slaughtering the natives, and the newly crowned King Cyzicus was now the newly deceased king.

After a brief apology and the tending King Cyzicus’ funeral, peace was made, and when the weather improved, the Argonauts left the island for good this time.

So, to recap the story so far, the Argonauts have wasted a bunch of time knocking up some cursed women, killed some six-armed Giants, got themselves lost numerous times, and killed the king of the only people who has helped them thus far.

The Leadership of Jason Challenged by the Argonauts

At this point in the story, Jason and the Argonauts’ relationship begins to fray when his leadership is challenged.

When they stopped off at a river to resupply, Heracles sent his attendant Hylas to fetch water, but a water nymph abducted him on his way. Heracles and another Argonaut named Polyphemus set out to find the missing attendant.

However, Jason and the rest of the crew set sail, and when they finally realized that there are three missing Argonauts, they turned to Jason—accusing him of leaving without Heracles on purpose out of jealousy.

Before this turned into a full-blown mutiny, the god Glaucus appeared from the depths of the ocean to tell the crew that it was the gods who are responsible for the missing men. This would ease the tension between Jason and the rest of the crew as they continued.

Third Stop: The Tribe of Bithynia

They finally passed the Aegean Sea and into the Sea of Marmara, where they encountered the Bebryces, a group of tribes from Thrace that migrated to Asia, with many of them stopping off in Turkey.

This time the Argonauts were not given a friendly welcome. Instead, King Amycus challenged any one of the Argonauts to a fistfight to the death.

One of the twins we mentioned earlier, Polydeuces (Pollux), took exception to the king’s lack of hospitality. He accepted the King’s challenge, and after a brief fistfight, he punched the king to death.

When the guards tried to intervene, there was a standoff between the rest of the Argonauts. After a while, they decided enough damage had been done, and the natives fled. This means the murdered king’s counter is also at 2. Before leaving, they stole some cattle and took it back to the Argo.

Fourth Stop: Saving Phineus from the Harpies

Jason and the Argonauts Saving Phineus from the Harpies

The Argonauts landed on the opposite coast of Thrace, with a group of natives they just encountered migrated from. Here, they come across an old man named Phineus. He doesn’t question who they are or why they’re there because he already knows the answer.

Phineus possessed powers of prophecy. So, powerful that not even the gods could hide their dealings. When he began to share their divine secrets and reveal the future of man, that’s when Zeus would intervene.

Phineus was originally a young man until Zeus cursed him with old age and blindness. Which for Zeus sound rather tame, but that’s because there was more. Whenever Phineus sat down to enjoy a meal, he would be tormented by a group of Harpies who would defile his food. He was blind, old and always hungry.

Despite this, he was pretty relaxed about the whole situation because he knew Jason and the argonauts were destined to save him. When the Harpies came that evening, they were chased off by the Boreads. So, I guess the ability to fly came in handy.

In return for their assistance, Phineus help them plot a course to Colchis, and he warned them of the clashing rocks, which happens to be their next obstacle.

Obstacle: The Clashing Rocks (The Symplegades)

The Argonauts passed The Clashing Rocks (The Symplegades)

The clashing rocks or the wandering rocks are exactly what you would expect. A pair of cliffs that crash together whenever something tries to go through them. This is where Phineus’ advice would save the day.

He suggested that the Argonauts allowed a dove to fly above the rocks, as when they crashed together, it would only lose its tail feathers. When they reopened, the Argonauts rode as fast as possible, trying to catch these rocks off guard. And as Phineus predicted, this worked.

The rocks reopened and slammed again as quickly as possible, but the Argo sustained only minor damage.

After this encounter, the rocks never moved again. So, I guess being bested by the Argonauts meant they just gave up squashing people forever and just became ‘regular, boring rocks.’

Fifth Stop: Rescuing Three Survivors

Finally reaching the Black Sea, they passed the river Acheron (the woe), where they met King Lycus, who hated the Bebryces with passion.

Upon hearing that the Argonauts had killed their king, he gave them more than a friendly welcome. Luckily for Lycus, this brief stop did not end with a king’s death, but we do lose some more Argonauts, sadly.

The ship’s helmsman, Tiphys, died from illness, and the prophet Idmon was killed by a wild boar. They built some graves for their fallen comrades and moved swiftly on. Because at this rate of travel, there would be no one left by the time they arrived in Colchis.

Luckily for the Argonauts, they found some more crew members when they came across three men stranded by none other than Heracles during his 12 labours when he journeyed to the Amazons.

A fourth man named the Stenellus died during this labour, but the crew could still see his ghost. It was this ghost that led them to his tomb, where they found the other three survivors.

In order to honour this ghost man who had just saved them, they all poured a drink in his name.

Sixth Stop: The Temple of Ares

They continued once again, this time with their newly bolstered ranks until they reached the river Thermodon, where they had planned to rest for a while. But when it was revealed that this harbour belonged to the Amazons, they quickly left the next morning.

Instead, they found a nearby deserted island with a temple dedicated to Ares that they could rest in. The temple itself was only guarded by birds which they easily fended off.

Inside the temple, they found four more stranded survivors. These were the children of Phrixus and the grandchildren of the king of Colchis himself, Aeëtes. As they were closing in on Colchis, they decided it would make sense to have some natives on board, and so Jason welcomed them to the crew.

Once they were rested, they set sail, leaving the island behind. For the first time, the Argonauts had their destination in their sights. But this was only the halfway point of their journey.

Arriving at Colchis

Jason and the Argonauts arriving at Colchis

Not wanting to announce their presence just yet, they chose to dock in the backwaters. So far, the influence of the gods on Jason’s quest has been quite small, but this is where Hera and Athena decided it was time to help Jason.

The king of Colchis was quite a stubborn man, and so they decided that his daughter may be the key to retrieve in the Golden Fleece. If they could enlist the help of Aphrodite, they could make her fall in love with Jason.

When they visited Aphrodite, she was busy arguing with her son Eros. She told them it was unlikely he’d be willing to shoot his arrow at Medea whilst he was in this mood. Hera then suggests that it was as simple as bribing him to keep him happy.

And so, Aphrodite gave him a Golden Ball to carry with him as he flew through the sky, which would leave a trail of gold dust behind him resembling a shooting star. This pleased Eros, and whatever they were arguing about before no longer mattered.

Back in Colchis, Jason decided that it would be best to first negotiate, rather than just storming in and just taking the Golden Fleece. They could use the king’s grandsons to help smooth over this negotiation process.

When they entered the palace, Medea let out a cry at the sight of her four nephews. In this commotion, Eros was able to sneak in, unbeknownst to anybody, and fire his arrow at Medea. And just as planned, she fell instantly in love with Jason.

The king was less than pleased when his grandsons are asked for the Golden Fleece to be taken back to Ealcus. He accused them of conspiring against him to try and take his kingdom away from him.

Jason tried to defuse the situation and make a bargain with the king, but he just responded with a series of tasks that he deemed impossible for Jason. With no other choice, Jason reluctantly accepts and heads back to the Argo to inform his crew.

The Labours set by King Aeëtes

Medea is left torn between helping Jason and facing her father’s wrath or doing nothing and watching her nephews, and new love dies.

She tells her sister that she fears her children may die if Jason is unsuccessful. Her sister then convinces Medea that she must help Jason regardless of the consequences. Medea is extremely conflicted, and it starts to wear down her mental state to the point where she considers suicide. But ultimately, she decided this would help neither her nephews nor Jason.

However, with her mind made up, she arranges a secret meeting between the two outside of a temple of Hecate. Jason promises Medea that he will make her the most famous sorceress across Greece if she helps him. And she told him if he was to forget about this act of kindness, she would fly to Greece on the wind and make him pay.

Jason then tells Medea that there is no need to fly to Greece because she should come back with him as his future wife. To that question, she refused to give him an answer, but she gave him all the advice needed to complete the trials ahead of him.

Jason and the fire-breathing Oxen

When Jason returned to his men, they were once again divided. Some thought accepting help from Medea was unheroic, and the others believed it was their best option. The trial itself consisted of ploughing fields that were plagued by fire-breathing Oxen.

Entering the fields with a blessing Medea and given him, Jason was able to wrestle the oxen unaffected by the fire and began to plough the field.

An army of warriors then sprouted from the soil, but Jason was able to fend them off with the advice Medea had given him. Knowing they were coming, Jason threw rocks into the crowd as they sprouted. Unaware of where these rocks came from, most of these warriors fought amongst each other instead of stopping Jason.

Jason had completed the trial and won over the crowd that had gathered. But king Aeëtes returned to his palace furious and began to plot a way that allowed him to cheat Jason out of their deal.

Retrieving the Golden Fleece

Jason and the golden fleece

The king was aware of Medea’s treason, but the Golden Fleece was still guarded by a giant serpent he believed would buy him enough time to stop Jason. She warned the Argonauts of her father’s plan not to honour their deal, so they had to hurry.

When they found the tree where the Golden Fleece resided, it was guarded by an enormous dragon. Medea had already concocted a potion that would stop this, beast and when Jason sprayed the dragon, it fell instantly asleep. Allowing them to grab the Golden Fleece and leave quickly; and thus, began the long and difficult journey home to Iolcus.

Quest Completed: Sailing Back to Iolcus

Eighth Stop: The Death of Medea’s Brother, Absyrtus

Sailing back, the Argo was pursued by several Colchis ships. Leading the fleet was Medea’s half-brother Absyrtus, who managed to corner the Argo ship just off the coast of an (name to researched) island.

Here, the local Kingdom mediated peace talks between the two, and Jason was allowed to keep the Fleece as it was deemed to have been won fairly. However, Medea was not so lucky. She would be tried for treason by the local Kings, a crime that she would surely be found guilty of.

They instead came up with a plan that would involve tricking her brother into believing she would go peacefully back to Colchis. When he came to collect her, they would murder him and chop his body into pieces.

The Argo set sail, and the remaining coconut began to give chase, but they stopped for Absyrtus’ body parts to be thrown overboard. The King would surely want his son brought back in one piece to be given a proper burial.

In some stories, Absyrtus was dismembered to avoid the wrath of the Erinyes, and whether this worked or not, it didn’t take into account the wrath of Zeus, who would watch the entire murder happen. He summoned a gale that blew the Argo further north, closer to Italy than Greece.

Here, they came across the Enchantress Circe—a figure that Medea is often compared and associated with. She absolves them of any guilt regarding Absyrtus’ murder, and they continued on their way. This is when we see Hera go against Zeus’ wishes, trying to help Jason get back home.

Hera convinced the sea nymph, Thetis, to give the Argo safe passage by telling her that Medea was destined to marry her new-born child, Achilles, in the afterlife.

Obstacle: Encounter with the Sirens

the argonauts and the sirens

Before meeting Thetis, the argonauts came across the same group of sirens encountered by Odysseus. Luckily, Chiron had warned Jason before leaving, and that is why they needed Orpheus, a master musician.

When the sirens began to sing their song, Orpheus took out his lyre and played a song that overpowered their voices, allowing the crew to sail on by, unaffected. There was, of course, one Argonaut who felt the need to jump overboard, but he was rescued by Aphrodite and taken back to Sicily.

Obstacle: The Wandering Rocks

The argonauts and The Wandering Rocks

With the help of Thetis, the Argonauts plan the route they would take. Jason chose to avoid the Straits of Messina, and in turn, Scylla and Charybdis—which was a wise choice considering what happened to Odysseus.

Instead, they would travel through the wandering rocks—an area where the sea was particularly violent and treacherous. With help from Thetis, the Argo was guided safely.

Ninth Stop: Island of Corfu

Their next stop would be the island of Corfu, where they encountered the second half of the Colchis fleet, which unknown to them had continued giving chase.

The king of Corfu, Alcinous, offered to mediate this dispute once again. He agreed that the Golden Fleece belonged to Jason, but Medea should be surrendered to the Colchis unless she was married. And so, the queen helped the two get married in a sacred cave, leaving the Colchis to go home once again disappointed.

Tenth Stop and Obstacle: Shore of Libya and Carrying the Argo

Zeus, angered by Hera’s previous involvement, sent another gust of wind after the Argo, knocking them off course once again but this time onto the shores of Libya. Isolated in a foreign land like no other, the Argonauts began to lose hope. There was no way home this time.

Until they were visited by the three nymphs known as the guardians of Libya, who told them how to survive and return to their home, they would have to carry the Argo across the desert. After 12 days, they would arrive at Lake Triton and the garden of the Hesperides.

Here, the Hesperides tell them that the garden was raided the day before by Heracles, and he killed its guardian serpent, Ladon. Encouraged by the news that Heracles was alive, the Argonaut set sail. This time full of hope that they would be reunited with their friends and family.

As they journey down the lake, Triton appeared to them and revealed the route that would lead to the open sea.

Final Obstacle: Encounter with Talos

Now, all but home, there was one last encounter on the island of Crete, with the bronze giant Talos, who wouldn’t let them pass believing they were pirates. Talos was built by Hephaestus, and he had one vein that went from his neck to his ankle.

Medea cast a spell that would calm the Giant. She would then remove the bronze nail that held this vein in place, and Talus would bleed to death.

Jason Returns to Iolcus

So, after all this time, Jason returned home with the Golden Fleece and celebrated with his people as the soon-to-be king of the Iolcus. He had restored his family name; he had a wife, and he had the Golden Fleece, but one thing still saddened him.

Restoration of Aeson’s Youthful Vigour

His father had grown old over the years and was unable to celebrate with his son. Jason asked Medea if she could take years off his own life and give them to his father. She told him it was possible, but Jason wouldn’t have to pay with his own life.

She took blood from Aeson, transfused it with a mixture of magical herbs, and pumped it back into his veins, which restored his strength and youth.

The Death of Pelias

King Pelias’ daughter witnessing this, demanded that she did the same for her father. Medea obliged, telling the girl that she could restore his youth and vigour if they chopped him into pieces and boiled them in a cauldron. She convinced Pelias’ daughter by taking the oldest Ram in the flock and boiling its pieces. Only for a much younger ram to leap out of the cauldron.

The girl needed to see no more and began hacking away at her father’s sleep and threw him into the cauldron. However, Medea refused to add the magical herbs and Pelias was finally dead.

Many would argue that Pelias had it coming for a long time, and either Jason or his father should have killed him anyway. Medea’s actions driven out of spite and revenge would backfire grossly.

The king’s son Acastus would rally the people after his father’s death. Medea would be charged with killing the king, and Jason would follow as an accessory to murder. They were banished to Corinth, and so, Acastus reclaimed the kingdom of Iolcus.

For those paying attention, the King slain counter is now at 3.

Treachery of Jason; Medea Revenge

They would then travel to Corinth, where they were allowed to settle. Jason agreed to marry the king’s daughter, hoping to gain some political allies to aid him and take him back to his city. But when Medea found out, she was less than pleased, considering the vow he had taken and all the help she had given him.

Jason then revealed that Aphrodite made her fall in love with him, and if he should be thankful to anyone, it should be her. She attended the wedding and gave the bride a dress that was cursed. It stuck to her body and burned her to death, taking the king with her when he tried to help his daughter.

She then killed two of the three children that she bore Jason, fearing they would be killed in retaliation—because Medea logic, I guess. She was able to flee Athens in a chariot sent by her grandfather Helios before Jason, or the people of Corinth could find her.

The Death of Jason

Jason would eventually reclaim his throne when he defeated Acastus with help from Achilles’ father, Peleus. His one remaining son with Medea, Thessalus, would become the new king.

Jason, however, lost his favour with Hera and the rest of the gods when he broke his vow to Medea. And so, he spent the rest of his life alone and unhappy until he died in the most ironic way possible.

One day, Jason fell asleep by the Argo—which at this point was old and rotting. As you may have guessed, the Argo collapsed and fell on top of Jason, killing him instantly.

In Conclusion to the Myth of Jason and the Argonauts

Jason’s life was many things, but boring was certainly not one of them. He travelled the world and went on an epic quest to restore his family name. He experienced things that most could only imagine. He married a sorceress who was both brilliant and insane and let’s not forget that he was responsible for the death of no less than five kings. Well, and a couple of thousand people and some Giants.

It’s an underdog story where Jason goes from zero to hero and then back to zero numerous times. As crazy as the story is, it still feels somewhat relatable. The lines between who’s good and who’s bad are always blurred, and Jason himself is far from what we would expect from a hero.

He becomes the leader only because Heracles turned down the position. He never really commands the Argo. Every time he faces some kind of test, he has assistance, and when disaster strikes, he isn’t the first to step forward or even come up with a solution.

He isn’t the ever stoic, ever brave, fearless hero common in so many of these stories. Jason is honestly a regular person who, at times, is capable of great things, like we all are. But even then, he still has his flaws, which I guess is what makes his story somewhat relatable—in a weird way.


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