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Jason and

the Argonauts

a Heroic
Greek myth
Long ago, in ancient Greece, a young
man named Jason set out on an
incredible nautical expedition in the
company of a heroic band of
But his story begins in the
Kingdom of Iolcus …
Jason had a greedy uncle named
Pelias, who seized the throne from
Jason's father, King Aeson, and killed
him. Pelias was warned by an oracle
to beware a man with one sandal.
Jason’s mother worried that Pelias
might kill him and decided to hide the
Pretending that
Jason had died,
she sent him far
from Iolcus to
live with a loyal
centaur named
Chiron. Chiron
cared for and
tutored Jason..
And when Jason
was full grown,
he went back to
Iolcus to
confront his

On the way he
helped an old
woman (Hera in
disguise) across
a river, but lost a
sandal in the
mud. From then
on, she helped
Pelias remembered the prophecy when
he saw Jason with one sandal, and
agreed to give up the kingdom if Jason
would do just one little thing: capture a
golden fleece – the skin of a magical
ram – from the Kingdom of Colchis, a
land at the very farthest reaches of the
known world.
Pelias was sure that Jason would
never return to Iolcus alive. But
Jason knew that with perseverance,
a team of talented helpers, the best
tools and equipment, and a bit of
good fortune (or help from some
friendly Greek gods), the impossible
might just be possible.
So Jason sent out a call to anyone
game for adventure, and the bravest
and most talented men and women
in all of Greece – including the
strong man Hercules – answered his
The Argo
• Jason, asked Argus,
son of Phrixus, to
build him a ship.
• Named after him,
the Argo had 50
oars and a prow
constructed of a
special oak called
– It had the power of
The crew
were called
in honor of
the boat.
The Argonauts (50); partial list
• Jason, the captain
• Peleus, father of Achilles
• Telamon, father of Ajax the Greater (‘bulwark of the Achaeans’ at
• Oileus, father of Ajax the Lesser
• Laertes, father of Odysseus
• Orpheus, the lyre player
• Atalanta (the only woman) fastest runner, could defeat men
• Castor (twin of Pollux and brother to Helen of Troy)
• Herakles (Hercules) Hero, son of Zeus, strongest man alive
• Nestor, King of Pylos (same as in the Iliad)
• Argus, builder of the Argo
• Lynceus, Amazing vision (telescopic and x-ray)
• Asclepius, doctor
• Theseus (maybe?)
Asclepius ‘the god of
• While still in the womb, his
mother, Coronis, was killed by
– Apollo’s child; she was to marry
– The crow who told Apollo about the
wedding was turned from white to
• On the funeral pyre, Apollo took
the baby to Chiron to be raised.
• Asclepius was punished by Zeus
for bringing people back from
the dead (struck by thunderbolt)
• Enraged, Apollo slew the Cyclops
• Also a crewmember of
the Argo
• Later would inherit the
bow and arrow of
– Bitten by a snake, he
stayed on the island of
Lemnos during the Trojan
– Odysseus and Diomedes
pick him back up near the
end and is healed by the
sons of Asclepius who were
fighting there.
– Killed Paris
– At the end of his life, he
They sailed to the ends of the known
world to reach the Kingdom of Colchis.
On their long
Jason and the
made many
and faced
The Clashing Rocks
‘the entrance to the Black Sea’
The Argonauts
arrived at the
kingdom where
the Golden
Fleece was
Georgia near
Russia and the
Jason gets the fleece
• King Aeetes of Colchis agrees to give Jason the
Fleece if he completes certain challenges.
– Had to yoke two bulls who breathed fire.
– Plough and sow a field with dragon’s teeth.
• The teeth would turn into armed men, unknown to
• Jason gets help from Aeetes daughter, Medea
– With Medea’s help, Jason gets the fleece from the
– Aeetes fails to burn the Argo.
– Medea escapes with Jason, and helps them avoid
capture on the way home.
• Medea killed her younger brother, cut him up, and
dumped the pieces overboard, slowing Aeetes who
picked them up.
The Journey Home
• Pelias is old now. Medea convinces
his daughter to rejuvenate Pelias
by a cauldron of hot water and
– Medea changes the herbs, and Pelias
is boiled alive.
• Acastus, son of Pelias, drives Meda
and Jason out of the city; the go to
The End
• After many years, Jason tires of Medea
and marries Glauce, daughter of King
– Medea sends a robe smeared with an agent
that burns her and her father to death.
– Medea escapes to Athens.
– Medea stabs and kills her two children from
• Jason remains in Corinth, sad and lonely.
– He is killed sitting under the mast of the Argo,
when the decaying timber fell upon him.