Jason is the leader of the Argonauts, a band of heroes who search for the mythical Golden Fleece in order to help Jason reclaim his rightful throne in Iolcos from his uncle Pelias.
When Jason was born, his birth was hidden by his father and mother under the guise that he had died. His father, King Aeson, and his mother, Queen Alcimede, had lost the throne of Iolcos to Aeson’s brother Pelias. If Pelias had heard about Jason’s existence, he would have had him killed. Instead, Alcimede ferried Jason off to live with the centaur Chiron, who educated Jason until he was old enough to return. Meanwhile, Hera held a special hatred for Pelias because he refused to acknowledge her in his worship of the gods, and swore revenge on him, knowing that Jason would be the way to do it.
When Jason arrived, he asserted his rightful claim to the throne, but Pelias wasn’t ready to give up so easily. He told Jason that if he got the Golden Fleece, he could have the throne of Iolcos. Jason assembled a large band of heroes, including Heracles, Peleus, Orpheus, the Boreads, Atalanta, and Meleager, and set out on a ship called the Argo. They called themselves the Argonauts, which literally translates into Argo sailors.
The sailors intervened in many adventures on their way to Colchis, including helping King Phineas of Thrace, who was punished by Zeus for revealing too much of the future. Zeus blinded him, and every time he picked up a piece of food, it was stolen out of his hands by a Harpy. The Boreads aided King Phineas by driving off the Harpies.
Finally, the heroes arrived on Colchis, where Jason met Medea, the daughter of King Aeetes of Colchis, sent to help him by Hera. Jason and Medea completed three tasks in order to get the fleece: they plowed land with fire-breathing oxen, sowed dragon’s teeth, and defeated an army of earth-men that sprang from their labors. Finally, he used a potion provided by Medea to put the dragon who guarded the fleece to sleep, and they grabbed the fleece and escaped from Colchis.
Upon their return to Iolcos, Jason discovered that Pelias had murdered his father. In revenge, Medea told Pelias’ daughters that she could turn their father young again if they cut him into pieces and put him in a pot with a special herb. She demonstrated with a ram, and a lamb jumped out of the pot. The daughters wanted their father to enjoy his youth again, so they cut him up and threw him in the pot, but Madeia did not add the herb. They were driven out of Iolcos by Pelia’s son Acastus.
Jason broke his vow to Medea by marrying another woman named Creusa, the daughter of Creon, the King of Corinth. As revenge, Madeia gave the girl a cursed robe which burned her and her father alive. Hera was angry at Jason’s betrayal of Medea and he fell out of her favor. He did reclaim his throne, making his son, Thessalus, king of Iolcus.
Aeson and Alcimede
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