Golden Fleece


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Related to Golden Fleece: Jason and the Golden Fleece

Golden Fleece,

in Greek mythology, the magic fleece of the winged ram that saved Phrixus and Helle, the children of Nephele and Athamas, from the jealousy of Ino, Athamas' second wife. The ram flew to ColchisColchis
, ancient country on the eastern shore of the Black Sea and in the Caucasus region. Centered about the fertile valley of the Phasis River (the modern Rion), Colchis corresponds to the present-day region of Mingrelia in Georgia.
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, but Helle fell into the sea, which was thereafter known as the Hellespont. Phrixus arrived safely, sacrificed the ram, and hung its fleece in a wood guarded by a dragon. The ram became the constellation AriesAries
[Lat.,=the ram], constellation lying on the ecliptic (the sun's apparent path through the heavens) between Taurus and Pisces; it is one of the constellations of the zodiac. It contains the bright star Hamal (Alpha Arietis).
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. Phrixus married a daughter of King Aeëtes of Colchis and begot Argus and three other sons. The quest of JasonJason,
in Greek mythology, son of Aeson. When Pelias usurped the throne of Iolcus and killed (or imprisoned) Aeson and most of his descendants, Jason was smuggled off to the centaur Chiron, who reared him secretly on Mt. Pelion.
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 and the Argonauts was for this fleece. The legend of the Golden Fleece may have some basis in reality. Ancient Colchis is the modern Georgian region of Mingrelia, and in neighboring Svanetia, inland in the Caucasus, miners have for centuries used sheepskins to collect gold grains and flakes from mountain streams.

Golden Fleece

 

in ancient Greek mythology, the golden skin of the ram on whose back the children of the Orchomenian king Athamas, Phrixus and Helle, set out for the shores of Asia in order to escape from their stepmother’s persecutions. On the way Helle fell into the sea which since that time, supposedly, has been called the Hellespont, or “Helle’s sea” (the modern Dardanelles). Having reached land safely, Phrixus came to the country of Aea, which the ancient Greeks knew as Colchis (present-day western Georgia). Here, he sacrificed the ram to Zeus, but he removed the fleece and presented it to the king of Colchis, Aeetes. Later, the golden fleece, which was guarded by a dragon, was stolen and carried off to Greece by the Argonauts, led by Jason. The myth of the golden fleece reflects the history of the early links between ancient Greece and the Caucasus. According to legend gold was extracted in the Caucasus by dipping a ram’s skin in the waters of a gold-bearing river. The fleece, on which particles of gold had settled, then became very valuable.

Golden Fleece

pelt of winged ram sought by Jason and Argonauts. [Rom. Legend: Zimmerman, 113]
See: Quest

Golden Fleece

fleece of pure gold from a winged ram, stolen from Colchis by Jason and the Argonauts. [Gk. Myth.: Benét, 406]
References in classic literature ?
But Jason had set his heart steadfastly on getting the Golden Fleece; and I positively doubt whether he would have gone back without it, even had he been certain of finding himself turned into a red-hot cinder, or a handful of white ashes, the instant he made a step farther.
In a moment all the sons of the dragon's teeth appeared to take Jason for an enemy; and crying with one voice, "Guard the Golden Fleece!" they ran at him with uplifted swords and protruded spears.
"And, to tell you the truth, princess, the Golden Fleece does not appear so well worth the winning, after what I have here beheld!"
"True, the Golden Fleece may not be so valuable as you have thought it; but then there is nothing better in the world; and one must needs have an object, you know.
And now I solicit your majesty's permission to encounter the dragon, that I may take down the Golden Fleece from the tree, and depart, with my nine and forty comrades."
I forbid you, on pain of death, to make any more attempts to get the Golden Fleece. To speak my mind plainly, you shall never set eyes on so much as one of its glistening locks."
He could think of nothing better to be done than to summon together his forty-nine brave Argonauts, march at once to the Grove of Mars, slay the dragon, take possession of the Golden Fleece, get on board the Argo, and spread all sail for Iolchos.
"Will he give you the Golden Fleece, without any further risk or trouble?"
And he forbids me to make any more attempts, and positively refuses to give up the Golden Fleece, whether I slay the dragon or no."
The Golden Fleece you shall have, if it lies within the power of my enchantments to get it for you.
At the appointed hour you might again have seen Prince Jason and the Princess Medea, side by side, stealing through the streets of Colchis, on their way to the sacred grove, in the center of which the Golden Fleece was suspended to a tree.
He was rushing straight towards the Golden Fleece, when suddenly there was a frightful hiss, and the immense head and half the scaly body of the dragon was thrust forth (for he was twisted round the trunk of the tree on which the Fleece hung), and seizing the poor antelope, swallowed him with one snap of his jaws.

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