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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Jason: the Early Years January 10, Mythology

When Jason was little, Chiron made him practice
carrying heavy things across water. He figured it would
come in handy someday.
Jason’s father Aeson was king of Iolcus and had everything a man could want including a jealous little brother who ate his heart out everyday wishing he were king instead of Aeson.  Finally Pelias, that was the brother’s name, got tired of eating his heart out and decided to do something about it, overthrowing Aeson and killing the royal family.  Lucky for Jason, his mother managed to sneak him away to a distant land to be raised by the Centaur Chiron. 1 Finally Jason returned to Iolcus, along the way meeting the goddess Hera in the guise of an old woman standing by the riverbank. 2 Jason offered to carry her across, and to test his strength, she magically made herself heavier and heavier as they went across, until she was so heavy, Jason’s foot sank in the mud, losing one sandal.  Hera was pleased that Jason did not set her down or even suggest she go to step class, so she secretly resolved to help him if she could.  Meanwhile Pelias had been warned by an oracle to beware of a man wearing one sandal, 3 and when he saw Jason, he did not think, “Why the heck would anyone go around in just one sandal?” but “uh-oh.”  Pelias pretended to be glad to see his nephew but said that to claim the throne, he must retrieve the golden fleece which was in the land of Colchis and was guarded by a fierce dragon. 4  Jason, suspecting nothing, readily agreed. 5

1. Some Centaurs were wise and some weren't. Chiron was one of the wise ones.
2. As guises go, this was a pretty simple one.
3. And he made things pretty hot for all the one-legged men in Iolcus, I can tell you.
4. Aeson/Jason - Colchis/Iolcus?  Do all these names sound alike, or is it just me?
5. Pelias probably didn't mention the dragon.

1 comment:

  1. Have always had a real soft spot in my heart for Jason, just because he's the hero of the greatest Ray Harryhausen movie ever. (Though I'll admit, his "Sinbad" movies and "Mysterious Island" are not far behind.)

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