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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Jason, Part 2 Assembling the Argonauts, January 11

Q: What's long and hard and full of seamen?
A: The Argo!
After getting the go-ahead from Pelias to go fetch the Golden Fleece, Jason began reading resumes to select a crew.  Overall he chose pretty well.  Heracles, the son of Zeus, was a no-brainer in more ways than one.  Ioalcus, Heracles’ nephew had to be included, because if Heracles wants to bring along a relative you don’t say no.  Ditto for Hylas.  Hylas was Hercules’ friend.  His very special friend.  Ahem.  If you catch my drift.  They had to take along Hylas to keep Hercules happy and because on a long voyage you didn’t want Heracles trying to strike up a special friendship with you.  Calais and Zetes being sons of the North Wind had wings growing on their shoulders, which probably made bringing them along seem a better idea than it actually was.  The Argonauts were on a boat.  You had to bring along Argus, of course since he was the one who built the boat and it was named after him, but they also brought along Argus the son of Phryxius, who was no relation.  Maybe Jason got confused.  They also had Orpheus who was the world’s greatest lyre-player.  A musician, for crying out loud.  If you’re heading to the other side of the world and sailing into almost certain death, you don’t bring along Li’l Wayne.  Depending on how you count it, there may have been as many as eighty-four Argonauts, which if you ask me is a right smart more Argonauts than you can use.  Of course, some of them probably weren’t on the boat and only claiming to be after the fact, like all the people who say they went to Woodstock.  Still.  It sounds like Jason had a hard time saying no.  1 He wanted to reject Atalanta on the grounds she was a woman, but by that time he already had Mopsus, who claimed to talk to birds, and Asclepius who brought along a pet snake, so Atalanta was like, “Hey, you brought these weirdos, you gotta bring me.”

1. The word for "no" in Greece is something like "oh-shee," which really isn't that hard to say.
2. She had a point.  Atalanta's particular attribute was how fast a runner she was.  This must've come in handy

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