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Jason

Jason is a hero of Greek mythology. His father was Aeson, the rightful king of Thessaly.

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Birth and Childhood

Pelias (Aeson's half-brother) was power-hungry and he wished to gain dominion over all of Thessaly. To this end, he banished Neleus (Pelias' brother) and locked Aeson in the dungeons in Iolcus. While in there, Aeson married and had several children with Alcimede, most famously Jason. Aeson sent Jason to Chiron to be educated while Pelias, paranoid that he would be overthrown, was warned by an oracle to beware a man wearing one sandal.

Many years later, Pelias was holding the Olympics in honor of Poseidon when Jason, rushing to Iolcus, lost one of his sandals in a river while helping someone cross. When Jason entered Iolcus, he was announced as a man wearing one sandal. Paranoid, Pelias asked him what he (Jason) would do if confronted with the man who would be his downfall. Jason responded that he would send that man after the Golden Fleece. Pelias took that advice and sent Jason to retrieve the Golden Fleece.

The Quest For The Golden Fleece

Jason assembled a great group of heroes and a huge ship called the Argo. Together, the heroes were known as the Argonauts. They included the Boreads, Heracles, Telamon, Orpheus, Castor and Polydeuces and Euphemus.

Phineas and the Harpies

The Argonauts landed on an island inhabited by Phineas and the harpies. Phineas had been a King of Thrace, son of Agenor, who had the gift of prophecy. Zeus, angry that Phineas had revealed too much of the plans of the gods, punished him by setting him on an island with a buffet of food. He could eat none of it, however, because the harpies, vicious, winged women, stole the food out of his hands before he could eat any. This continued until the arrival of Jason and the Argonauts. They sent the winged heroes, the Boreads, after the harpies. They succeeded in driving the monsters away but did not kill them, due to a request from the goddess of the rainbow, Iris, who promised that Phineas would not be bothered by the harpies again. As thanks, Phineas told the Argonauts how to pass the Symplegades.

Symplegades

The Sympleglades were a pair of rocks at the Hellespont that clashed together randomly. The Argonauts would have been lost and killed by the rocks but for Phineas' advice. Jason let a dove fly between the rocks; it lost only its tail feathers. The Argonauts rowed mightily to get through and lost only part of the ship's stern ornament. After that, the Symplegades stopped moving permanently.

Planctae

The Planctae were a group of rocks, between which the sea was mercilessly violent. The Argo was the only ship to navigate them successfully (with divine help from Hera, Thetis and the Nereids). Jason chose to brave the Planctae instead of Scylla and Charybdis.

Assorted Events

When the Argonauts stopped in Mysia, Prince Lycus treated them well.

The Argonauts were attacked by a flock of vicious birds. These may have been the Stymphalian Birds.

Hylas was kidnapped by a nymph. Heracles, along with Polyphemus, searched for a long time. The ship set sail without them.

When the Argonauts stopped in Bithnyia[?], Polydeuces killed King Amycus in a boxing match. Idmon also died in Bithnyia; he was the seer for the Argonauts and had known he would die before setting out.

They also stopped in Scheria[?] and were treated well by King Alcinous.

During Jason's absence, Pelias thought the Argo (Jason's ship) had sunk, and this was what he told Aeson and Promachus, Jason's brother, who committed suicide by drinking poison or were killed directly by Pelias.

The Argonauts stopped on Lemnos and had sex with the native women. Jason had two sons by Queen Hypsipyle (Euneus and ???).

The Arrival In Colchis

Jason arrived in Colchis to claim the fleece as his own. King Aeetes of Colchic promised to give it to him only if he could perform certain tasks. First, Jason had to plow a field with fire-breathing oxen that he had to yoke himself. Then, Jason sowed the teeth of a dragon into a field. The teeth sprouted into an army of warriors. Jason was quick-thinking, however, and before they attacked him, he threw a rock into the crowd. Unable to decipher where the rock had come from, the soldiers attacked each other and defeated each other. Finally, Aeetes made Jason fight and kill the sleepless dragon that guarded the fleece. Jason then took the fleece and sailed away with Medea, who had fallen in love with him and helped him win the fleece. Medea distracted her father as they fled by killing her brother, Apsyrtus. In the flight, Atalanta was seriously wounded but healed by Medea.

The Return

On the way back to Thessaly, Medea propesied that Euphemus, the Argo's helmsman, would one day rule over all Libya. This came true through Battus, a descendant of Euphemus.

Sirens

Chiron had told Jason that without the aid of Orpheus, the Argonauts would never be able to pass the Sirens. The Sirens lived on three small, rocky islands called Sirenum scopuli and sang beautiful songs that enticed sailors to come to them. They then ate the sailors. When Orpheus heard their voices, he withdrew his lyre and played his music more beautifully than they, drowning out their music.

Circe

When the Argonauts stopped on Aeaea[?], Circe purified them for the death of Apsyrtus.

Talos

The Argo then came to the island of Crete, guarded by the bronze man, Talos. Talos had one vein which went from his neck to his ankle, bound shut by only one bronze nail. Medea cast a spell on Talos to calm him; she removed the bronze nail and Talos bled to death. The Argo landed.

Jason Returns

While Jason searched for the Golden Fleece, Hera, who was still angry at Pelias, conspired to make him fall in love with Medea, whom she hoped would kill Pelias. When Jason and Medea returned, Pelias still refused to give up his throne. Medea conspired to have Pelias' own daughters kill him. She told them she could turn an old ram into a young ram by cutting up the old ram and boiling it. During the demonstration, a live, young ram jumped out of the pot. Excited, the girls cut their father into pieces and threw them into a pot. Pelias did not survive.

Jason and Medea then had to flee to Corinth.

Jason was later driven into exile by Acastus, and came to Corinth. There he abandoned Medea, and she killed their children and fled. Alternatively, he married Creusa in Corinth. Medea got even by giving Creusa a cursed dress that stuck to her body and burned her to death as soon as she put it on. She also killed Creusa's father, Creon, and her own sons with Jason. Later Jason and Peleus would attack and defeat Acastus, reclaiming Iolcus for his house. Jason's son, Thessalus, then became king.


Jason is also the name of the killer in the classic horror movie series Friday The 13th[?], which has spawned 10 sequels and a tv series on The Sci Fi Channel[?].



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