|Janson and Centaur Chiron (the trainer of heros)|
Alcimede faked a burial and smuggled the baby to Mount Pelion. He was raised by the centaur Chiron, the trainer of heroes. Pelias, still fearful that he would one day be overthrown, consulted an oracle which warned him to beware of a man with one sandal. When Jason was 20 years old, an oracle ordered him to dress as a Magnesian and head to the Iolcan court. While traveling Jason lost his sandal crossing the muddy Anavros river while helping an old woman (Hera in disguise). The goddess was angry with King Pelias for killing his stepmother Sidero after she had sought refuge in Hera's temple.
|Jason helping old woman (Hera in disguise)|
Pelias was presiding over a sacrifice to Poseidon with several neighboring kings in attendance. Among the crowd stood a tall youth in leopard skin with only one sandal. Pelias recognized that Jason was his nephew. He could not kill him because prominent kings of the Aeolian family were present. Instead, he asked Jason: "What would you do if an oracle announced that one of your fellow-citizens were destined to kill you?" Jason replied that he would send him to go and fetch the Golden Fleece, not knowing that Hera had put those words in his mouth.
|Jason (lower right), returning to his hometown, is recognized during a festival by his uncle Pelias.|
Jason learned later that Pelias was being haunted by the ghost of Phrixus. Phrixus had fled from Orchomenus riding on a divine ram to avoid being sacrificed and took refuge in Colchis where he was later denied proper burial. According to an oracle, Iolcus would never prosper unless his ghost was taken back in a ship, together with the golden ram's fleece. This fleece now hung from a tree in the grove of the Colchian Ares, guarded night and day by a dragon that never slept. Pelias swore before Zeus that he would give up the throne at Jason's return while expecting that Jason's attempt to steal the Golden Fleece would be a fatal enterprise. However, Hera acted in Jason's favour during the perilous journey.
|Jason and Argonauts with the boat Argo|
Jason assembled Greece's bravest heroes and together they sailed in the Argo in quest of the fleece. On their journey the Argonauts were seduced by beautiful women, attacked by warriors, buffeted by storms, and challenged by monstrous creatures. Finally the blind prophet Phineus told them how to make their way safely to Colchis, where the Golden Fleece was kept. When they arrived there, King Aeetes demanded that before Jason take the fleece he yoke together two fire-breathing bulls, plow the field of Ares, and sow it with dragon's teeth obtained from Cadmus. Aeetes' daughter Medea fell in love with Jason and gave him magical protection that allowed him to complete the tasks. In return Jason swore an oath of fidelity and promised to take her with him to Greece. When Aeëtes still refused to relinquish the fleece, Medea revealed its hiding place and drugged the guardian dragon. The Argonauts then fled Colchis with the fleece, pursued by Aeëtes. But Medea killed and cut to pieces his son Absyrtus, scattering the parts of his body in the sea. Aeëtes stopped to retrieve them. In another version, Absyrtus led the pursuit and, when Medea tricked him into an ambush, was killed by Jason. (The Quest of Golden Fleece)
|Jason and Medea|
|Jason with golden fleece|
They sailed on to Orchomenses in Boeotia, where they hung the fleece in a temple. Then they went to Corinth. There Medea had rights to the throne, and Jason reigned for many years. But he forgot his oath and tried to divorce Medea so that he could marry Creusa, daughter of King Creon.
In revenge, Medea, by magic and trickery, burned to death both the father and daughter. Because Jason had broken his oath, the gods caused him to wander homeless for many years. As an old man he returned to Corinth, where, resting in the shadow of the Argo, he was killed when the prow toppled over on him.
Argonauts : Iynx : The island of Lemnos : The Quest of the Golden Fleece :