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JASON - IÁSOHN-ΙΑΣΩΝ


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Iásohn - (Jason; Gr. Ἰάσων, ΙΑΣΩΝ.  Pronunciation: ee-AH'-sohn)  [Etruscan: Easun, Heasun, Heiasun]

Iásohn is one of the most interesting Heroes in the mythology of Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion. He is the son of Alkimǽdi (Alcimede; Gr. Ἀλκιμέδη) or Polymídi (Polymede; Gr. Πολυμήδη) and Aisohn (Aeson or Aison; Gr. Αἴσων), the Thessalonian king of Iohlkós (Iolcus; Gr. Ιωλκός). The name Iásohn means "healer" from iásthai (Gr. ιάσθαι) "to heal".

The story of Iásohn, like many stories in Greek mythology, has several variants. Below you will find a simplified version of the most common myth, compiled primarily from the Vivliothíki (The Library; Gr. Βιβλιοθήκη) by Apollódohros (Gr. Ἀπολλόδωρος). It should be understood, however, that there are other versions of the tale where Mídeia (Medea; Gr. Μήδεια), for instance, does not kill her own children. The story is symbolic. The Golden Fleece is a symbol of Divinity.


The Genealogy of sohn

Salmohnéfs (Salmoneus; Gr. Σαλμωνεὺς) was the father of a daughter, Tyróh (Tyro; Gr. Τυρώ), by Alkidíki (Alcidice; Gr. Ἀλκιδίκη). Later, he took a second wife, Sidiróh (Sidero; Gr. Σιδηρώ). 


Tyróh married Krithéfs (Kretheus; Gr. Κρηθεὺς), the king of Iohlkós (Iolcus; Gr. Ιωλκός), and by him bore the sons Aisohn (Aeson; Gr. Αἴσων), Phǽris (Pheres; Gr. Φέρης), and Amytháohn (Amythaon or Ametheon; Gr. Ἀμυθάων). Aisohn was the eldest son and therefore heir to the throne. Tyróh loved the river God Ænipéfs (Enipeus; Gr. Ενιπεύς) but he did not respond to her advances. The God Poseidóhn (Poseidon; Gr. Ποσειδῶν) desired Tyróh and disguised himself as Ænipéfs. By this union, Tyróh bore Poseidóhn twin sons, Pæliás (Pelias; Gr. Πελιάς) and Niléfs (Neleus; Gr. Νηλεὺς). Her father, Salmohnéfs, did not believe that Tyróh was abducted by Poseidóhn. He put Tyróh into the care of his second wife Sidiróh who treated Tyróh badly.  

Tyróh exposed the two boys in the forest but they were rescued and raised by a maid. When they became men, they rescued their mother Tyróh and pursued Sidiróh for revenge. Pæliás killed Sidiróh after she took sanctuary in the temple of Íra (Hera; Gr. Ήρα) while she (Sidiróh) was clinging to Íra's altar. This was a sacrilege against Íra, who was now angry.

Pæliás was the son of Poseidóhn and Tyróh, but his half-brother, Aisohn, was also a son of Tyróh. This Aisohn was in line to inherit the throne of Iohlkós from his father Krithéfs (Kretheus; Gr. Κρηθεύς). Aisohn had a son, Diomídis (Diomedes; Gr. Διομήδης), whose name was later changed to Iásohn (Jason; Gr. Ἰάσων).

While an infant, Diomídis' (Iásohn's) father was imprisoned by the power-hungry Pæliás who seized the throne of Iohlkós. Pæliás drove his other two half-brothers into exile and assassinated all the descendants of Aisohn. Pæliás was tricked into thinking that Aisohn's son Diomídis was stillborn. This was accomplished through the wits of Alkimídi (Alcimede; Gr. Άλκιμέδη), the boy's mother, who surrounded the child with loudly weeping women. But Pæliás was not comfortable. He consulted an oracle who warned Pæliás of a man would who would visit him in the future wearing only one sandal.  



Alkimídi sent Diomídis to the Kǽntavros (Centaur; Gr. Κένταυρος) Kheirohn (Cheiron; Gr. Χείρων) for safekeeping and to be educated. Kheirohn taught the boy many things including the use of herbs. Because of this, his name was changed to sohn, "healer, doctor."


NOTE: We now begin to follow quite closely the Vivliothíki (The Library; Gr. Βιβλιοθήκη) of Apollódohros (Gr. Ἀπολλόδωρος)Regarding the references numbers, the first follow the system of R. Scott Smith, those immediately after this, following the semi-colon, use the system found in J. G. Frazer.


Pæliás, sohn, and the Heroic Quest (Apollódohros Book I.110; I.ix.16)


When he reached maturity, Iásohn went to the court of Pæliás to claim his throne. On his way there, he helped an old woman through the river Ánavros (Anavros; Gr. Ἄναυρος) and lost one of his sandals in the river-bed. The old woman was Íra in disguise and she blessed the young man. Iásohn made his demand to the king. Pæliás agreed to surrender the throne under the condition that Iásohn acquire the Golden Fleece, Khrysómallon Dǽras (Gr. Χρυσόμαλλον Δέρας), in the kingdom of Kolkhís (Colchis; Gr. Κολχίς) off the coast of the Black Sea, an impossible task. Iásohn agreed.



The Argóh and the Argonáftai (Apollódohros Book I.111; I.ix.16) 

Iásohn then gathered up many heroes, collectively called the Argonáftai (Argonauts; Gr. Ἀργοναῦται), including Iraklís (Herakles; Gr. Ἡρακλῆς), Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς), Kástohr and Polydéfkis (Castor and Pollux; Gr. Κάστωρ καὶ Πολυδεύκης), Piléfs (Peleus; Gr. Πηλεύς), Tælamóhn (Telamon; Gr. Τελαμών), Philoktítis (Philoctetes; Gr. Φιλοκτήτης), Atalánti (Atalanta; Gr. Αταλάντη), Éfphimos (Euphemus; Gr. Εὔφημος), and the Boreads, Kálaïs (Calais; Gr. Κάλαϊς) and Zítis (Zetes; Gr. Ζήτης), who were the sons of Vorǽas (Boreas; Gr. Βορέας), the North Wind. They were to conduct their journey on a magnificent and magical ship: the Argóh (Argo; Gr. Ἀργώ). 

These heroes now embarked on a series of trials or labors:


1. The Isle of Límnos (
Apollódohros Book I.114; I.ix.17) 

The Isle of Límnos (Lemnos; Gr. Λήμνος) was inhabited by women who had offended the Goddess Aphrodíti (Aphrodite; Gr. Ἀφροδίτη) who made their husbands stink so badly that they lost interest in them. These women killed all the men except the their king Thóas (Gr. Θώας) who was sent into exile. These women survived alone on the island with Ypsipýli (Hypsipyle; Gr. Ὑψιπύλη), daughter of Thóas, as their queen. When the Argonáftai came to the island, they were met with lustful arms. sohn had two children by one of the women. All the men partook of the women, creating a new people called Minýæs (Minyans; Gr. Μινύες), with the exception of Iraklís who, disgusted, encouraged the men to leave. 


2. 
King Kýzikos (Apollódohros Book I.116; I.ix.18)

The Argóh arrived in the land of the Dolionís (Doliones; Gr. Δολιονίς), ruled by King Kýzikos (Gr. Κύζικος), where they were treated well. When they left Dolionís, they became confused in their directions and returned in the dead of night. They were mistaken for enemies, attacked, and they then unwittingly killed many of the local people including the king.


3. 
Mysía and the Loss of Ýlas and Iraklís (Apollódohros Book I.117; I.ix.19)

When the men reached Mysía (Gr. Μυσία), they went out for supplies. Ýlas (Hylas; Gr. Ὕλας), servant and beloved of Iraklís, was pulled into a stream by nymphs who admired his beauty. In some accounts of the story, Iraklís stayed behind here and did not return to the Argóh again.


4. King Ámykos (Apollódohros Book I.119; I.ix.20)

The Argóh now arrived at the land of the Vǽvrykæs (Bebryces; Gr. Βέβρυκες) who were ruled by King Ámykos (Amycus; Gr. Ἄμυκος), a son of Poseidóhn. This man coerced anyone who came to his kingdom to box and, being very strong, killed them. But Polydéfkis took the challenge and destroyed the king. The Argonáftai now fought there way back to the ship, killing many of the inhabitants. 


5. 
Phinéfs and the Árpyïai (Apollódohros Book I.120; I.ix.21)

Phinéfs (Phineas or Phineus; Gr. Φινεύς), the king of Thráki (Thrace; Gr. Θρᾴκη) had been given the gift of prophecy by Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων), but he had offended the Gods by revealing secrets. He was given a choice: a long life but to be blind, or a short life retaining his sight. Phinéfs chose blindness. But this was not the end of his troubles. Ílios (Helios; Gr. Ἥλιος), the Sun and God of Light, was offended at his choice and inflicted the Árpyïai (Harpies; Gr. Ἅρπυιαι) on him. The Árpyïai, birds with the heads of women, ate all of his food leaving just a tiny bit for Phinéfs to survive, causing him to be emaciated. When the Argonáftai visited his kingdom, sohn took pity on him and killed the Árpyïai. In exchange, Phinéfs told them the secret of how to maneuver their ship through the Sympligádæ(Symplegades; Gr. Συμπληγάδες), the pass with crashing rocks that destroyed ships, and also gave them directions to Kolkhís.


6. 
Sympligádæs (Apollódohros Book I.124; I.ix.22)

Phinéfs told sohn to release a dove as they approached the entrance to the Sympligádæs, the crashing rocks. If the dove made it through, they should row with all their might. They followed his advice and succeeded.


7. Kolkhís and the Khrysómallon Dǽras (Apollódohros Book I.127; I.ix.23)

The Khrysómallon Dǽras (Gr. Χρυσόμαλλον Δέρας), the Golden Fleece, was nailed to a tree in Kolkhís (Gr. Κολχίς). King Aiítis (Aeetes; Gr. Αἰήτης) agreed to give Iásohn the Fleece if he performed three tasks, seemingly impossible. But Iásohn was under the protection of the Goddess Íra. She convinced Aphrodíti to send Ǽros (Eros; Gr. Ἔρως) to make Mídeia (Medea; Gr. Μήδεια), a sorceress and daughter of the king, to fall in love with Iásohn. With her help, Iásohn succeeded in passing these tests:

a) The Távri Khálkæi (Apollódohros Book I.129; I.ix.23)

Iásohn was required to yoke the Távri Khálkæi (Khalkotauroi; Gr. Ταύροι Χάλκεοι), fire-breathing oxen, and plow a field. Mídeia gave him an ointment that protected him from the flames.

b) The Teeth of the Dragon (Apollódohros Book I.129; I.ix.23)

sohn was to sow the field with the teeth of a dragon. These teeth were like seeds which sprouted into fierce warriors. Mídeia had given sohn instructions to throw a rock into their throng. The warriors became bewildered, not knowing where the stone came from, and fought each other to the death.

c) The Dragon and the Golden Fleece (Apollódohros Book I.131; I.ix.23)

The Fleece was guarded by a dragon. Mídeia gave Iasohn a potion which set the dragon to sleep, enabling him to acquire the Fleece.

Now that Iásohn had succeeded in performing these tasks, King Aiítis did not wish to keep his end of the bargain. Iásohn, Mídeia, and the Argonáftai fled with the king (Mídeia's father) at their heels. To slow her father down, she and Iásohn killed Mídeia's brother Ápsyrtos (Gr. Apsyrtus; Gr. Ἄψυρτος) and cut him to pieces, throwing them into the ocean, forcing the father to collect them and slowing him sufficiently for them to escape.


8. The Storms of Zefs (Apollódohros Book I.133; I.ix.24)

For killing Mídeia's brother, Zefs (Zeus: Gr. Ζεύς) sent terrible storms which blew the Argóh off course. The magic ship Argóh then spoke and told them that they required purification and to go to the nymph Kírki (Circe; Gr. Κίρκη) for purification.


9. The Seirín
æs (Apollódohros Book I.135; I.ix.25)

In order to avoid being bewitched by the songs of the Seirínæs (Sirens; Gr. Σειρῆνες), seductive bird-women, Orphéfs sang louder and more beautifully than they, entrancing the heroes' attention away from certain doom.


10. Tálohs 
(Apollódohros Book I.140; I.ix.26)

Tálohs (Gr; Τάλως) was an impossibly strong man, made of bronze, who protected Evróhpi (Europa; Gr. Εὐρώπη) in Kríti (Crete; Gr. Κρήτη) from pirates and invaders. When the Argonáftai approached, Tálohs continually hurled rocks at the ArgóhMídeia calmed the brazen giant and removed a metal peg in his leg causing him to bleed to death.


THE RETURN TO IOHLKÓS

After undergoing these many trials, sohn returned to Iohlkós.


The Death of P
ælias (Apollódohros Book I.143; I.ix.27)

Mídeia took an old lamb and chopped it to pieces in front of the daughters of Pæliás. She took these pieces and put them in a cauldron of magical herbs. The aged lamb emerged, but now in one piece and very much alive, yet more youthful than before. Mídeia now convinced the daughters that by doing the same to their father, he could regain his youth. When they followed her advice, Mídeia neglected to put in the potion, killing Pæliás. When Ákastos, the son of Pæliás, heard of it, he drove Mídeia and Iásohn from the country and assumed the throne of his father. Mídeia and Iásohn fled to the city of Kórinthos (Corinth; Gr. Κόρινθος). Later, Iásohn and the Dióskouri (Dioskouri; Gr. Διόσκουροι) sacked Iohlkós, and later still, Thæssalós (Thessalus; Gr. Θεσσαλός), the son of Iásohn, became the king of Iohlkós.


The Estrangement of 
Mídeia (Apollódohros Book I.145; I.ix.28)

Iásohn had made a vow to remain faithful to Mídeia. He broke this vow for a political alliance, a marriage to Krǽousa (Kreusa; Gr. Κρέουσα), the daughter of Krǽohn (Creon; Gr. Κρέων), king of Kórinthos. Having discovered this betrayal, Mídeia concocted a deception, giving a beautiful dress to Krǽousa as a wedding present. The dress stuck to Krǽousa's body and burst into flames, killing her and her father, who tried to save her life. And in revenge against Iásohn, Mídeia killed the two sons which she bore to him and fled from Kórinthos to the city of Athínai (Athens; Gr. Ἀθῆναι) on a flying chariot given to her by Ílios, her grandfather. Apollódohros mentions another tradition in which Mídeia left her infant children as suppliants on the altar of Íra, but that the inhabitants of Kórinthos removed and killed them. Diódohros Sikælióhtis (Diodorus Siculus; Gr. Διόδωρος Σικελιώτης) in Book V.54 of his Vivliothíki istorikí (Historical Library), tells a different but similar story, that Mídeia set fire to the palace of Kórinthos (rather than giving the wedding present), a deed which killed King Krǽohn, Krǽousa and two of her own children. So there are various versions of the story and the earliest accounts do not mention the murder of the children by Mídeia.


The Death of sohn

According to one telling of his life, Iásohn lost favor with the Goddess Íra because of his infidelity to Mídeia, and he died an unhappy man, falling asleep under the rotting Argóh, which collapsed on top of him. But this version of his death has but one source from antiquity (Schol. on the Argument of Eurip. Med.), at least as far as this author is aware. For whatever reason, it was retold and popularized in the much more recent epic poem by William Morris, The Life and Death of Jason of 1867, yet it is not found in our major sources for the story of Iásohn, these being the Argonaftiká (Gr. Ἀργοναυτικά) of Apollóhnios Ródios (Apollonius of Rhodes; Gr. Ἀπολλώνιος Ῥόδιος), the Orphǽohs Argonaftiká (Orphic Argonautica; Gr. Ὀρφέως Ἀργοναυτικά), the ancient play Mídeia (Medea; Gr. Μήδεια) by Evripídis (Gr. Εὐριπίδης), nor is it found in the compilation of mythology which we have been using as our primary source, the Vivliothíki of Apollódohros. According to Diódohros Vivliothíki istorikí IV.55, Iásohn, being unable to endure the loss of his wife and children, took his own life, but there are yet other sources which state that he was reconciled to Mídeia (Tacit. Ann. vi. 34; Justin, xlii. 2.), giving him a rather happy end.



The story of the birth of the GodsOrphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.



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The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

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