Crimes of Passion: Jason, Medea, and the Argonauts
The Argonauts, who sailed with Jason to obtain the legendary Golden Fleece, were the most storied assemblage of heroes prior to the Trojan War. Many of the Argonauts, children or grandchildren of the gods themselves, first displayed their heroism while serving on the ship called the Argo.
Like most mythical quests, the story of the Argonauts neither begins nor ends with the successful achievement of the goal. The pursuit of the Golden Fleece may provide the heart of the story, but the adventures shared by the steadfast crew in the course of acquiring the fleece and on the voyage home provide the body. This series of adventures offers the heroes a chance to demonstrate their character, skills, and heroism.
Jason, a young man who had a charming way with women but was otherwise unremarkable, may seem an odd choice to lead a band of the greatest, noblest, and most adventurous heroes on any quest. He was neither the cleverest nor bravest of men. He was not the most skilled hunter or bowman or even sailor. But Hera, Queen of the Gods, handpicked Jason for this mission precisely because of his allure to women. For Hera had ulterior motives—and to achieve her ends, she needed Jason to bring the powerful sorceress Medea back to Greece.
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Classical Mythology © 2004 by Kevin Osborn and Dana L. Burgess, Ph.D.. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.