In Greece, there were many myths about the exploits of individual heroes, but only four – about such exploits, to which heroes from different parts of the country united. The last was the Trojan War; penultimate – the campaign of the Seven against Thebes; before this – Kalidon’s hunt for a giant boar, headed by the hero Meleager; and the very first – swimming behind the golden fleece in the far Caucasus Colchis on the ship “Argo”, headed by the hero Jason. “Argonauts” means “floating on the” Argo “.
The Golden Fleece is the skin of a sacred golden ram, sent down by the gods from heaven. One Greek king had a son and daughter named Frix and Gella, an evil stepmother conceived to destroy them and persuaded the people to sacrifice them to the gods; but the indignant gods sent down a golden sheep to them, and he took his brother and sister far beyond the three seas. The sister drowned in the way, by her name began
to be called the strait, the current Dardanelles. And his brother reached Colchis on the eastern edge of the earth, where the mighty king Aet, the son of the Sun, ruled. The golden ram was sacrificed to the Sun, and the hide was hanged on a tree in a sacred grove under the protection of a terrible dragon.
This golden fleece was remembered here on what occasion. In Northern Greece was the city of Iolk, for power over him argued two kings, evil and kind. The evil king overthrew the good. The good king settled in silence and obscurity, and gave his son Jason in training to a wise centaur Chiron – a semi-human half-man, educator of a whole series of great heroes right up to Achilles. But the gods saw the truth, and Jason was taken under her protection by the goddess-queen Hera and the goddess-craftswoman Athena. Evil king was predicted: he will be killed by a man, shod in one leg. And such a person came – it was Jason, It was said that on the way an old woman met him and asked him to transfer it across the river; he suffered it, but one of his sandals remained in the river. And the old woman was the goddess
Jason demanded that the king-invader return the kingdom to the legitimate king and him, Jason-heir. “Well,” said the king, “but prove that you are worthy of it.” Frix, who fled to Colkhis on a zlatornnym rams, is our distant kinsman. “Get the golden fleece from Kolkhida and bring it to our city-then reign!” Jason accepted the challenge. Master Arg, led by Athena herself, began to build a ship about fifty oars, named after him. And Jason threw a cry, and from all over Greece heroes began to gather for him, ready to sail. The poem begins with a list of them.
Almost all of them were sons and grandsons of gods. The sons of Zeus were the twins Dioscuri, the cavalry Castor and the fist fighter Polidek. Son of Apollo was the song-singer Orpheus, capable of singing to stop the rivers and lead the dance of the mountain. The sons of the North wind were Boread’s twins with wings behind their shoulders. The son of Zeus was the savior of the gods and people of Hercules, the greatest of the heroes, with the young squire Gilas. The grandsons of Zeus were the hero Peley, the father of Achilles, and the hero Telamon, the father of Ajax. And behind them went and Argkorabel, and Typhi-helmsman, and Ankei-sailor, dressed in a bear hide – his father hid his armor, hoping to keep him at home. And behind them – many, many others. The main offered to become Hercules, but Hercules replied: “We gathered Jason – he will lead us.” They brought sacrifices, prayed to the gods, moved the ship from the shore to the sea with fifty shoulders, Orpheus rang with a song about the beginning of heaven and earth, the sun and stars, gods and titans – and, foaming waves, the ship moves. And after him the gods are watching from the slopes of the mountains, and the centaurs with the old Chiron, and the baby Achilles in the arms of the mother.
The way lay through three seas, one by another unknown.
The first sea was Aegean. On it was the fiery island of Lemnos, the realm of criminal women. For an unknown sin the gods sent madness upon the inhabitants: husbands abandoned their wives and took concubines, their wives interrupted their husbands and healed the women’s kingdom like the Amazons. An unfamiliar huge ship frightens them; putting on the armor of their husbands, they gather on the shore, ready to fight back. But the wise queen says: “We will accept seafarers cordially: we will give them rest, they will give us children.” Madness ends, women welcome guests, they are bred to their homes – Iason is received by the queen herself, myths will still be built about her, and for many days the Argonauts stay with them. Finally, the hard-working Hercules declares: “Cause time, fun hour!” – and raises all the way.
The second sea was Marble: wild forests on the shore, wild mountain of the furious Mother of Gods over the forests. Here the Argonauts had three berths. At the first parking lot they lost Hercules, a young friend of his Hylas went for water, bent down with a vessel over the stream; the nymphs of the stream sparkled, admiring his beauty, the eldest of them rose, threw up his arms around his neck and carried him into the water. Hercules rushed to look for him, the Argonauts waited in vain for him all night, next morning Jason ordered to sail. Indignant Telamon shouted: “You just want to get rid of Hercules, so that his glory will not overshadow yours!” A quarrel began, but then a great shaggy head was lifted from the waves by the prophetic god, the Sea Old Man. “You are destined to go further,” he said, “and Hercules – to return to those labors and exploits that no one else will do.”
In the next parking lot, a wild behemoth came to meet them, a barbarian tsar, the son of the sea Poseidon: he drove all the people on a fist fight, and no one could stand against him. From the Argonauts came out against him Dioscourt Polydeuces, the son of Zeus against the son of Poseidon. The barbarian is strong, Hellenic courage – the brutal battle was short-lived, the king collapsed, his people rushed to him, there was a battle, and the enemies fled, defeated.
Having taught arrogant, it was necessary to come to the aid of the weak. At the last stop in this sea, the Argonauts met the decrepit prophetic king Phineus. For long-standing sins – and which, no one remembers, they tell in different ways – the gods sent him foul, monstrous birds – harpies. As soon as Feeney sits down at the table, the harpies attack, they attack the food, which they will not eat, they will be deceived, and the king withers from hunger. Help him come winged Boreads, children of the wind: they fly on the harpies, pursue them across the sky, expel them to the end of the world – and the grateful old man gives wise advice to the Argonauts:
How to swim, where to stop, how to escape from dangers. And the main danger is already near.
The third sea before the Argonauts is the Black Sea; The entrance to it is between the floating Blue rocks. Surrounded by boiling foam, they break down and diverge, crushing everything that comes between them. Fini said:
“Do not rush forward: release first the bird-throat – if it flies, then you will sail, if you crush its rocks, then turn back.” They let out the throat – it slipped between the rocks, but not quite, the rocks collided and pulled several white feathers from its tail. There was no time to think, the Argonauts lay down on the oars, the ship flies, the rocks are already moving to crush the stern – but then they feel a powerful push, Athena herself invisibly pushed the ship, and now he is in the Black Sea, and the rocks behind them are stopped forever and became the shores of the Bosphorus.
Here they suffered a second loss: the helmsman Typhy dies, instead of him, Ankei is taken in a bear’s skin, the best sailor of the survivors. He leads the ship farther, in completely strange waters, where God Apollo himself walks from island to island in front of the people where Artemis-Luna bathes, before climbing to heaven. They float past the shore of the Amazons, who live without their husbands and cut out their right breasts, so that they can easily beat them from the bow; past the houses of the Blacksmith’s Bank, where the first ironmen live on the earth; past the mountains of the Shameless shore, where men and women converge like cattle, not in houses, but in the streets, and unwanted kings are imprisoned and starved; past the island, over which copper birds are circling, showering deadly feathers, and from them it is necessary to defend themselves with shields over their heads, like tiles. And now the Caucasus mountains are already visible, and the groan of the Prometheus crucified on them is heard, and the wind blows from the wings of the tearing eagle-it’s bigger than the ship itself. This is Colchis. The way is passed, but the main test ahead. Heroes do not know about it, but they know Hera and Athena and they think how to save them. They go for help to Aphrodite, the goddess of love: let her son Eroth inspire the Colchian princess, the magician Medea, the passion for Jason, let her help her beloved against her father. Eros, a winged boy with a golden bow and fatal arrows, is squatting in the garden of the heavenly palace and playing with his grandmother, the young cupbearer of Zeus: he cheats, wins and gloats. Aphrodite promises him a favor for a toy – a miracle ball of gold rings, which once played the baby Zeus, when hiding in Crete from the evil father of his Crown. “Give it at once!” – asks Eros, and she strokes it on the head and says: “First do your thing, and I will not forget. “And Eroth flies to Colchis, and the Argonauts are already entering the palace of King Aet, he is huge and pompous, at the corners of his four springs – with water, wine, milk and butter.” The mighty king comes out to meet the guests, The little Eros pulls her bow, and his arrow falls into Medea’s heart without a miss: “Right in the heart burned an arrow, and the chest was agitated, / In the sweet melted torment the soul, about all forgotten, / Glances, glittered, aspired to Jason, and tender cheeks / Against her will then paled, then dreams but blushed. “
Jason asks the king to return to the Greeks the golden fleece – if necessary, they will serve him as a service against any enemy. “With the enemies I can manage and one,” the son of the Sun answers arrogantly.-And for you I have another test: I have two bulls, one-legged, copper-brown, fire-breathing, there is a field dedicated to Ares, the god of war, there are seeds-dragon teeth, from which grow like ears of corpses, soldiers in brass armor. In the dawn I harness the bulls, in the morning I sow, in the evening I harvest the harvest, – do the same, and the fleece will be yours. ” Jason accepts the challenge, although he understands that for him it is death. And then the wise Arg says to him: “Ask Medea for help – she is a sorceress, she is a priestess of the underground Hecate, she knows secret potions: if she does not help you, then no one will help.”
When the ambassadors of the Argonauts come to Medea, she sits awake in her tenement: it’s terrible to betray her father, it’s terrible to ruin a beautiful guest. “Shame holds her, and a daring passion to go makes” to meet his beloved. “The heart in her bosom was often pounding with excitement, Beating like a ray of sunshine, reflected by a wave, and tears / Were in the eye, and the pain was pouring in the fire: / She then said to herself that the magic potion / Dust, then again, which does not give, but will not live either. “
Medea met with Jason in the temple of Hecate. Her potion was called “Prometheus root”: it grows where the drops of Prometheus blood fall to the ground, and when it is cut off, the earth trembles, and the titan on the rock emits a groan. From this root she made an ointment. “Scratch it,” she said, “and the fire of the brass bulls will not burn you.” And when from the dragon teeth in the furrows the copper chasers will grow out-take a stone block, throw them into their midst, and they’ll quarrel and kill each other. Leave – and remember Medea. ” “Thank you, princess, but I will not leave alone – you will go with me and become my wife,” Jason told her.
He fulfills Medea’s orders, becomes powerful and invulnerable, oppresses the bulls under the yoke, sowing the field, untouched by copper or fire. From the furrows appear warriors – first spears, then helmets, then shields, shine rises to the skies. He throws into the thick of their stone, large as a millstone, four do not lift – between the warriors begins the massacre, and he survives the survivors himself, like a reaper on the harvest. The Argonauts triumph over the victory, Jason waits for a reward – but Medea feels:
Rather, the king will kill the guests, than give them the treasure. At night, she runs to Jason, taking with her only her miraculous herbs: “We go behind the rune – only we two, others can not!” They enter the sacred forest, the fleece shines on the oak, a sleepless dragon is waving around the rings, its serpent body is walking in waves, its hissing is spreading to the distant mountains. Medea sings spells, and the waves of his twists become quieter, all calmer; Medea juniper branch touches the eye of the dragon, and his eyelids are closed, the mouth falls to the ground, the body stretches out into the distance between the trees of the forest. Jason rips a fleece from the tree, glistening like lightning, they go to a ship hidden by the shore, and Jason cuts off the piers.
The flight begins – in a roundabout way, along the Black Sea, along the northern rivers, to drive the pursuit off the road. At the head of the chase is Medea’s brother, the young heir of Aet; he overtakes the Argonauts, he cuts them the way, he demands: “Fleece to you, but to the princess – to us!” Then Medea calls his brother to the talks, he leaves alone – and dies at the hands of Jason, and the Greeks smash the Colchis, deprived of their leader. Dying, he splashes blood on his sister’s clothes – now on Jason and the Argonauts the sin of treacherous murder. The gods are angry: the storm after the storm falls upon the ship, and finally the ship tells the swimmers in a human voice: “There is no way for you until the purgatory queen Kirk, the daughter of the Sun, the western sister of the eastern Colchis king, cleanses you of filth.” King Eet rules where the Sun rises, the queen of Kirk – where it rolls up: Argonauts sail to the opposite end of the world, where Odysseus will come a generation later. Kirk cleanses – sacrifices a pig, sheds the blood of the murdered man with blood, – but refuses to help: he does not want to annoy his brother or forget his nephew.
Argonauts wander in the unknown western seas, in the future Odyssey places. They swim the Aeolian Islands, and the king of the winds Aeol, at the request of Hera, sends them a fair wind. They swim to the Skille and Charybdis, and the sea goddess Thetis, the mother of Achilles, the wife of Argonaut Peleus, raises the ship on a wave and throws it over the sea gorge so high that neither monster can reach them. They hear from afar the enchanting singing of the Sirens, luring sailors to the cliffs – but Orpheus strikes the strings, and, hearing it, the Argonauts do not notice the songbirds. Finally they swim to the happy country of the faeces – and they suddenly encounter here with the second Colchis chase. “Give us Medea!” – demand persecutors. The wise King of the Faeans answers: “If Medea is Aeta’s fugitive daughter, then she is yours.” If Medea is Jason’s legitimate wife,
There is very little left to the native shores, but then the Argonauts are hit by the last, most difficult test. A storm breaks, for nine days she carries a ship across all the seas and throws him into a dead bay on the edge of the desert off the coast of Africa, where there is no way out for the ships: the way is blocked by shallows and currents. Overcoming the sea and getting used to the water, the heroes managed to get out of the land – even the helmsman Ankei, who had sailed the ship through all the storms, does not know the path from here. The path is indicated by the gods: a sea horse with a golden mane is carried out of the waves and rushes across the steppe to the unknown shore, and after it, having loaded the ship on its shoulders, the exhausted Argonauts wander, staggering. Twelve days and nights there is a transition – more heroes have died here than in all the way: from hunger and thirst, in skirmishes with nomads, from the venom of sand snakes, from the heat of the sun and the weight of the ship.
Fresh lake, green garden, golden apples and virgin mummies weeping over the dead giant snake: “A hero came in here in a lion’s hide, our snake has killed, our apples have stolen, split a rock, let a stream flow from it to the sea.” The Argonauts were delighted:
They see that, even leaving them, Hercules saved his comrades from thirst and showed them the way. First along the creek, then along the lagoon, and then through the strait into the open sea, and a kind sea god pushes them into the stern, splashing with a scaly tail.
Here is the last trip, here is the threshold of the native sea – the island of Crete. He is guarded by a copper giant, driving the ships away with stone blocks, but Medea comes to the side of the ship, is stunned with a stunned glance at the giant, and he freezes, staggers, stumbles with a copper heel against the stone and collapses into the sea. And, having stocked up on Crete with fresh water and food, Jason and his friends finally reach their native shores.
This is not the end of the fate of Jason and Medea – about what happened to them later, wrote the terrible tragedy Euripides. But Apollonius did not write about one or two heroes – he wrote about a common affair, about the first pan-Greek great campaign. The Argonauts descend to the shore and diverge about their houses and cities – the poem “Argonavtika” ends.