The story of the golden fleece


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Ætes - king of Colchis

Æson - father of Jason

Cretheus - Jason's grandfather

Chiron- centaur who teachers Jason

Pelius - Jason's uncle who usurped the throne

Iphias - female prophet

Alcimide - Jason's mother

Nephele – wife of Athamas

Athamas – father of Phrixus and Helle

Ino – second wife of Athamas, becomes a seagull
Nereus – ancient one of the sea

Hysipyle – queen of Lemnos

Polyxo – Hypsipyle’s nurse

Medea – daughter of Ætes

Apsyrtus – son of Ætes

Chalciope – daughter of Ætes and mother to Phrontis and Melas


Mt. Pelion – home of Chiron and place where Jason was raised

Pagasae – harbor of Iolcus

Iolcus – home of Æson

Salmydessus – home of Phineus

Symplegades – woods around the area of clashing rocks

Myrine – city on Lemnos

Lemnos – island home of Hysipyle

Mariandyni – a land of peoples in the sea of Colchis

Part One – The Voyage to Colchis

I. The Youth Jason

  1. How does Jason lose his sandal?

  2. What aspect of Campbell’s hero cycle is met with the opening pages of the story?

  3. By what sign would Pelias know the man he should fear?

II. King Pelias (9)

  1. What is symbolic (and ironic) about the chair Pelias is in?

  2. How does the crowd feel about Jason’s return?

  3. Why is this significant in these two pages?

III. The Golden Fleece

7. How does Jason recognize that Æson is his father?

8. How does Æson feel about Pelias' offer?

9. How is Jason tricked into going after the fleece?

10. What does Pelius hope will happen?

11. What does Jason ask his uncle Pelias to make for him? What does PElias offer to do for this journey?

12. Characterize Jason. Do you think he suffers from hubris, or is he simply confident?

IV. The Assembling of the Heroes and the Building of the Ship

13. The following show up and are mentioned from among the fifty men on the ship.


Tiphys (helmsman) and Nauphis, shipmen

` Arcas, a hunter in bearskin


Peleus ( eventual father of Achilles)

Telamon ( eventual father of Ajax)


Zetes and Calais (with wings on their feet)

Theseus (eventual hero of Athens)

Argus (master ship builder)

14. Hera sends Jason a dream - what should he do?

15. What does the word Argonaut mean?

16. Who is seen on the boat by Jason?

17. Who arrives late for the journey, but is very welcome?

18. Where do they get the prow of the ship?

V. The Argo

19. Do you think it is important that Jason does not hear the prophecy of Iphais?

20. Who decides that they should select Jason for their leader?

21. What does the drawing of lots suggest about seats on the ship?

22. What story does Alcimide tell to the women? (23)

23. What song is sung by Orpheus? Why is it appropriate?

VI. Polydeuces’ Victory and Heracles’ Loss

24. The novel condenses the places they visit. Lemnos is important.

25. Why do they have to pull ashore after the day of no wind?

26. Who is the king of the Bebrycians? (33)

27. What is the law of this land?

28. What happens to Hylas?

29. Do you think there is any truth to the accusation made by Telamon that Jason wants to leave Heracles on the island so as to not compete with him for glory?

30. Who comes to advise Heracles about Hylas?

VII. King Phineus

31. What is the short cut they mean to take?

32. What is the danger from the rocks called “The Clashers”?

33. Why do they go to Phineus?

34. What bargain do they strike with him?

35. Why is it that the brothers Zetes and Calais can follow the harpies?

36. Why can’t they kill the harpies?

VIII. King Phineus’s Counsel: the Landing in Lemnos

37. Phineus advises them to use a bird. How?

38. What if they cannot make it through the Clashing Rocks? What will they have to do?

39. Who dies in the woods of Symplegades?

40. What kind of shipman is Nauplius?

41. What is strange about the people on Lemnos?

42. What does Hypsipyle’s maid Polyxo, adviser her to do about Jason and his men?

43. Why doesn’t Heracles come ashore on Lemnos?

IX. The Lemnian Maidens

44. What do the men of the Argo do while on Lemnos?

45. What is Jason’s problem?

56. Why eventually, doe Heracles get mad?

57. The aside story of Demeter and Persephone is followed by one about Atlanta. Do you see any correlation of these stories to the outer story of Jason and the Argonauts?

X. The Departure from Lemnos

58. The next story of Caster and Polydeuces finishes is of Pandora. What might this suggest to the men of the Argo? How does Heracles interpret it?

59. Who calls them?

60. What does Hypsipyle give Jason as they are parting?

XI. The Passage of the Symplegades

61. How do they use the pigeon to get through the rocks/

62. Where do they make it through to?

63. What does Halcyon mean? (84)

XII The Mountain Caucasus

64. Who do they call upon as they pass the Caucasus Mountains?

65. Why doesn’t Jason want to release Prometheus?

66. Why does he allow Heracles to do so?

Part Two – The Return to Greece

  1. King Ætes

67. What does Ætes dream that causes him fear?

68. Whom do the Argonauts pick up in the ship?

69. Who is Medea?

70. What power does she have?

71. Who is Apsyrtus?



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