Jason and the Argonauts
Kutaisi Travel Blog› entry 15 of 30 › view all entries
Kutaisi is the mythic home of the Golden Fleece, sought by the famous Jason and his Argonauts. Like many classical myths, each player in this tragic tale is somewhat contemptible. The tale of Jason starts with the evil Pelias, a power-hungry lord who killed his brother, the king, and all his brother’s descendents, missing only the infant Jason. Years later when Jason returned to claim the throne Pelias said, "To take my throne you must go on a quest to find the Golden Fleece." So Jason gathered up a crew of heroes and set sail on his ship the Argo to Kutaisi, the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Colchis (interestingly, the basis for the "golden fleece" may be a Georgian tradition of collecting alluvial gold in mountain rivers by using a sheep fleece). After many adventures across Greece and Turkey, Jason and the Argonauts arrived in Kutaisi and Jason claimed the Golden Fleece from King Aeetes of Colchis. King Aeetes promised him the fleece if he could perform three tasks: plow a field with fire-breathing oxen, sow the teeth of a dragon into the field and overcome the Sleepless Dragon. Jason (never the most heroic of the Argonauts) could never have achieved these tasks if Hera has not caused Aphrodite and Eros to make King Aeetes' daughter Medea fall in love with him. Medea gave Jason an ointment to protect him from the oxen's flames, taught him how to defeat the skeletons that would sprouts from dragon's teeth, and gave him a potion to finally cure the Sleepless Dragon's insomnia. She even killed her own brother Apsyrtys and chopped him into pieces to aid Jason's escape. Jason asked Medea to marry him, took her back to Greece and then dumped her for the politically connected Creusa, daughter of the King of Corinth (charmingly telling Medea "don't blame me, it was Aphrodite who made you fall in love with me"). Medea then gave Creusa a cursed dress that stuck to her body and burned her to death, and Jason died lonely and unhappy, crushed by the rotting body of his own ship, the Argo.