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Jason and the Golden Fleece (The Argonautica)
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Jason and the Golden Fleece (The Argonautica)

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  6,990 Ratings  ·  132 Reviews
The Argonautica is the dramatic story of Jason's quest for the Golden Fleece and his relations with the dangerous princess Medea. The only surviving Greek epic to bridge the gap between Homer and late antiquity, this epic poem is the crowning literary achievement of the Ptolemaic court at Alexandria, written by Appolonius of Rhodes in the third century BC. Appollonius expl ...more
Paperback, 175 pages
Published 1998 by Oxford University Press (first published -250)
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(showing 1-30)
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David Sarkies
Oct 27, 2015 David Sarkies rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who love mythology
Recommended to David by: My University Lecturer
Shelves: adventure
A Mythological Pirate Raid
3 November 2015

Well, here I am sitting at home, on a public holiday, writing a review of a book that I have just finished. Well, maybe I should be out doing something else, but sometimes just sitting at home with a hot cup of tea is just as enjoyable. Anyway, apparently there is a horse race on today, a race that apparently stops a nation. So, while everybody else is gathering around food and joining in office pools to get the chance of maybe winning some money, I am g
Apr 20, 2009 Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here is an adventure tale that continues to impress itself upon our lives. Though little is known about the author, the story is one of iconic legend accompanied by many a commentary on Hellenic origin myths. The writing is often quite lyrical, and many situations are dealt with in a humorous combination of overstatement and wry remark.

What impressed me the most as I read this book was the author's keen eye for human nature and the dramatic moment. This story is in many ways still as lively and
Daniel Chaikin
Oct 23, 2016 Daniel Chaikin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
62. The Argonautika (Expanded Edition) by Apollonius Rhodius, translated with Introduction, commentary and glossary by Peter Green
composition: circa 200’s bce,
translation 1997? (notes completed 2008)
format: 490 page paperback, University of California press (I read 383 pages, skipping 60+ page glossary, etc)
acquired: March, from
read: Sep 23 - Oct 12
rating: 4

Part 1 - some setting

Homer left me wondering about Jason and his voyage in the Argo with his Argonauts and his quest for the go
Petruccio Hambasket IV
Let’s be honest with ourselves here. Apollonius of Rhodes is no Homer, hell he’s miles away from even being a Virgil. This 4 book rendition of Jason and the Argonauts is probably the strangest epic poem you will ever have the chance to read; how Apollonius depicts his heroes is astonishing and complex on many levels. For one thing, Jason is the most ‘average Joe’ hero you will ever meet. The entire trip over to Colchis (for the golden fleece) he’s thinking about how he’s gonna be able to make it ...more
Keith Davis
It is hard to pin down why Argo is not a particularly satisfying read. It is unfair to compare any author to Homer, although the style, antiquity, and subject matter of this book invite the comparison. Apollonius is at his best when he is describing scenes like Medea's indecision over whether to go to Jason or obey her father. Unfortunately long sections of the book read like this line from page 180. "Later on, the Bacchiadae, whose native place was Ephyra, settled there too, and the Colchians c ...more
Dec 11, 2008 Eddie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Cool idea. Cool title. Cool behind-the-scenes story of how it came to be performed and written (feud between Callimachus & his student, Apollonius). Ultimately, I have to side with Callimachus on this one. Cyclic/Epic poetry as a form 500+ years after Homer put the world on its ear with The Iliad & The Odyssey was dead. Well, maybe not. Virgil has something to say about it, doesn't he? But apparently the Greek world was full of imitators. And bad ones, at that. Apollonius, my misguided f ...more
Chiara Silvia
Aug 21, 2012 Chiara Silvia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ho letto il poema di Apollonio Rodio inseguendo il nascondersi del sole di cui parla "Il mulino di Amleto" e l'ho ritrovato baluginare in luoghi oscuri: nel vello infiammato dai raggi dell'alba nel folto del sacro bosco, che rischiarer� l'antro delle nozze affrettate; nell'oro che rifulge spesso nelle tenebre: quello dell'arco di Febo che illumina la notte sepolcrale del mare Cretese; quello nei capelli scarmigliati di Medea, e nel raggio di fuoco dello sguardo che condivide con Circe, anche qua ...more
(As posted on Zezee with Books.)

Quick summary:

Jason and the Argonauts, also called Argonautica, by Apollonius of Rhodes is an epic poem that tells the adventures of Jason and his companions as they sail to fetch the Golden Fleece from King Aeëtes of Colchis.

Jason’s uncle, the Greek King Pelias, contrived the plan when he saw Jason at his banquet. An oracle had told him that someone wearing a single sandal would kill him and Jason had shown up wearing one sandal (he lost the other in some mud whe
Mar 02, 2016 Damon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mythology
Jan 22, 2013 Eadweard rated it liked it
Shelves: greek, epics, poetry
Poor Medea, but more on her in Euripides' play.

Perhaps not as good as The Illiad and Odyssey, it was still entertaining to read.
Jun 16, 2009 Lily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An impressive work: lovely and lyrical writing, a deft portrayal of human nature, and everything you could ask for in a story of high adventure.
May 16, 2014 Bbrown rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First, a note as to the version I read: I was very satisfied with the Peter Green translation of The Argonautika, it’s clear from his introduction that he has a passion for this story, and the extensive glossary, maps, and analysis of the text demonstrates that he has the expertise for the job of translation as well. Green keeps the text in the form of an epic poem, and there are segments of beautiful and evocative imagery. I’d highly recommend the Green translation.

That being said, the subject
Nov 04, 2015 Andrada rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-ancient
One of the great Greek epic poems, the Argonautica tells the famous story of Jason and the golden fleece as written by Apollonius(not so much of Rhodes as of Alexandria). Although many versions of this epic exist and it is indeed old enough to be included in Hesiod’s Theogony, the Argonautica is considered, more or less, its standard version.

Much shorter than the Homeric epics, the story suffers because of its brevity although it seems Apollonius was forced to shorten it because of the literary
Oct 23, 2013 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
ARGONAUTICA. (3rd Century BC). Apollonius of Rhodes. ****.
Apollonius was a librarian at Alexandria, and had an argument with a contender for his job. He lost. He then moved to Rhodes, where he wrote this great work of love and adventure. Actually, his readers already knew the story of this quest for the Golden Fleece, but his retelling added so much more to it. I could add an outline of the story here, but you can just as easily get one from the internet. I last read this in 1960. I know that be
Iowa City Public Library
I still remember being twelve years old and walking home after seeing Ray Harryhausen’s movie Jason and the Argonauts. I was absolutely exhilarated. While Harryhausen’s style of stop action animation seems primitive compared with today’s CGI effects, it was state of the art at the time, and I realized that movies could show me things I’d never see in real life.

I just found out this year that there was a text version, rather than an oral tradition, so I ordered Jason and the Golden Fleece (the Ar
Alexander Rolfe
This is never going to catch on. The translator, Aaron Poochigian, hopes this will become, like Homer, essential reading for a cultured individual. But this is so inferior to Homer that it makes me think librarians shouldn't write books. It seems that Apollonius was more interested in telling the story of the voyage, and connecting it with current geographical knowledge, than in telling a good story. He begins abruptly, with no rationale or introduction given for the quest, and ends even more ab ...more
So this is definitely a cool story but it gets seriously bogged down sometimes in lists. Right at the very beginning you get smacked with a massive list of all the heroes joining Jason and their lineages and weapons and deeds. Which I guess is supposed to grab your attention by featuring all these awesome heroes, but it's seriously annoying to trudge through. A lot of time is also taken describing every little island and town and every people who live anywhere even remotely near. So it makes it ...more
Nov 03, 2015 Markus rated it really liked it
Shelves: classic-fictions
Appollonius of Rhodes, 300 BC, situates the events of his epic song some years before Homers Odysee.
He mentions Achilles in his mothers arms, still a child.
Homer is however his obvious guide in many ways, the progression of the story, the difficulties of the heroes along their quest to recover the golden fleece, beeing helped by Medea, the Colchian princess and various gods under the guidance of Hera.
All very similar to Ulysses, but not quite as rich, colourful and detailed.
Jun 16, 2016 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It certainly is Hellenistic. Though it lacks the traits of a Homeric Epic that made them special. The heroes seem uninvolved and Jason almost seems like a background character; the Gods as well seem to lack their former roles, and they are not given much personality--save for Venus. It's fantastic as a story, it's dramatic, pure Hellenism captured in the literary scope. As for an Epic? Not my favorite, but absolutely worth it.
Peter Tieryas
Oct 28, 2015 Peter Tieryas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Their voyage wasn’t just an attempt to find the Golden Fleece, but rather a microcosm of the human condition, helpless to the whimsies of deities while struggling to eke out their own positions in society."
pierlapo  quimby
Nov 15, 2010 pierlapo quimby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: greci-e-latini
La verità è che se non ci fosse stata Medea, Giasone e gli argofighi non avrebbero combinato un bel niente.
Ah, e detto per inciso, il mitico vello d'oro alla fine viene usato a mo' di corredo per il talamo nuziale su cui la maga donerà la propria virtù al biondo pseudo-eroe.
Sep 27, 2012 Salymar rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009-read, 2008-read
One of the Greek classics I loved back in my high school days :)
Adam Floridia
Just no Homer. Embarrassingly, I'm turning back to the second set of Percy Jackson books.
Mar 12, 2011 Megan rated it it was ok
I love the story yet for me it was ruined by page after page of Listing of EVERY hero's lineage and EVERY island no matter how insignificant the Argonauts traveled by
Ellana Rose Thornton-Wheybrew
This took me quite some time to read, despite it being fascinating. I found it interesting though, that a poem from so long ago could pass the Bechdel test, despite movies and books from more recent times struggling with such a simple thing.

A brilliant story of love, loss, trials, and desperation.
Eh. Probably would have liked it better if I'd read it in verse. These guys get into All the Fights but they die from, like, random unexplained illness and random angry shepherds. Kind of a bummer, really.

Medea's cool, though, poor thing.
Michelle Abramowitz
I really liked this and I'm glad I read it! The writing is very different (and not as good) from Homer's, and I like how Apollonius plays around with the tropes of Homeric writing.
Feb 12, 2013 Nick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition


One of the great Greek tales, recorded in this form much later than those of Homer (Hellenistic Age), presented in a fine 1971 edition with an extensive introduction, a nice map, and a glossary. The story of Jason and his Argonauts features the glorious departure of a sort of Ancient Greek Dream Team of heroes, famous people and wealthy folk for the Black Sea and a Golden Fleece. The reasons for this departure are somewhat arbitrary, but the excuse is that the King of Iolcus wants to send
Bill FromPA
Dec 13, 2014 Bill FromPA rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For more than three-quarters of its length, The Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes (Jason and the Argonauts in the flowing verse translation by Aaron Poochigian) is terrific. Then, in the last thousand or so lines, it flails about and only sort-of concludes. Many of the closing pages are taken up with a largely pointless condensed re-creation of The Odyssey, re-visiting characters and places from Homer’s epic (or anticipating them, if you prefer: the poem, though written long after Homer, is ...more
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Apollonius of Rhodes (Ancient Greek: Ἀπολλώνιος Ῥόδιος Apollṓnios Rhódios; Latin: Apollonius Rhodius; fl. first half of 3rd century BCE), is best known as the author of the Argonautica, an epic poem about Jason and the Argonauts and their quest for the Golden Fleece. The poem is one of the few extant examples of the epic genre and it was both innovative and influential, providing Ptolemaic Egypt w ...more
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“But are they heroes or mere dreamers?” 9 likes
“A working woman, rising before dawn to spin and needing light in her cottage room, piles brushwood on a smoldering log, and the whole heap kindled by the little brand goes up in a mighty blaze. Such was the fire of Love, stealthy but all-consuming, that swept through Medea's heart. In the turmoil of her soul, her soft cheeks turned from rose to white and white to rose.” 3 likes
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