Jason and the Golden Fleece (The Argonautica)
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Jason and the Golden Fleece (Loeb Classical Library #1)

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  4,738 ratings  ·  67 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 August 20th 1998 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published -250)
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The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienThe Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienThe Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. LewisThe Odyssey by HomerHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
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Ben
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...more
Eddie
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
Tony
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...more
PurplyCookie
The Argonautica is the dramatic story of Jason's quest for the Golden Fleece and his relations with the dangerous Princess Medea. "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."

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 B.C.

Apollonius explores many of the fundamental aspects of life in a highly original way: love, decei...more
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...more
John
In picking up a classic like this to read, my primary fear is that I will find it boring and hard to read. Fortunately this is a relatively short book, though I did not find it boring. Instead, I found it morally repugnant. It is, however, an interesting insight into the worldview of the ancients.

Jason is given the challenge to get the golden fleece by King Pelias, after a prophecy was given him that made him fear that Jason would kill him. Jason assembles a band of heroes to go on the adventure...more
pierlapo  quimby
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.
Bbrown
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...more
Megan
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
Salymar
One of the Greek classics I loved back in my high school days :)
Nick

Summary

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...more
Caroline Beatle
4.5/5

Tengo muchas ganas de reseñar este libro porque me encantó, pero simplemente no puedo. Sólo diré que de las ~grandes épicas~ grecolatinas (Ilíada, Odisea, Argonáutica, Eneida) que he leído ésta es la que me ha gustado más (¡pero aún falta la Odisea! *u*).
Creo que una de las razones por las que me gustó más que la Ilíada o la Eneida es porque Apolonio intenta darle un toque épico a su poema utilizando muchos convencionalismos de Homero (como los símiles (que me gustaron más aquí, porque no s...more
Gijs Grob
Episch gedicht over de tocht van de Argonauten, een club superhelden die o.l.v. de wat laffe en slampamperige held Jason er op uittrekt om het gulden vlies te gaan halen in Kolchis (Georgië), maar hier enkel in slaagt dankzij uitvoerige hulp van godin Hera en van de magie van Medea, de dochter van Aietes, de hardvochtige koning van Kolchis.

Apollonios' werk staat duidelijk aan het eind van een lange traditie. 'De tocht van de Argonauten' is veel minder een eenheid dan Homeros' gedichten, maar eer...more
Jordan
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
Chiara Silvia
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
Anna
Finally I get to read the epic story of Jason and the Argonauts, the story that inspired the awesome film (which, in itself, was an interesting comparison). I think I picked this book up at a dollar book store. E. V. Rieu translated this old Greek epic to fit a more modern plot structure (which was easy and interesting to read), thus it didn't read with the same epic poetry structure that "The Iliad" or "The Odyssey" read like. Jason's story is a wonderful epic with monsters and complications ga...more
Silvio Curtis
The Argonautika is an epic from late ancient Greece, after Alexander but before the Roman invasion. It is about Jason’s quest for the Golden Fleece, for which he voyages to the remote reaches of the Black Sea. There he survives the ordeal which king Aiêtês, the owner of the Fleece, assigns him, then steals the fleece and escapes with the king’s daughter Mêdeia who has been secretly helping him.

It is less than half as long as the Homeric epics and so the details of plot and character are a lot le...more
Tina Wenner gross
Not exactly Homer but still
a fun read I recommend it
Amy
In summary, 'twas some many men of manly lineage doing manly things while their mothers bawled. About half way through a drama queen shows up, falls in love because a little boy in need of a spanking shoots her with an arrow, and helps the manliest man do a very manly deed.
And then stuff happens.
In more seriousness, I think stories like this should be more common for young men today. While I hardly suggest going around murdering people and wooing strange Amazon women, these guys aren't wussy pu...more
David
For those who love epic and want to read something besides Homer or Vergil, this is a great place off the beaten track. Apollonius adds a human touch to the tradition of Homer, inserting his own (often humorous) comments and creating characters and heroes who exhibit flaws, fears, and weaknesses. The overarching story is peppered with many allusions and retellings of other myths, making an enjoyable read for the lover of mythology.

My edition was a Penguin Classics book, with a very readable tran...more
Krisette Spangler
This book is the oringal story of Jason and the golden fleece. Greek gods and myths have always held a certain fascination for me, and I remember watching the movie Jason and the Argonauts when I was a girl. I loved reading how the gods helped Jason on his quest and about the fire breathing bulls he had to defeat in order to get the fleece. However, for those of you who don't really like Homer, this is more of the same style. I found it fascinating, but it was very slow.
Colin
OK, I hate to admit it - I didn't like this nearly as much as I thought I would. Yes, it is part of this famous and amazing epic tale, that interconnects with all these other myths and has important themes and influences stuff like Vergil's Aeneid . . . but still, it is simply not the most artfully rendered epic, nor the most thrilling to read. It felt more like a chore than a joy, sadly. A necessary piece of my library, but not my favorite . . .
Stephen
In terms of everything from character development and thematic meaning to plot structure and lyrical description, this classical epic is far better than Homer's Odyssey and almost all of the heroic, mythological tales of Ancient Greece. Okay, so it was written almost five hundred years after and heavily inspired by Homer, but its superiority shines. A very engaging and thought-provoking tale, full of numerous interesting anecdotes and subplots.
Old-Barbarossa
Too short but good notes.
Enjoyed it though.
Ovid's treatment of the tale has a bit more meat on it with regards to Medea, though he does skirt over a load of the Jason stuff.
Graves does a good job of amalgamating most of the classical sources into his Hercules My Shipmate-OS, good notes in it too.
Mike Szczepanik
I surprised myself by plowing right through Apollonius's version of "Jason's voyage in quest of the Golden Fleece, a tale which seems to have stood, in the estimation of the Greeks, second only to the great cycle of legend which centred in the Trojan War" (from the translator's intro). It's not on the same level as The Odyssey or The Iliad, but it was better than I'd been led to expect it would be.
Rachel
The text is printed in very small font, difficult to read. Thanks Oxford Press! Be warned. The story is a poor imitation of Homer's Odyssey. I found no original or challenging ideas or world views--basically the author is a poor imitation of Homer. Nevertheless, it is important to be familiar with the classics. This is fair translation, but Richard Hunter is no Robert Fagles.
Tristan
It is too bad that this is a prose translation of a very intricate bit of Greek poetry. Apollonius works best when describing some of the scenes in his work, but does not do a very good job tying everything together. However, it is an essential read to complement Vergil, as the work very clearly influenced the much more polished Aeneid.
Reed
It may be that I approached the book with a bad mindset. I expected it to be very much in the same style as the Iliad and the Odyssey, but it was written in a different time, different style, and to a different audience than the great Homeric Epics. Much more dry, much more bland than Homer's works, but also much shorter.
Taylor
Easily one of my favorites. From the translation, to the story, to just about everything, "The Argonautica" is one of the greatest epics of all time. I consider better than "The Odyssey" and right up there with "The Illiad". The Green translation is superb and a must read for anyone.
Stephen
A shorter epic for those who don't have the time for Homer, The Argonautika tells the story of Jason's quest for the Golden Fleece. Apollonios presents a nuanced and character driven telling of this ancient myth and the Peter Green translation is incredibly readable.
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“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
“With these words of prayer he threw the barley-grains. The two heroes responsible for the oxen, might Ankaios and Herakles, girded themselves in preparation. The latter crashed his club down on the middle of the forehead of one ox; in one movement its heavy body fell to the ground. Ankaios cut the other's broad neck with his bronze axe, slicing through the tough tendons; it fell sprawling over its two horns. Their comrades quickly slaughtered and flayed the oxen, chopping and cutting them up and removing the thigh pieces for sacrifice These they covered all over with a thick layer of fat and burnt them on spits, while the son of Aison poured libations of unmixed wine. Idmon rejoiced as he gazed at the flame, which burnt brightly all around the sacrifices, and the favourable omen of the murky smoke, darting up in dark spirals.” 1 likes
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