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The Golden Fleece and the Heroes Who Lived Before Achilles
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The Golden Fleece and the Heroes Who Lived Before Achilles

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  815 ratings  ·  107 reviews

Enter a world where harpies torment mortals, the Argonaut Orpheus sings, the mighty god Zeus wages war on the Titans, and Prometheus steals fire. Author Padraic Colum weaves the tales of Jason and his Argonauts with classic Greek mythology to create this captivating epic about life, war, and astounding beings who lived in a time long past.
Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 22nd 2004 by Aladdin Paperbacks (first published 1921)
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3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  815 ratings  ·  107 reviews

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*Rant coming up ahead*

Ever heard of Jason and the Argonauts? No? WHY. Basically, they were what people used to fangirl about centuries ago, instead of Kaz Brekker and the Dregs.


So this boy Jason shows up one day in his hometown and walks straight up to his evil uncle aka King Pelias and says 'hey uh, that throne belongs to me. Cuz you know, you kinda stole it from my dad.' LITERALLY.

I don't get how people had the guts to be so straightforward back then.

Anyway, Pelias is like hm okay but
May 25, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: post-college
I started out really liking this book, but about a quarter of the way through it began to bore me to tears. I think that it was Twain who said something like, "Don't tell your readers that the lady is singing. Bring her on stage and let them hear her." Well, this book was all telling.

I want a GOOD Greek-mythilogical fantasy.
This is the first "real" book of myths I read as a child. It is a great introductory version of many of the classic Greek stories for kids. For adults, there are many, many better books out there.
Mar 11, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoy's greek mythology
I really enjoy Mythology of all types, but I do have a certain weakness for Greek mythology, I’m not sure what it was that originally attracted me to it as a child but the Minotaur, the Labyrinth, Zeus and his lightning bolts, all that was absolutely fascinating to me.

This is the story of Jason who was supposed to be the king of Iolcus but his uncle Pelias had taken the thrown from Jason’s father Aeson. Aeson worried that his brother Pelias was going to do harm to his young son as he may view h
Alessandro Duran
“The Golden Fleece, and the Heroes before Achilles,” follows the story of a young man named Jason who was given a mission by his evil uncle Aetes, to go, and retrieve the legendary Golden Fleece. Along his travels, his crew mates and other individuals told stories about all of the Greek heroes, heroines, and the creation of everything.
I would highly recommend this book to a friend because, it contains action, humor, interesting, and extraordinary events.
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I actually started this a loooong time ago (easily 5 years) but found it a bit boring so I discontinued reading. I picked it up again after recently completing Edith Hamilton's compilation of myths - that helped a lot.

This book by Padraic Colum is supposedly meant for children / YA. Fair enough, as far as Greek mythologies go, they are filled with lusty and violent tales of gods and mortals, and these elements may not be suitable for young impressionable minds. However, even if you redact this,
Sarah Holz
Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m bumping this to perhaps a generous four because I found Padraic Colum’s bending of pre-Trojan classical myth into one unified story charming and Homeric. We forget these stories came down in multiple versions once upon a time and this is very much in the spirit of the original Greek storytellers we look back to so reverently.
Michael Fitzgerald
Lots of good stories. Sometimes it uses name variants that are less familiar.

Narrator OK, but not great - very dry.

Padraic Colum, author of The Golden Fleece and the Heroes Who Lived Before Achilles, was born December 8, 1881, in County Longford, Ireland. In 1914, he and his wife, Mary, moved to the United States where he began writing children’s stories and books based on Irish folklore and mythology. In 1922, his retelling of Greek myths was recognized as a Newbery Honor Book. Padraic Colum later authored two more Newbery Honor books, The Voyagers: Being Legends and Romances of Atlantic Discovery in 1926
This was a Newbery Honor book in 1922. It is written well and the stories are easy to get into. This would have been a great book to have during my mythology class in jr. high as well as in college. Next time I listen to 'Birdhouse In Your Soul' by They Might Be Giants, I will smile smugly knowing that I'm now a bit more knowledgeable about Jason and the Argonauts.
Angie Lisle
I remember this book being read to me as a child and I didn't like it then and I don't like it now. The prose is quasi-archaic with thous and thees thrown into passive sentences that tell rather than show what happens. It makes for a dull read.

The myths aren't in chronological order even though they could be sorted and told in such a manner instead of bouncing back and forth in time. As a child, I couldn't keep the chronology straight, not without backtracking and rereading (which I wasn't incl
May 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book The Golden Fleece and the Hero's Who Lived Before Achilles by Padraic Colum is about a young boy named Jason goes on a quest to find the golden fleece. Jason was the son of king Aeson, but becomes an orphan when he was 3 years old. Aeson send one of his slaves to take Jason to the king centaur. The slave did what he wished for. The centaur told the slave that he would look after the child until the child became a man. This centaurs name was King Chiron. After a few years later Jason wa ...more
Manuel Alfonseca
This book describes the voyage of the Argonauts in quest of the Golden Fleece.

I see two problems in this book:

a) Apparently it was too short, so the author "completed" it with several other Greek myths, some related, as to what happened to Jason's companions before or after the quest; some totally unrelated, as the stories of Perseus; Epimetheus and Pandora; or Prometheus.

b) The fact that the author is writing for children apparently moved him to soften some of the more grisly elements of the s
Jamisen Blackwell
This book is about a youth named Jason who was fostered by a Chiron, the centaur. After he was fostered by Chiron he went back to his real father. Then he meets the king of his country, king Pelias, who makes him go on a daring voyage for THE GOLDEN FLEECE. He gets his army ready with famous people such as: Hercules, Orpheus, Atalanta, Theseus, and Medea. Will Jason be able to get THE GOLDEN FLEECE back to king Pelias, or will he die on his voyage to get it.

I would give this book to anyone. The
Sam N
May 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Golden Fleece is about a boy named jason who goes on a journey for the Golden Fleece. He gets a crew of hero's that build a boat called the Argo. They start on their journey to the island of Colchis is, on their way they take breaks on other islands and help the community that is on the island. On the islands, they Save King Phineus from harpies and tell stories to the women of Lemnos. They finally get to Colchis and get the Golden Fleece. And return home.
I would recommend this book to any
Casey O
May 26, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Golden Fleece by Padraic Colum is a book about a group of ancient heros who try to win the golden fleece. Jason one of the heros, is mad at King Aeson, his uncle as he rules Iolcus as a tyrant, raised by Chrion a great centaur, jason to win back Iolcus from his uncle, but he says he must win the golden fleece to rule Iolcus. Jason Gathers together many heros that are determined to win the golden fleece.

I disliked this book because it was very boring and had a very boring stile. I did not lik
Jul 06, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newberry, fantasy
I wouldn't have even given this book a chance if I hadn't read the forward by Rick Riordan. His forward made the book sound so exciting. It wasn't. The story is constantly jumping from one myth to another. The author has the heroes tell stories (myths) to each other while on their journey to gain back the Golden Fleece. All of the myth telling was boring and confusing. It was almost like the author thought he had to cover all the Greek myths in one book. Rather than reading the cliff notes versi ...more
Christopher Montalbano
This book is about a boy named Jason who goes on a quest to find the Golden Fleece. He was born in the wild by a centaur and one day he finds out who he really is and he needs to find the Golden Fleece. On his epic journey he runs into danger, bad weather and monsters.Do you think he will find it? I would recommend this book to any one who likes adventure.
Jan 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
watered down ( PG )version of great greek tales of heroism and adventure. i love it, but when compared to other accounts of these legendary quests all of the guts seem removed (literally).

i recommend this for those new to greek mythology and any one, who like me, wants to know the answer to those jeopardy questions the next time around. :)
Sean Menon
So far I think The Golden Fleece and the Heros Who Lived Before Achilles is a cool book that is written in old english. Sometimes the story is hard to understand because it is thousands of years old. Overall, I think the book The Golden Fleece and the Heros Who Lived Before Achilles is an awesome book but is for people with high reading skills.
I didn't grow up reading myths, so I was very glad to finally learn who the Argonauts were! I like Colum's style of writing, although my 12 year old, who is reading this now, doesn't like it at all. (It doesn't sound like people text).
I read some book about Jason and the Golden Fleece and other myths in the sixth grade, but I have no clue what the title was. The fact that this one was a Newbury Honor makes this one a safe guess. If anyone had Mrs. Collins at Parker and remembers more let me know! :P
Emma Heren
Padraic Colum is the author of the Newberry Medal awarded story "The Golden Fleece and the Heroes Who Lived Before Achilles." This book is set is ancent Greece where a boy named Jason, son of the past King AEson, and many different Heroes set out on a quest to fin and bring back the Golden Fleece. "Then would I bring from far Colchis, the famous Fleece of Gold that King AEetes keeps guard over!" (pg. 20) The group of Heroes is call the Argonauts.

I don't recommend this book because the story line
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Anyone who is really interested in Greek mythology will love this book. I had been looking for a good re-telling of the story of Jason and the Argonauts and that's exactly what I found here. There were also additional tales and references to many, many other famous stories from Greek mythology interspersed throughout (the Labors of Heracles, Theseus and the Minotaur, the story of Prometheus, Orpheus and Eurydice, the story of Hades (aka "Aidoneus") and Persephone, Pandora's Box, etc., etc.). It ...more
Valerie Basham
Heracles had to complete twelve impossible tasks - and this book felt like all twelve in one! 😳 I’m not a fan of Greek mythology but it is a staple in classic literature and an area in which I am weak. It was nice to read about a few familiar names (Achilles, Pandora, Zeus, etc) and learn their backstory.

Jason’s quest for the Golden Fleece was hard to follow, but I think I got it. I’m sure there are modern versions of the myths that would be easier to read, but this is considered a classic for
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you are looking for a concise retelling of Jason and the Argonauts, then this is not the book for you. Orpheus takes the reader along with him to recall many stories of the gods and goddesses. If you are up for a more meandering tale with very detailed accounts of a whole bunch of Greek mythology, then you'll like this book. My boys enjoyed listening to this read slowly at bedtime, but it would not be my first choice to introduce Greek mythology. It's better suited to those with a keen intere ...more
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mythology
I'm pretty sure I first picked this book up because I was into Greek mythology and Rick Riordan obviously liked it, because he wrote the intro, so it must be good, right?

Well, my first attempt ended with me renewing this book the max number of times and sending it back before finishing. I just couldn't get into it.

Apparently I just needed to be older (and maybe more in the mood???). This time around was much closer more interesting and I was able to get into it.
I'm not particularly familiar with Greek mythology, so a good number of these stories were new to me, although I'd heard some of the names before. Mythological heroes are generally not a very likeable lot, but the tales themselves are fascinating. I particularly like the layered storytelling, and the fantastical creatures and beings, and the interplay between the gods and humankind.
Fairly well-written compilation of the Golden Fleece and other stories of Greek heroes. Way more readable than a lot of fair for kids written at this time. Personally, I think this is a better book and has held up better than the Newbery winner that year, The Story of Mankind.
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another lovely, simple book of mythology presented for children by Padraic Colum. This one describes the tale of Jason and the Argonauts, their quest for the Golden Fleece, and what befell each of the heroes afterward.
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Newbery Medal & H...: Golden Fleece June Read 1 3 Jul 02, 2013 07:25AM  
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Padraic Colum was an Irish poet, novelist, dramatist, biographer and collector of folklore. He was one of the leading figures of the Celtic Revival. (Source)