Jason and Argonaut: Part III
Adventures on the way
The Argonauts started their trip with feelings of joy and enthusiasm. They were only seeking for some excitement and wanted to experience new ways, to see the world around them. They thought it was just a usual journey and didn’t know that this journey would change the life of most of them. They had no idea about the adventures and horrible things to come, nor did they know that some would never return back.
Landing on Lemnos
For a long time, the island of Lemnos had been inhabited only by women and it was there that the Argo first weighed anchor. These women had provoked the wrath of Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, for not worshipping her and as a sign of vengeance she had cursed them with horrible body odor. Unable to bear the awful stench, their husbands had deserted them to this isolate island. Humiliated and furious for their appalling condition, the women had murdered every male on the island. There they lived with their queen Hypsipyle until the day Jason and his Argonauts arrived. The Argonauts were welcomed with open arms and impregnated these women. Jason himself fathered twin sons born of Queen Hypsipyle.
Disappearance of Hylas
Soon the heroes were sailing along the coast of Mysia. Hercules, realizing he had broken his oar, went ashore with his squire and lover Hylas to make an oar from the woods. While Hercules was at work, Hylas went to fetch water but was bewitched by a water nymph and was dragged into her water. Hercules, heartbroken for not being able to find Hylas, refused to accompany the rest of the men on their quest. Some wanted to leave him behind but most wished to wait for him since Hercules was an invaluable asset to the team. The situation aboard the Argo soon became mutinous but Hermes appeared and calmed them all. He told the Argonauts that it was the will of the gods that Hercules stays there and goes on to complete other tasks. The Argo put out to sea again leaving behind Polyphemus to assist the mighty Hercules in his mission.
The Fight with Amycus
|Pollux ready to fight|
A few days later, the Argonauts approached the land of King Amycus, ruler of the tribe Bebryces. He had a strange quirk to challenge every stranger he met to a fistfight. Catching sight of the Argonauts, he challenged them and Polydeuces, the skilled boxer, took it up and, after a difficult fight, managed to kill Amycus. All hell broke loose as the Bebryces attacked the Argonauts to avenge their King but that was not to be. They were comprehensively driven back and Jason and his friends once again sailed for their destination.
Passage to the Black Sea and Colchis
The Argonauts then stopped to see Phineus. Phineus was a prophet, and the travelers needed advice on how to proceed. Phineus agreed to help them if they would free him of the Harpies, fierce, part-woman, part-bird creatures that stole and spoiled his food. Jason ordered a feast to be prepared. When the Harpies arrived to ruin the feast, two of the Argonauts—Calais and Zetes—pursued them.
Swords in hand, Calais and Zetes arose and gave chase to Ocypete and Aellopus, which were the proper names of the Harpies. These Argonauts were the swift-flying sons of the North Wind, Boreas. In not time they caught up with the monsters and would have killed them had not Iris, Hera's messenger and their beautiful sister, intervened. Promising that the Harpies would never again trouble Phineus, Iris beseeched the sons of Boreas to spare their lives.
Calais and Zetes returned with the good news and the grateful Phineus instructed Jason on navigating the perilous waters, particularly the Symplegades (better known as the Clashing Rocks), these terrifying rocks which had an annoying habit of clashing together whenever anything passed between them.
After reaching the entrance to the Black Sea, the Argonauts had to go through the Symplegades. Following Phineus's advice, the Argonauts released a dove. Jason released the dove and the Argonauts were ecstatic to see it fly through and come out safely, with only its tail feathers harmlessly torn away near the end. Waiting for the rocks to say "ah", the Argonauts blasted through, with only the extreme end of the Argo's stern ornament shorn off as they snapped shut behind them. The best part was, the Symplegades had gotten lockjaw. Evermore they remained open and never again imperiled sailors thank to Poseidon, Lord of the Sea.