Greek Mythology II - Book 1 of Argonautica, Trans. by R. C. Seaton (1-4)


[1] Beginning with thee, O Phoebus, I will recount the famous deeds of men of old, who, at the behest of King Pelias, down through the mouth of Pontus and between the Cyanean rocks, sped well-benched Argo in quest of the golden fleece.

Question: Who Were the Argonauts?

Answer: The Argonauts of Greek mythology are the people who sailed on a ship called the Argo -- named after its builder, Argus. The crew were named for the boat plus a word for sailors (naut-) -- Argonauts. In the 3rd century B.C., at the multicultural center of learning at Alexandria, in Egypt, Apollonius of Rhodes wrote a famous epic poem about these Argonauts.

Named for the argonauts, Apollonius' poem is called the Argonautica. Jason gathered together the glory-seeking heroes and demigods of the time and packed them on board a special boat called the Argo. As stated at the start, these sailor-adventurers were the Argonauts. They engaged in many adventures on their way to Colchis, so several of the men enhanced their heroic status. Some of the creatures they encountered appear in other stories of the Greek heroes, making the story of the Argonauts a central myth.

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