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Betrayals in Ancient Greek Myths: Jason and Medea I

Jason was an ancient Greek mythical hero who was known as the leader of the Argonauts, and is at the center of the tale regarding the quest for the Golden Fleece. In this article, you will learn more about the warrior and his connection to Medea.

Jason was the son of Aeson, who was the rightful king of Iolcus. Jason appears in many different literary circles, including the classical works of Greece and Rome. He has been the highlight of epic poems and tragedies. As one of the great betrayals in ancient Greek mythology, it is his marriage to the sorceress Medea that is featured in many of the ancient tales.

Medea was the daughter of King Aeetes of Cochis. She was known as the niece of Circe and granddaughter of the sun god Helios. Medea marries Jason and the pair has two children, Mermeros and Pheres. However, Jason executes the ultimate betrayal against Medea to which she reacts in the most spiteful manner.

After Jason arrived from Iolcus to Colchis to claim his inheritance and throne after retrieving the Golden Fleece, Medea is said to have fallen head over heels for the hero. She promises to help him, but only if he would take her as his wife if he was successful. Jason agrees. Other accounts state that her father promises the fleece to Jason after he completes a few tasks. First, Jason is made to plough a field with fire-breathing oxen that he had to yoke himself. Medea helped by giving him the power to protect himself and his weapons so that the fiery breath of the bulls would not cause harm.

Jason’s next task was to sow the teeth of a dragon in the ploughed field, which transformed into an army of warriors. Medea had already warned Jason of what to expect and advised him to throw a rock into the crowd. The soldiers were unable to assess where the rock came from, so they attacked one another and in the aftermath , all were dead. Lastly, the King made Jason fight and kill the sleepless dragon that was in charge of guarding the fleece. However, Medea placed the beast to sleep with some of her magical herbs. Jason then obtained the fleece, and fulfilled his promise by sailing away with Medea.

Other versions of the myth show meddling of the gods, including Hera convinced Aphrodite to make Medea fall in love with Jason. Medea may have also distracted her father during the tests by killing her own brother, Abysytus. It is said that she may have dismembered the body and scattered the parts on an island. She knew that her father would be consumed with gathering his body parts so that he could have a proper burial.

Medea continued to protect Jason after he sailed away from her home. In the article titled, “Betrayals in Ancient Greek Myths: Jason and Medea II,” you will learn the deeds they accomplished together and what Jason did to betray his wife.