Diodorus Siculus

BOOK IV - The Library of History



Page 148 Altho' we have been long in our Relation concerning HERCĂ▓LES, yet to make amends we have not omitted any thing material that is reported of him. And now it's time that we treat of the Argonauts, for Hercules went with them in that Expedition.



CHAP. III.


Of the Argonauts, Medea and the Daughter of Pileus. How the Argonauts gain'd the Golden Fleece. The Pranks of Medea, The Acts of Jason. The Cruelty of Pelias towards Jason's Kindred; how he was kill'd by his own Daughters through Medea's Charms. Medea burns the King of Corinth's Palace, and him in it. The miserable End of Jason. Of the Heraclidae, and their Return to Peloponesus.


JASON (they say) was Son of Aeson, and Nephew to Pelius King of Thessaly. And being a Man of strong Body and of an high Spirit, far above any of his Age, was ambitious to perform some memorable and remarkable Action; for knowing that Perseus his Ancestor and some others (by their expeditious and admirable Atchievments in foreign Countries) had purchased eternal Honour and Renown, he resolv'd to imitate them in the like heroick Undertakings: Acquainting therefore the King his Uncle with his Purpose, he easily obtain'd his Consent, not that Pelius thereby aim'd at the Honour and Glory of the young Man, but that he hop'd (among so many Hazards and Difficulties) he would be cut off; for having no Issue Male, he was afraid lest his Brother with the Assistance of his Son would some time or other invade his Kingdom. But he conceal'd his Suspicion in the mean time, and promis'd to furnish him with Provisions for his Voyage, encouraging him to undertake the Adventure in Sayling to Colchis to bring away the Ram's Golden Fleece, so much fam'd and spoken of all the World over.

Pontus at that time was inhabited by fierce and barbarous People, that were infamous for murdering of all Strangers that came amongst them, and therefore it was call'd Axenos: However Jason (being ambitious of Glory) tho' he was something concern'd at the Difficulty of the Undertaking, yet when he consider'd it was not altogether impossible to be accomplish'd, and that the more hazardous it was, the greater his Honour and Glory would be, he furnish'd himself with all things necessary for his Expedition.

And in the first Place built a Ship at the Mountain Pelius, much larger in every respect than was usual in those Times; for then they us'd to sayl only in Boats and little Skiffs. Every one therefore at the sight of the Vessel was amaz'd, and the intended Design and the Building of this Ship was nois'd over all Greece, so that many of the noble and brisk Youths were eager to joyn and go away with Jason in Order to partake of the Honour in this Expedition.

Jason now lanching forth his Ship, compleatly furnish'd with all things necessary, made choice of four and fifty of the greatest Persons of Quality out of the Number of those that were desirous to go along with him. Amongst whom the most remarkable were Castor and Pollux, Hercules and Telamon, Orpheus and Atalanta, the Daughter of Schaeneus, the Sons of Thespius, and JASON himself the Head and Captain of the Expedition to Colchos; he call'd the Ship Argo, from the Builder, whose Name was Argus (as some fabulous Writers report) who (they say) imbark'd with them to repair the Ship, as Occasion might serve: But others say it was so call'd from its swift Sayling, for that Argon among the ancient Greeks signify'd swift. Being all on Board, they unanimously chose Hercules for his extraordinary Valour to be their General. After they had set Sayl from Iolcus, and passed by Athos and Samothrace, they were by a Tempest cast upon Sigeum, a Promontory


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