LLT 121 CLASSICAL MYTHOLOGY: Legends of Mycenae and Iolcus
Copyright © 2000, Joseph J. Hughes
Last reviewed: 13 August 2001

I.   Legends of Perseus
     A.	twin-brothers Acrisius and Proetus
        1. Proetus becomes king of Tiryns
        2. Acrisius king at Argos
     B.	Danae, daughter of Acrisius
        1. oracle causes Acrisius to imprison her in underground bronze chamber to prevent conception
        2. Zeus gains entry as shower of gold (or golden light): Perseus conceived
     C.	Acrisius puts mother and child adrift at sea in a box
        1. saved by a fisherman, Dictys (good brother; life-giver)
        2. Perseus must satisfy Polydectes, would-be lover of DanaŽ, with a gift
     D.	Perseus the Gorgon-slayer
        1. the 3 Gorgon sisters; only Medusa is mortal
        2. Athena as Perseus' mentor
           a. Perseus must consult the Graeae (Grey Ones) for info
           b. gets the cap of Hades (invisibility), winged sandals, and a special pouch for Medusa's head from the nymphs
           c. gets a special scimitar from Hermes
        3. beheads Medusa
           a. winged horse, Pegasus, springs from the body
           b. flees safely from the sisters
     E.	Perseus and Andromeda
        1. Andromeda to be sacrificed to a sea monster
        2. Perseus kills the monster; will marry Andromeda
           a. turns her former suitor into stone
           b. has a son, Perses, ancestor of the Persians
     F. Perseus rescues his mother
        1. his mother and Dictys threatened by Polydectes
        2. Perseus turns Polydectes to stone; makes Dictys king
        3. returns magical implements to Hermes; gives Medusa's head to Athena for her aegis
     G.	Death of Acrisius
        1. Perseus accidently causes Acrisius' death
        2. trades rule of Argos for Tiryns; founds Mycenae
        3. Perseus made into a constellation at death
II.  Prelude to the Argonautica
     A.	unlucky Athamas
        1. two children by Nephele: Phrixus and Helle
        2. then marries Ino, who plots to destroy stepchildren
     B.	golden ram carries off children
        1. Helle falls into the "Hellespont"
        2. Phrixus carried to Colchis, land of King AeŽtes
        3. ram sacrificed to Zeus; skin given to AeŽtes
     C.	Pelias and Aeson (half-brothers)
        1. Pelias usurps throne of Iolchus
        2. Aeson, rightful heir, imprisoned by Pelias
           a. has a son, Jason
           b. Jason sent away for his safety: raised by Chiron
        3. oracle that Pelias will fall to an Aeolid with one sandal
           a. Jason comes of age; returns to Iolchus for his inheritance
           b. Jason unknowingly aids Hera; loses his sandal
           c. Jason sent after the Golden Fleece
        4. Hera will punish the irreverent Pelias
           a. Pelias desecrates Hera's temple; refuses to pay her honor
	   b. Hera will use Medea to bring about Pelias' destruction

III. Voyage of the Argo
     A.	the ship, Argo
        1. built by Argus and Athena; first ship ever built by Greeks
        2. magical talking beam from Dodona in the prow
     B.	call for the best fighting men of the day
        1. Hera makes it a matter of pride to take part
        2. the seer, Idmon, foresees that all will return except himself
     C.	Lemnian women
        1. women offend Aphrodite; made undesirable; men leave or are killed
        2. Argonauts stay for one year on Lemnos; beget children
     D.	King Cyzicus
        1. receives Jason and Argonauts kindly
        2. mistakenly killed by them
     E.	Heracles and Hylas
        1. Heracles breaks oar; ship stops at an island
        2. Hylas, Heracles' beloved, lost to nymphs; Heracles left on the island
     F.	Phineus and the Harpies; the Symplegades
        1. king and seer who's been cursed for revealing too much of the divine plan
           a. Harpies, half bird, half woman, eat and befoul his food
           b. the winged brothers (Zetes and CalaÔs) drive off Harpies
        2. Phineus in gratitude tells of the Symplegades, "Clashing Rocks"
        3. divine help of Hera allows passage

IV.  Medea and the Golden Fleece
     A.	Hera causes Medea to fall in love with Jason
        1. AeŽtes gives Jason the impossible tasks
        2. yoke bulls, plow field, kill sown nem
     B.	Medea will help Jason in exchange for his love
        1. her magic allows Jason to yoke the fire-breathing oxen
        2. also to conquer the "sown men"
        3. Jason and the dragon
           a. Medea suspects treachery on her father's part
           b. drugs the dragon; fleece taken; they flee
     C.	Aeetes gives pursuit
        1. Medea's brother, Apsyrtus, treacherously used
        2. Jason and Medea married for their protection
        3. Talus, the bronze giant of Crete

V.   The Rest of the Story
     A.	Death of Pelias
        1. Pelias kills Aeson
        2. mother commits suicide
     B.	Medea takes charge
        1. rejuvenation trick with Pelias' daughters
        2. Jason and Medea driven into permanent exile
     C.	Jason and Medea in Corinth
        1. live happily several years in Corinth: two sons
        2. Jason will marry royalty for the benefit of his family
           a. traitor Jason has broken his vow;
           b. Medea will avenge the dishonor
        3. Glauce and King Creon killed by Medea
        4. killing of Medea's children
        5. Medea given sanctuary at Athens by King Aegeus
           a. has a child, Medus, by Aegeus
           b. plots unsuccessfully against Theseus, Aegeus' son
           c. returns to Colchis; kills her father; 
           d. Medus, son of Medea, rules Persian Empire
        6. Jason killed by a rotten beam from the Argo

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