Jason and the Argonauts

Authored by: Robin Hard

The Routledge Handbook of Greek Mythology

Print publication date:  June  2008
Online publication date:  October  2003

Print ISBN: 9780415186360
eBook ISBN: 9780203446331
Adobe ISBN: 9781134664061


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A part from the Theban Wars, which have been considered in connection with the history of the Inachids, there were two other great adventures in the period before the Trojan War that drew leading heroes from different parts of Greece, namely the voyage of the Argonauts and the hunt for the Calydonian boar. The fathers of many Homeric warriors can be found among the heroes who took part in these two enterprises, which can be traced to a slightly earlier period than the Theban Wars and involved a much wider range of participants. If the Theban Wars broke out as the result of a conflict within the Inachid family, these other adventures were connected with the Deukalionids, the next great family that we will have to consider, for they were conducted under Deukalionid leadership in response to difficulties that had arisen in different branches of that family. Although the early epic accounts of the Argonautic expedition have been lost as in the case of the Theban Wars (and also the boar-hunt), we know far more about it than about the other episodes, largely because an epic from the Hellenistic era, the Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes, has survived in full along with scholia (ancient explanatory notes) that provide invaluable information on the earlier tradition and Argonautic lore in general. Since the history of the Deukalionids is exceptionally complicated and the mythology of the Argonauts is so rich and of such wide interest, it will be best to single out the latter for separate treatment in the present chapter before we pass on to trace the full history of the Deukalionids in the next chapter.

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