ARGO, the “fast vessel”
Wonderful things are told of the bold mariner Jason, and deep wisdom hides and reveals itself in everything he saw and did.
Jason’s grandfather had founded the city and kingdom of Iolcos in a bay of Thessaly and bequeathed it to his son Aeson. But Pelias, Aeson’s younger brother, rebelled against the rightful heir and took possession of the throne.
Aeson died and Jason, his child, was taken to Mount Pelion to the centaur Chiron by loyal friends of the deceased king. Chiron, half horse and half man, had a strong sense of justice and had raised many heroes before they set forth to seek their destiny. Jason was also to become a hero, ambitious and bold in the face of new challenges, a favorite of the gods.
The years passed. Jason had grown to become a wise young man when he decided to step out of the familiar safety of the Pelion Mountains to reclaim the legacy of his father, Aeson.
After a long journey he arrived in Iolcos, stood before his uncle Pelias, revealed himself and demanded his birthright.
Pelias reflected before replying: “To regain what you claim is rightfully yours, you must take a courageous step: go on a quest across the dark Sea, to Colchis and bring back the Golden Fleece. If you succeed, you have earned fame and regal power.”
Thus spoke the king, and Jason did not hesitate: He gathered great heroes – Hercules, Theseus, Orpheus, the Dioscuri, and many more – and started to build a ship that should take them safely through the crests of the waves of the dark sea. ARGO, “fast ship”, was the name the heroes chose for ship. They called themselves the Argonauts.
Soon, those who stayed behind experienced the billowing sails, the rhythm of the ores: Jason and his companions left the old port. The ARGO took them away to new shores…