J is for Jason and the Argonauts
Next up in the April 2017 AtoZ Challenge, we’ll head back to Ancient Greece and look at the Colchian Dragon in the story of Jason and the Argonauts.
The Theoi Project is a wonderful site “exploring Greek mythology and the gods in classical literature and art … [that provides] a comprehensive, free reference guide to the gods (theoi), spirits (daimones), fabulous creatures (theres) and heroes of ancient Greek mythology and religion.” I highly recommend you check them out, as you can find lovely images such as above showing Jason and the Dragon from an Apulian Red Figure vase from the 4th century B.C.
According to their entry for this creature:
THE DRAKON KHOLKIKOS (Colchian Dragon) was a giant, watchful serpent which guarded the Golden Fleece in the sacred grove of Ares in Kolkhis (Colchis). When Jason and the Argonauts came to fetch the fleece, the beast was either slain by the hero or put to sleep by the witch Medea [or both, in various versions of the myth].
Here is another vase painting from the Late Classical period of Jason and the Dragon from the Theoi Project:
As you can see, the Colchian Dragon is depicted as a giant serpent, or wyrm, without legs or wings. For a more modern example, here is Colchian by professional U.K. artist Sophie, posting as MO-ffie. Check out her gallery for more beautiful illustrations. The dragon is ‘losing it,’ Sophie captions, as the tiny figure of Jason escapes with the fleece.
Here’s one from an artist I featured in last year’s AtoZ, showing another wyrm dragon. This is Golden Fleece by American professional artist Stanley Morrison, that he created for a “book of dragons in history for Q2A Media,” but I still haven’t able to track down the book itself. Great image, though, and you can find more at his gallery.
This next image of a winged dragon comes from a stamp collection that was issued in 2015 from the tiny island nation the Bailiwick of Jersey, a Crown dependency of the U.K. off the coast of Normandy, France. “Illustrated by Adrian Chesterman, the stamps feature interpretations of well-known dragon legends from around the world,” according to the news story in the Jersey Post, including this image of The Colchian Dragon. Find more art at Adrian’s official website.
Another wingless wyrm dragon appears in this next piece called Golden Fleece by U.K. deviantartist Andres, posting as Jakdaw. I like the monochromatic colors and fierce expression on the dragon! Check out his gallery for more.
This next one features not Jason, but instead his sorceress love-interest Medea calming the giant snake-like dragon guarding the golden fleece. I originally found this image by Steve James (as Fridayeve) featured in a post by the Traveling Classroom Foundation about their travels in Greece, where they have more of Steve James‘ amazing images as well as a concise retelling of the whole of the Jason and the Argonauts tale.
And finally, here is a beautiful image by American deviantartist Jeanel Walker, posting as iolii, of two dragons on guard and including an entirely new part of the tale. This is called The Golden Fleese And The Baby Dragon [sic], and though I’ve never heard of her interpretation, it’s interesting to note how myths can be adapted for new purposes. Also, I love the wings on the dragons, and baby dragons are always irresistible to me! See her gallery for more, and read her caption below.
Long ago Dragon and man got along. One day something happened and the war was on. One thought was when Jason took the golden fleece he killed either the baby dragon or the mother dragon to obtain it.
Interesting theory, don’t you think? Thanks as always for reading and for sticking with me on this AtoZ adventure. We’re almost to the halfway point… I hope I can continue to keep up! I apologize for not bloghopping as much as I would have liked so far this month, but I promise that I’ll get to each commentor’s AtoZs eventually — everyone is doing such a fantastic job!
Tomorrow we’ll be looking at a video game series for “K”, so check back for that! Take care!
Jason and the Dragon (05) from the Theoi Project
Jason and the Dragon (04) from the Theoi Project
Colchian by MO-ffie
Golden Fleece by Stanley Morrison
The Colchian Dragon by Adrian Chesterman
Golden Fleece by Jakdaw
Jason and the Argonauts 4 by Steve James posting as Fridayeve
The Golden Fleese And The Baby Dragon by Jeanel Walker, posting as iolii
2 thoughts on “AtoZ 2017: J is for Jason and the Argonauts”
Someone get that naked Jason some clothes. If you’re going to fight a dragon, for goodness sake, at least put on some pants. Interesting how some of the pictures portray the dragon as more snakelike and others more like a typical dragon.
Discarded Darlings – Jean Davis, Speculative Fiction Writer, A to Z: Editing Fiction
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Omg Jean, too funny, but also too true!! What were those ancients thinking? “I’m going to paint someone fighting a dragon, but it’s IMPORTANT that people know it’s a GUY fighting, so I guess naked, right?” 😉 Honestly though, I know nudes were all the rage back then, but I really…. O.o; I found the variations of the dragon very interesting as well, of course. 🙂