Monday, October 13, 2003

Jason and the Argonauts Just Ancient Shoppers?

"After fiddling about in the mud and muck of northern Greece, retracing Jason's route as detailed in Apollonius of Rhodes' telling of the Argo's journey, and wandering the hills and valleys of Georgia, some smug historians punctured Jason's fable. Rather than a hero of epic proportions, he was probably just a trader sent to the eastern end of the Black Sea on a shopping trip. There, he bartered with the Georgians, a race of people who used - and still use - sheep fleeces to pan for gold. It was 'highly likely' that Jason was 'a diplomat, a bureaucrat' rather than a warrior, and that his trials at the court of King Aeetes involved trading negotiations, not hand-to-hand combat with the undead. Such were the pedestrian origins of an incredible myth. "

These are the findings explained in the new BBC program "Jason and the Argonauts: Revealed". My son is going to be devastated. When he was young he went through a phase where each day he would come home from school and watch a tape of "Jason and the Argonauts". In fact, recently, after watching the Hallmark remake, I put in a tape of the original "Jason and the Argonauts" and found the music soundtrack as irritating as I did years ago (even though I still admire Ray Harryhausen's stop motion work). I teased my son about it on the phone (he's now grown with a family of his own) and he retorted "Hey, we don't knock the classics!" He apparently still watches it nostagically from time to time.