✓ The Golden Fleece ↠´ Download by Ê Robert Graves The story of Jason and his Argonauts on their quest for The Golden Fleece is well known, but I have never read a version quite as good and with such rich detail as this one by Robert Graves Graves puts Jason in his historical and geographical context, describing the voyage of the Argonauts as they sail from Iolcos along the islands of ancient Greece, past Troy, through the Bosphorus Strait where the Clashing Rocks are, and along the southern coast of the Black Sea towards the land of Colchis in the Caucasus In the course of his narrative, he demystifies many of the myths and mythological creatures he suggests, for instance, that the Cyclops were called One eyed men because they covered one eye to protect themselves from the sparks of their anvils but he leaves all the Gods and Goddesses fully intact Graves also looks into the religious beliefs that gave rise to the Greek deities, and suggests that much of the friction between the tribes in the region was a result of clashing cultures and religions, most notably the worshipping of the Triple Goddess which was threatened by the newer religion of the Olympian Gods.
Thanks to the presence of Orpheus and Hercules on the Argo, this book is about so much than the story of Jason and The Golden Fleece alone Hercules has interrupted his famous Labours for King Eurystheus to come and help the Argonauts on their quest, and his odd behaviour makes for some very hilarious adventures And Orpheus sings about the Creation of the Skies, the Earth and the Underworld, of the children of Cronus and Rhea, of the inventions of Daedalus, and many other wonderful things All in all, this book is a thorough introduction to Greek mythology and ancient Greece, and a wonderful achievement at that After reading this, I am inclined to think that The Golden Fleece which was later published in the US under the title Hercules, My Shipmate , rather than I,Claudius, was Robert Graves s finest work.
Interesting twist of on the Argunauts mithology Probably had siginificant influence on the recent Song of Troy written by McCullough Colleen.
The gods play a big role in everything that happens in the book, however they are not as active players as in normal mithology, and they are rooted into the beleifs all people.
I never thought I would give up on a book by Robert Graves, but this one I did It is very long because it is quite unbelievably detailed I assume Graves did this as a way of reproducing how the story might have been told orally, but also I think in order to cram in his interpretations of just about every Greek myth you can think of To give one example, in a banqueting hall where the Argonauts are feasting, there is a painting on the wall showing Daedalus and Icarus flying, so Orpheus tells in great detail the story involved, explaining how some things were misinterpreted and misunderstood, what might really have happened, and so on.
I got about halfway through, and maybe I shall return to it one day, but somehow I doubt it.



Another great classic by Graves, on the mythology of the Argos and the Argonauts, also reads very well like a travelogue.
read this book for the first time when I was sixteen, revisited it some time ago An Epic read I think has never been well crafted as this The story is sublime, the setting quite eery Jason is tough, his Argonauts are dauntless, the language is clean Really enjoyed it.
This one s a tough read Better have your cliff s notes handy if you want to keep up I was really looking for something with entertainment value This book did not deliver on that front, unfortunately.
But remember, no lies The dead may speak the truth only, even when it discredits themselves So ends the Invocation that begins Robert Graves The Golden Fleece 1944 , Graves having asked the ghost of Little Ancaeus, the last survivor of the Argonauts, to unfold the whole story of their quest to retrieve from far Colchis the sacred Fleece The account begins years after the famous voyage with the death of Ancaeus, when he tried to live among the Maiden, Nymph, and Mother worshiping people of Majorca, because on his home island of Samos the Triple Goddess had been replaced by the Olympian pantheon Ironically, the priestess who interviews Ancaeus decides that his knowledge of indecent and topsy turvy Greek culture in which, unbelievably, people worship fathers and women are forced to marry men and remain faithful to them and let them ride on top when making love is too dangerous to let loose on her island and so has her Goat men servants stone him to death The conflict between the original Triple Goddess and matriarchal culture of the Mediterranean on the one hand and the Olympians and patriarchal culture of the invading Greeks on the other moves the entire story of The Golden Fleece Readers who can remain patient through a few chapters of such historical context setting are in for a treat, for The Golden Fleece is a bawdy, beautiful, comical, exciting, and violent adventure set in the ancient age of myth, a real account of events before they were transformed into legends, an exotic travelogue, and a satiric clash of cultures and genders And it s just so full of life in all its brutality, brevity, humor, and pathos The Golden Fleece is an encyclopedic novel of all things Greek and pre Greek Graves incorporates or refers to many myths and legends, from the cosmogony through the trade war between Troy and Greece and the Twelve Labors of Hercules And from various cultures, including Pelasgian, Cretan, Thracian, Colchian, Taurean, Albanian, ian, Troglodyte, and of course Greek, he works into his novel many interesting customs, about fertility orgies, weddings, births, funerals, and ghosts prayers, sacrifices, omens, dreams, and mystery cults boar hunting, barley growing, trading, and ship building, sailing, and rowing feasting, singing, dancing, story telling, and clothes wearing boxing, murdering, warring, and treaty negotiating and It all feels vivid, authentic, and strange.
Because Graves writes the novel from the point of view of someone living in the time and place of The Golden Fleece, many fantastic things are recounted matter of factly For example, people who eat sacred oranges in the sacred manner live as long as they want, gods and goddesses speak to people through oracles and dreams, an augur can understand the speech of birds, Hercules has superhuman strength, and so on Graves also realistically treats some traditionally fantastic things For instance, hybrid creatures like centaurs, minotaurs, and satyrs are men belonging to horse, bull, and goat fraternities cyclops are smiths who squint while doing their work any woman can cow men by making gorgon grimaces distorting her face and hissing the sons of gods were born to prostitutes of the temples of those gods and so on And the heroes are so human Butes the bee keeper loves honey too much Idas provokes everyone even Zeus with his obnoxious jests Sharp eyed Lynceus doesn t warn anyone about the malevolent ghosts only he can see Atalanta the virgin huntress sends mixed signals to Meleager Echion the herald speaks so smoothly that he believes his own lies Accidents happen to people who get in the way of Peleus Hercules doesn t know his own strength, is prone to berserk rages, harms friends than foes, and suffocatingly loves his boy ward Hylas Jason is an indecisive, sullen, wild and witless young man, envied or despised by other men No great warrior, seaman, painter, orator, or wizard, he leads the Argonauts only because women fall in love with him at first sight, a gift he abuses by using the same my heart began a golden dance pick up lines on different women and then loving and leaving them The jealousies of the heroes are potent How generous you are, prince Hercules, cried Jason, wishing him dead and securely buried under a towering barrow of earth and stone Indeed, Orpheus is vital to the quest because he must regularly calm the Argonauts with his music when their egos spark conflicts The Golden Fleece is rich with epic similes After so long a period of abstinence, the women of Lemnos are wallowing in the pleasures of love as Egyptian crocodiles wallow in the fertile ooze of the Nile And with pithy lines For drunken men have short memories And with vivid descriptions, whether beautiful Here the mountain, which was shaggy with wild olive and esculent oak, sloped sharply down to the sea, five hundred feet below, at that time dappled with small banks of mist, like sheep grazing as far as the horizon line , spare The wind made the pyres roar lustily, and soon there was nothing left of the dead men but glowing bones , or sensual The orange is a round, scented fruit, unknown elsewhere in the civilized world, which grows green at first, then golden, with a hot rind and cold, sweet, sharp flesh.
Fans of Robert Graves other novels, like I Claudius, or of Greek myths and culture, or of exotic historical adventures, would probably enjoy this book.
Reissued By Creative Age Press In As Hercules, My Shipmate, A Novel About The Voyage Of The Argo Written With Ideas On The White Goddess As A Cultural Anthropological Backdrop To The Ancient Greek Tale What The Golden Fleece Really Was A Cloak Tossed To Earth By A Drunken Zeus, A Sheepskin Book Of Alchemic Secrets Or The Gilded Epidermis Of A Young Human Sacrifice Named Mr Ram Nobody Knows But Graves Is Quite Sure That, Whatever The Golden Fleece Was, The Voyage Of Jason His Argonauts Really Happened His Story Shows The Legendary Cruise As One Of The Bawdiest, Bloodiest, Most Boisterous Expeditions Of All Time In I, Claudius Its Claudius The God Sequel, Graves Brought The Teeming Life Of Claudian Rome So Vividly Alive That They Became Bestsellers In The Not So Successful Wife To Mr Milton, His Blend Of Imagination Scholarship Projected His Readers Into Th Century England The Bedchamber Temper Tantrums Of The Blind Poet Politician With Hercules Shipmates, Graves Becomes An Ancient Greek, Moving Among Demigods Goddesses, Myths Monsters With An Easy Familiarity A Wealth Of Erudite Detail Both Sometimes Seem Too Much Of A Good Thing Atomic Age Readers, Ill Attuned To The Leisurely, Formal Talk Of Myth Age Greeks, May Find Themselves Skipping Some Of The Longer Speeches Most Of The Argo S Oar Crew Were Princes, Each With A Special Talent Gift Of The Gods The Only Woman Aboard Was A Princess Atalanta Of Calydon, A Virgin Huntress Who Could Outrun Any Man In Greece Argus, Who Built The Argo, Was The World S Finest Shipwright Castor Pollux, Sons Of Leda Zeus As Swan, Were Champion Prizefighters Nauplius, Poseidon S Son, Was An Unrivaled Navigator Orpheus Could Make Sticks Stones Dance To His Lyre Hercules Of Tiryns Was The World S Strongest Man He Would Ve Captained The Argonauts Were It Not That In Moments Of Insanity He Murdered Friend Foe Alike Captaincy Devolved On Jason Of Lolcos A Man Nobody Liked Or Trusted, But Who Had A Power Denied To All The Others Women Instantly Fell In Love With Him Even Surly Hercules Agreed It A Quality Worth All The Rest Backed By Divine Blessings Equinoctal Winds, The Argonauts Set Sail On The Island Of Lemnos, Peopled Solely By Women, They Generously Stopped Off To Help Out With Spring Sowing Nine Months Later, Children Were Born, Of Whom No Less Than Were Said To Be The Spitting Image Of Hercules On Samothrace, They Were Initiated Into The Sacred Mysteries The Goddess Of All Being Mated With The Serpent Priapus To Be Delivered Of A Bull Then The Sacred Nymphs Leapt On Them Scratched Bit Until Even Hercules Passed Out Thereafter, The Argonauts Glowed With A Faint Nimbus Of Light The Argonauts Boldly Pushed On Thru The Dread Hellespont Entered The Black Sea To Their Dismay, Hercules Deserted, Summoned Home To Perform Another Of His Mighty Labors Holy Serpents He Growled Tell Me What This Time The Job Cleaning The Augean Stables Didn T Take Long He Stayed Around Afterwards With The Lydian High Priestess Who In Due Time Bore Male Triplets In Gratitude, She Taught Him To Spin, Tying Up His Hair In Blue Braids He Was Crazy About It, Admitting Confidentially He D Always Wanted To Be A Woman The Argonauts Went On Without Hercules Reaching Colchis, Aphrodite Won The Fleece For Them She Made Her Son Eros Wait Behind A Pillar With His Bow Until Handsome Jason Strode Into The King Of Colchis Palace Eros Shot Medea Thru The Heart, The Smitten Princess Helped To Get The Fleece From Her Father S Temple Mythology S Most Famous Voyage Had Reached Its Goal, But Graves Takes Pages To Wind Things Up Want to feel like you are Jason or one of the Argonauts and not just reading a summary Sea voyages aren t always comfortable and neither is this novel but if you want to sail around the Greek world without skipping events, this is top shelf Complete and very human, in ways both good and the bad Get to know the individual Argonauts, and how they were chosen, plus the royal history and family lines I enjoy how everyone is superstitious and mindful of the Gods, but the Gods aren t on stage like party extra s and wallpaper, some are even skeptical of the Gods This is like a Dungeons and Dragons party before there was D D wizard, fighter, musician, thief, and so on In the opening, we have a beautiful tale of Ancaeus at the Orange grove A self contained chapter that carried me back to Antediluvian times It changed my mental image of what society was like before the Greeks for the better This book plays an interesting part in the history of the Triple goddess, but its importance exceeds the scope of this review.
I read this in a U.
S edition entitled Hercules, My Shipmate issued in paperback As I recall now, four decades later, the novel begins with a woman raping a man and continues lustily throughout As a fourteen year old this was quite a new, and captivating, take on the Voyage of the Argonauts previously known to me through Edith Hamilton s The Greek Myths Now, of course, all the sex, none of it explicit, would probably seem quaintly amusing.
As in so many of his books, particularly the non fictional White Goddess, Graves was a twentieth century proponent of what might be called original matriarchy theory Unlike Bachofen, however, he did not fear so much as respect and desire the women Indeed, in his view, without them, without desire, no poetry, no culture.