Mythic Heroes – ‘cluster’
•Miraculous birth, early threats
•Disinheritance and/or powerful
•Quest(s) – impossible tasks requiring
strength and courage
•Helpers – often divine
•Inability to handle women
•Difficulty controlling passions
Ovid’s transitions up to the Calydonian Boar
• Pandion died and Erectheus became king of Athens. One
daughter was taken by Boreas (North Wind) who had sons
Zetes & Calais who had wings and sailed with Jason.
Erectheus’ second daughter, Procris, married Cephalus of
• Jason and Medea – voyage of the Argonauts
• Medea flees to Athens
• Theseus in Athens– Athens at war with Crete
• Athens’ alliance with Aegina, nearby island
*Story of plague on Aegina and ‘Ant-people’ (Myrmidons)
*Story of Cephalus’ javelin and Laelaps the hunting hound –
Cephalus and his wife, Procris
Minos, King of Crete, at war with Nisus
Minos and Daedalus, who escaped with Icarus from Crete
Theseus’ help sought in Calydon against boar
Calydonian boar and Meleager
Origin of Golden Fleece
• Boeotian king, Athamas, married “Nephele” (Cloud)
Two children – Helle and Phrixus
• 2nd wife, Ino, plotted against first children and
arranged they should be sacrificed to end drought
• Helle & Phrixus escaped on back of flying Golden
• Helle fell off in what came to be the Hellespont
• Phrixus arrived in Colchis, sacrificed the ram, and
gave the fleece to Aeetes, King of Colchis and father
King of Iolcus (inThessaly) died.
• He had two sons – Pelias (stepson) and Aeson
• Pelias took throne
• Aeson sent his son, Jason, to Chiron,the centaur, for
rearing and safekeeping
• Pelias was warned to beware of
stranger with one sandal
• Jason, grown, came to Iolcus
and met Juno on the way, losing
• Pelias arranged to send Jason
After golden fleece.
• Ship was built by a craftsman named Argos, using
beam from oak of Jupiter at Dodona. Ship named
• Heroes of the day joined the crew: Orpheus,
Heracles, Castor & Polydeuces (sons of Jupiter),
Zetes & Calais (sons of Boreas, the North Wind)
• Stops – Lemnos (women), Cios (Hylas lost),
Thrace (Phineus & Harpies), Clashing Rocks—on
way to far end of Black Sea
Voyage of the Argonauts from Iolcus to Colchis and back
(the long way around)
Jason and his men.
Aeetes, King of Colchis
• Gave Jason two tasks:
(1) yoke the bronze-hooved, fire-breathing bull
and (2) plow a field and sow dragon’s teeth
• Medea, a witch and daughter of the king, feel in
love with Jason and helped him with every task
using her magic and knowledge of herbs.
• Jason also had to lull to sleep the dragon that
guarded the fleece
Jason fighting the men grown from dragon’s teeth.
Jason after the gold fleece – Minerva as helper
Jason using a charm against the dragon that guarded the fleece.
Medea provided a sleeping potion for the dragon.
Jason & Medea escaped with the
• Returning to Iolcus, Medea killed King Pelias
• Jason and Medea fled to Corinth, where Jason
married the daughter of the King of Corinth
• Medea, angry, killed her sons by Jason and fled to
• Medea was taken in by the King of Athens,
Aegeus, and had one son by him, Medus.
Theseus, hero of Athens
• Son of Aegeus (or Poseidon?) by
Aethra, who lived in the northern
• When Theseus was grown, he lifted a
stone to find the sandals and sword left
by his father
• He made his way to Athens, competing
6 heroic deeds along the route
(defeating Periphetes, Sinis, Sow,
Sciron, Cercyon, and Procrustes) and
making his reputation
Theseus lifting rock.
Theseus’ journey from Troezen, where his mother, Aethra, was
princess, to Athens to claim his birthright from his father, Aegeus,
King of Athens. There were six events on the trip.
Theseus defeating Periphetes
with his club
Theseus and man-eating sow
Theseus tying Sinis to his own tree
Theseus defeating Sciron by
throwing him off a cliff
Theseus fitting Procrustes to his bed
Theseus wrestling Cercyron
When Theseus came to Athens
• Medea attempted to poison him, but failed
• Medea and her son fled to Asia
• Theseus was accepted as the heir to King
• Killed the Minotaur, monster of Crete, to
whom Athenian youths and maidens were
sacrificed as tribute to Minos
• Theseus was helped by Ariadne, Minos’
• In their flight from Crete, he left her on an
island where she was found by Bacchus,
who married her
Theseus meets his
father, Aegeus, King
Theseus and Minotaur in the Labyrinth – Theseus and Ariadne in foreground
In war between Crete and Athens, both sought the island of Aegina
as an ally.
Stories Told on Aegina
• Aeacus, King of Aegina, tells about the
plague and the Myrmidons (Ant-people)
• Cephalus, the Athenian, tells about his wife,
Procris, daughter of Erectheus, King of
Athens, and her fate at his hands.
Illustration of plague on Aegina
Aegina repopulated by ants (Myrmidons)
Cephalus approached by Aurora (goddess of Dawn – Eos to
Greeks) who loves him. He refuses to give up his wife, Procris.
Reunion of Cephalus and his wife, Procris, who gives him the divine
javelin and special hunting dog, Laelaps, gifts to her from Diana.
Cephalus and Procris reunited by Diana.