A Heavy Task

In a short space of time, the Argonauts came to the river Phasis, which was in the territory of the Colchians. There, after they had moored their ship and disembarked on land, they made their way to king Aeetes at once, and asked him to hand over to them the golden fleece. After he had heard why the Argonauts had come, he was stirred to anger, and for a long time refused to hand over the fleece to them. At length, however, since he knew that Jason had not undertaken this business without the help of the gods, having changed his mind he promised he would hand over the fleece to them, if Jason would first complete two very difficult tasks; and after Jason said he was prepared to suffer all dangers, he explained what he wanted to be done. First, two bulls of horrible appearance, which breathed fire from their mouths, needed to be joined together; then, when these were yoked, a certain field had to be plowed and dragon’s teeth had to be sown. When he had heard this, Jason, although he knew the task to be of great danger, yet, lest he lose this opportunity of accomplishing this mission, undertook the business.

Latin text


  1. brevi intermisso spatio — in a short space of time
  2. iungendi erant (passive periphrastic) — needed to be joined together

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