The Seizure of the Fleece

On the following day, Jason, with his allies at dawn, sailed their ship away, and the weather having become suitable, hastened with their oars to that place, in which Medea indicated the fleece to be hidden. After they had arrived at that place, Jason disembarked onto land, and with his allies left behind on the shore, to guard the ship, he himself made his with Medea into the woods. After having advanced a few miles through the forest, he saw the fleece which he sought hanging from a tree. To take it away, however, was extremely difficult; for not only had the place itself been exceptionally well fortified both by nature and by human skill, but also a certain dragon of horrible appearance was guarding the tree. Then Medea, who, as we demonstrated above, had a great knowledge of medicine, turned a branch, which she had torn down from the nearest tree, into a poison. After this was accomplished, she approached the place and sprinkled poison on the dragon, who was awaiting her arrival with open jaws; then, while the dragon, overcome with drowsiness, slept, Jason snatched the golden fleece from the tree, and returned on foot with Medea as quickly as possible.

Latin text

Vocabulary

  1. tempestatem idoneam nacti — the weather having become suuitable
  2. ad mare — prepositional phrase meaning “on the shore” or “at the seaside”
  3. sociis relictis (ablative absolute) — his allies having been left
  4. praesidio navi — double native, meaning, “to guard the ship”
  5. se contulit — made his way
  6. venenum, veneni — poison, venom
  7. faucibus apertis (ablative absolute) — with his jaws open
  8. pedem referre — to retrace one’s steps, to retreat, go back
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The Flight of Medea

King Aeetes, when he learned that Jason had completed his proposed task, was very angry; for he knew it to have been done through a trick; nor did he doubt that Medea had given him help. Since Medea knew she would be in great danger if she remained in the kingdom, she decided to seek safety in flight. Therefore, all things having been prepared for flight, in the middle of the night, without her father knowing, she escaped with her brother Absyrto, and as quickly as possible, to the place where the Argo was moored, she made her way. When she arrived at that place, she threw herself at the feet of Jason, and with many tears beseeched him that he not desert the woman, in such great danger, who had helped him so much. Since he remembered escaping from great danger through her help, he gladly received her, and after he learned the reason for her coming, urged that she should not fear her father’s anger. He promised that, as soon as possible, he would carry her away in his ship.

Latin text

Vocabulary

  1. ira graviter commotus est — he was very angry
  2. nec dubitat quin (+ subjunctive) — expression of doubt, “nor did he doubt but that….”
  3. insciente patre (ablative absolute) — without her father knowing
  4. ubi Argo subducta erat — where the Argo had been moored
  5. se proiecit — threw herself
  6. causam veniendi — cause of her coming, reason of her coming
  7. avecturum — he would take her away (abbreviated form of the infinitive, avecturum esse)
  8. hortatus est (deponent verb) — he urged

A Strange Crop

Still, Jason had not yet completed the whole task; for Aeetes had commanded him to kill the armed men who emerged from dragon’s teeth alone. Therefore, after all the teeth were sown in the field, Jason, worn out with tiredness, gave himself over to rest, while those men were emerging. He slept a few hours, towards evening, yet suddenly, roused from sleep, he learned that it had happened just as had been foretold; for in all parts of the field, men with huge bodies, armed with swords and helmets, rose from the land in a marvelous way. After realizing this, Jason judged that the plan which Medea had given should not be so ignored. Therefore he hurled a huge stone (for so Medea had ordered) in the middle of the men. Those men, from everywhere, ran together to the same place, and after someone, I do not know why, wanted to have the stone to himself, a huge controversy emerged. Soon, having unsheathed their swords, they began to fight among each other, and after many were killed in this way, the remaining soldiers having been wounded were killed by Jason without trouble.

Latin text

Vocabulary

  1. nondum — not yet
  2. quieti se tradidit — gave himself over to sleep
  3. sub vesperum — towards evening

The Sowing of the Dragon’s Teeth

When that day came which the king proclaimed for the purpose of plowing the field, Jason, at dawn, went with his allies to the decided upon place. There he discovered a huge stable, in which the bulls were enclosed; then, when the gates were opened, he dragged the bulls into the light, and with great difficulty, put on a yoke. But after Aeetes saw that the bulls were not affecting Jason, he was greatly amazed; for he did not know that his daughter had helped him. Then Jason, with everyone looking on, began to plow the field, in which affair he displayed such diligence that he completed the entire task before noon. After this was accomplished, he went to the place where the king resided and asked for the dragon’s teeth; which, when received, he sowed in the field which he had plowed with great diligence. Now the nature of these teeth was such that, in the place where they were sown, in such a marvelous way, armed men were born.

Latin text

Vocabulary

  1. ablative absolute — abl. of participle + abl. of noun/pronoun
  2. omnibus apiscentibus (abl. absolute) — with everyone looking on
  3. orta luce — at dawn
  4. nihil valere — in no way affecting

The Magic Ointment

Medea, the daughter of the king, fell in love with Jason, and when she heard that he was about to undertake such a danger, she took it badly. For she knew her father proposed this task with the very intention, that Jason should die. As this was so, Medea, who had a great knowledge of medicine, adopted this plan. In the middle of the night, without her father knowing, she escaped from the city, and after she came into the neighboring mountains, she picked certain herbs; then having squeezed the juice she made an ointment which with its strength might nourish the body and strengthen the sinews. After this was done, she gave the ointment to Jason; and she ordered that on the day when these tasks needed to be completed he should smear his body and his weapons. Jason, although he excelled almost all men in size and bodily strength (for all his life was spent in hunting and the pursuit of military affairs), still he thought this advice should not be ignored.

Latin text

Vocabulary

  1. insciente patre — without her father knowing
  2. unguentum — ointment
  3. praecepit — ordered
  4. carpo, carpere, carpsi, carptum — pluck, pick; seize

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

Vocabulary

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

The Symplegades

When this had been accomplished, Phineus, in return for such great kindness, explained to Jason in what way he could avoid the Symplegades. The Symplegades were two rocks of enormous size, which were placed by Jove for this purpose, that no one could arrive at Colchis. These were floating close together in the sea, and whenever anything came into the space in the middle, they crashed together with incredible speed. Therefore, after it was explained by Phineus what must be done, Jason, having weighed anchor, set sail, and carried forward by a gentle wind they soon approached the Symplegades. Then, standing in the prow, he let go of a dove that he was holding in his hand. The dove flew straight through the middle , and before the cliffs dashed together, it escaped unharmed with only its tail missing. Then the cliffs on both sides moved apart; and before they could again rush together, the Argonauts, knowing well that all hope of safety was to be placed in speed, rowed with the utmost effort and brought the ship through unharmed. Having done this, they gave great thanks to the gods, by whose help they were rescued from such danger; for they all knew that without the help of the gods the affair would not have turned out so happily.

Vocabulary

  1. hoc facto — (ablative absolute) when this had been accomplished
  2. ablative absolute – consists of noun/pronoun + participle
  3. faciendum esset — gerundive / passive periphrastic

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