Mythology Monday: Meet the Argonauts, Philoctetes edition


Jason wasn’t foolish enough to go after the Golden Fleece alone, in fact, he brought pretty much every big-name hero of the time with him. The argonauts included Hercules, Boreas’s kids (hint, hint, this might be important in the next trilogy), Philoctetes, Telamon, Orpheus (SUPER hint hint), Castor and Pollux, Atalanta and Euphemus.

We’ve talked about Hercules and Orpheus in depth in other mythology Mondays, and there’s not much to know about the Boreads (children of Boreas), other than the fact that they can fly, that won’t be covered in the trip. They didn’t even get individual names. And many of the other 50 sailors accompanying Jason change depending on the source, but there were quite a few notable Argonauts. And I’d like to give them all a Mythology Monday.

So let’s talk about Phil. He was a young prince who was very good at archery. Also, he was human. His dad was actually the one recruited for the trip because he was also a legendary archer, but Phil tagged along and became famous. He and Hercules became special friends. Phil (or sometimes his father) actually lit the funeral pyre for Herc when he died, but then Herc became a god they all lived happily ever after. Except that this is Greek mythology, and no one gets to live, or be happy for very long. Herc moved on to Mount Olympus, but he did give Phil his bow and arrows.

Later Phil competed for the hand of Helen of Troy, but obviously he lost. However by throwing his hat in the ring, he pledged loyalty to whoever won. So when she was taken to Troy, he had to help attack it.

Well, bless his heart, he tried, but he ended up getting lost en route to Troy, and somehow hurt his foot, possibly by Hera sending a snake to bite him, possibly by Apollo sending a snake to bite him, possibly by Hercules’ ashes infecting his foot for beytraying their location (long story), or by an angry nymph, or possibly by a random snake. The wound festered and smelled and because the wound delayed his arrival to Troy, the Greeks exiled him on the island until they realized they couldn’t win without Herc’s bows and arrows, and guess who had them? They thought about just stealing the bow and arrows from Phil, then the newly deified Hercules came down from Mount Olympus to tell them in no uncertain terms that he did NOT approve of that idea, so they healed Phil’s foot and brought Phil AND the weapons back to fight Troy.

Well Phil was just the second wind the Greeks needed to turn the tide of the battle. Phil fought Paris, Prince of Troy, in single combats and in some accounts he was the one who killed him. He also hid in the Trojan horse and slaughtered many a Trojan.

One thought on “Mythology Monday: Meet the Argonauts, Philoctetes edition

  1. Pingback: Jason and the Argonauts Master Post | Kaitlin Bevis

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