Mythology Monday: The Argonauts Encounter Hungry Harpies

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Jason and crew’s next stop was still in the gulf of Propontis, only this stop landed them in hot water (what a change!) when a hothead of a king named Amycus demanded a boxing match with their strongest fighter. Pollux steps up and wins the fight. The King’s people attack and the Argonauts fight them off, escaping with a random surplus of sheep.

The Argonauts destination was an island called Colchis, but they found their way blocked by clashing rocks called the Symplegades. Unable to find a way around, they stopped in Thrace where they met a king named Phineus. Phineus was a prophet who gave away the gods secrets. (Percy Jackson fans will recognize this myth.) As punishment, Phineus had been cursed by Zeus to be old, frail, blind, and followed by Harpies that would steal his food before he could get it in his mouth. Phineus was thrilled to see the Argonauts because his foresight told him they were going to release him from his curse. The Argonauts hesitated, unwilling to anger the gods, but Phineus assured them their fate was already written. He’d seen them help, so they were going to help, otherwise they’d never get past the rocks. Jason either killed the Harpies, or two of his Argonauts (Phineus’ brother in laws in fact, and children of Boreas) chased them away. Either way it happened, the trap is the same. Phineus sits down to eat a meal and the Harpies swooped down to get the food. When they swooped down, the Argonauts sprang and either chased them away or cut them down.

As a thank you, Phineus told them how they could get through the clashing rocks and get to Colchis. Kind of. In the same way I could walk up to some random pregnant woman on the street and tell her she’s having a girl. There’s a good chance I’d be right. And just as much of one that I’m not. Phineas told Jason to release a dove when they approached the clashing rocks and if the dove made it through, to row with all their might. If the dove was crushed, he was doomed to fail.

Lucky for the dove it made it through, losing only a few tail feathers. So they rowed fast and The Argo made it through with minimal damage. The clashing rocks got stuck together and now everyone can get by them.

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2 thoughts on “Mythology Monday: The Argonauts Encounter Hungry Harpies

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

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