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n. fleece of gold recovered by the Argonauts from a dragon-guarded grove (Greek Mythology)
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In Greek mythology, the Golden Fleece (; Georgian: ოქროს საწმისი) is the fleece of the gold-hair winged ram, which can be procured in Colchis. It figures in the tale of Jason and his band of Argonauts, who set out on a quest by order of King Pelias for the fleece in order to place Jason rightfully on the throne of Iolcus in Thessaly. The story is of great antiquity – it was current in the time of Homer (eighth century BC) – and, consequently, it survives in various forms, among which details vary. Thus, in later versions of the story, the ram is said to have been the offspring of the sea god Poseidon and Themisto (less often, Nephele or Theophane). The classic telling is the Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes, composed in mid-third century BC Alexandria, recasting early sources that have not survived. Another, much less-known Argonautica, using the same body of myth, was composed in Latin by Valerius Flaccus during the time of Vespasian.
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1. in Greek mythology, a fleece of gold owned by the king of Colchis and guarded in a sacred grove by a dragon; recovered by Jason and the Argonauts
(hypernym) sheepskin, fleece
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Golden Fleece, Order of the
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[Greek heroic] The Golden Fleece was the treasure sought by Jason and the Argonauts. It originated in the following fashion. Phrixus and Helle were the children of Athamus and the goddess Nephele. When Athamas remarried, the children's stepmother, Ino, became jealous of them and plotted to get rid of them. She arranged to have seed-corn roasted so that it would not sprout. When the crop failed, messengers were sent to consult the oracle at Delphi, and Ino persuaded the messengers to say that that the oracle required the sacrifice of Phrixus to restore fertility to the fields. Before Phrixus could be sacrificed, however, Nephele sent a golden ram which carried both children off through the air. Helle fell into the Hellespont (which was named after her), but Phrixus arrived safely at Colchis, where he married the daughter of King Aeetes. Phrixus sacrificed the ram to Zeus, and gave its pelt (the Golden Fleece) to Aeetes. Aeetes placed the fleece in an oak tree, where it remained until Jason arrived t...
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