Iolkos is the name of an ancient city built in the eastern part of Thessaly in Greece; Magnesia.A� It incorporated all the lands around the Pagasitic Gulf as well as Mount Pelion. In our times the city of Volos is located very close to where once stood the ancient Iolkos parts of which have been excavated in recent years.
Greeks believed in their 12 gods and goddesses, to whom they offered their respect and sacrifices.A� In turn, the gods protected them and their polis from all lifea��s trouble. The goddess Athena was, for instance, the protector of Athens.
According to ancient Greek mythology, Aeson was the rightful king of Iolkos, but his half-brother Pelias killed the king and seized the throne. Aeson’s son Jason survived the malice of his half uncle and found refuge on Mount Pelion under the protection and guidance of greatest teacher of those times, the Chiron Centaur. In ancient Greek mythologyA�Mount Pelion was the home of all the Centaurs.
When Jason came of age to claim his fathera��s throne, he descended from the mountain on his way to the palace of Pelias, who was not aware of his existence. However, Pelias had been told by the oracle to a�?Beware of a stranger who wears but a single sandala�?.
Just before arriving at the palace, and while Jason had to cross a river he met an old crone, who asked him to help her cross the river. Jason did not think twice. He took the a�?cronea�? on his back, and set off into the current. The old woman, of course, was none other than goddess Hera herself, the wife of the father of all the ancient gods. Hera was so pleased with Jasona��s good deed, that she became his protector thereafter. As Jason was crossing the river in the strong current he lost one of his sandals and had to walk into Iolkos with one sandal only, which was the reason why he was named a�?Jason the monosandalosa�?. When Jason arrived at the palace, he asserted his claim to the throne. However, his uncle Pelias had no intention of giving it up, particularly to a one-shoed stranger.
Pelias pretended to be ready to accept Jasona��s claim to the throne, providing that the young king would be capable of reclaiming and bringing back the Golden Fleece. The devious king Pelias knew that this was an impossible pursuit and that Jason would probably perish in his effort to achieve the deed.
Jason then started to prepare for the long and dangerous voyage. He built a ship, the famous Argo, named after Argus the best shipbuilder of antiquity. Argo set sail from Iolkos with a crew of fifty demigods and princes, amongst them some of the most famous ancient heroes, such as Hercules, Theseus and Argus the builder himself.
Jasona��s mission was to reach Colhis, which was at the eastern seaboard of the Black Sea, where today is the state of Georgia, and reclaim and bring back the Golden Fleece. Mythology says that Jason and the Argonauts were successful in their pursuit, and although they suffered many hardships they eventually returned and claimed the Iolkos throne.
Along with the Golden Fleece, Jason brought a wife, the sorceress Medea, the daughter of king Aeetes. She is a tragic figure whose trials and tribulations were artfully dramatized by the famous playwright of antiquity Euripides in the theatrical play Medea, which has been staged all over the world.