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The Argonautika: The Story of Jason and the Quest for the Golden Fleece (Hellenistic Culture and Society) [Paperback]

Peter Green
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Argonautika (Hellenistic Culture and Society) Argonautika (Hellenistic Culture and Society) 4.0 out of 5 stars (1)
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Book Description

7 Nov 1997 Hellenistic Culture and Society
The "Argonautika," the only surviving epic of the Hellenistic era, is a retelling of the tale of Jason and the Golden Fleece, probably the oldest extant Greek myth. Jason, a young prince, is sent on a perilous expedition but comes through various ordeals with the aid of the king's daughter, Medeia, winning the golden fleece and carrying off Medeia herself. He is a very modern figure, not at all Achillean: almost an anti-hero. Along the way, the story incorporates vivid accounts of early exploration and colonizing ventures. Peter Green's lively, readable verse translation captures the swift narrative movement of Apollonios's epic Greek. Apollonios Rhodios (c. 305-235 B.C.), the author of the "Argonautika," was appointed Chief Librarian in the legendary library at Alexandria around 265 B.C. His first draft of this poem, composed when he was a very young man, drew scornful reactions from the literati of the day, Kallimachos in particular, who thought epic passe and long poems vulgar. Apollonios withdrew to the maritime island of Rhodes (his work is notable for its nautical expertise), where he hammered out the text as we know it today, returning to eventual success in the city that had rejected him. The compromise that resulted is a fascinating combination of age-old myth and modern treatment that produces a gripping and unforgettable narrative. Peter Green has translated this renowned poem with skill and wit, offering a refreshing interpretation of a timeless story. Alternate spelling: Argonautica, Apollonius Rhodius

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Product details

  • Paperback: 490 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; New edition edition (7 Nov 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520076877
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520076877
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.5 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,067,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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About the Author

Peter Green is Dougherty Centennial Professor of Classics at the University of Texas, Austin. His other books available from California include "Alexander to Actium: The Historical Evolution of the Hellenistic Age" (1990), "Alexander of Macedon, 356-323 B.C.: A Historical Biography" (1991), "The Laughter of Aphrodite: A Novel about Sappho of Lesbos" (1993), and "The Greco-Persian Wars" (1996).

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First Sentence
Starting from you, Phoibos, the deeds of those old-time mortals I shall relate, who by way of the Black Sea's mouth and through the cobalt-dark rocks, at King Pelias's commandment, in search of the Golden Fleece drove tight-thwarted Argo. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I liked it. The translation was well done and quite readable. I was surprised, however when I ran out of translation and hit the extensive commentary at the back. As I am not a scholar of Greek or Roman writings or mythology the depth of the commentary was generally too much for me. I would have preferred the split page method, where the text and commentary relevant to it appear on the same page. The glossary at the back was helpful to identify which god, goddess or hero was referred to. Some of them are obscure and some unfamiliar names and spellings are used in place of more familiar ones (Kirke = Circe for example).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Should be more widely read... 12 July 2000
By Paul Becker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Argonautika should be as widely read as the Iliad and the Odyssey (or for that matter the Aeneid). Before reading this particular version one should first study the structure of the work, completly discarding Green's Introduction to it, unless, of course, you happen to be a working classical scholar! The translation of Apollonios Argonautika is an excellent read, made much more understandable by the excellent Glossary, which provides background information on all the characters and gods mentioned in the epic, and on geographical locations as well. This glossary is either an excellent first source of information or as a refresher to what the reader might already know. Excellent maps detailing the route the Argonauts took are found in the back of the book. Although an excellent read, it's not one that should be done at a rapid pace! The bibliography makes no mention of Robert Graves narative work on Jason and the Golden Fleece, Hercules My Shipmate.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Softback Commentary? 11 Mar 2007
By YYT - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
i was shocked on aquiring the softback to discover that it was lacking the commentary, thus making the book semi-useless to me. and when i write 'shocked' i am being polite. the saving grace is that at least i got a good cheap copy of the poem in verse form.
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great translation with more commentary than you'll read. 23 Feb 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I liked it. The translation was well done and quite readable. I was surprised, however when I ran out of translation and hit the extensive commentary at the back. As I am not a scholar of Greek or Roman writings or mythology the depth of the commentary was generally too much for me. I would have preferred the split page method, where the text and commentary relevant to it appear on the same page. The glossary at the back was helpful to identify which god, goddess or hero was referred to. Some of them are obscure and some unfamiliar names and spellings are used in place of more familiar ones (Kirke = Circe for example).
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of Green's 'Argonautkia' 7 Mar 2010
By Ryan Mease - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I no longer doubt Green's skills as a classics editor. All of his seem a pleasure to read. The introduction to this translation is specially well-written, and that's to say nothing of the poem itself--a memorable experience. However, this translation does have one major snag. The book uses end notes instead of a footnotes (these are very extensive, I might add).
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding modern verse translation of Hellenistic classic 3 Dec 2013
By Bottle Imp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the only modern English verse translation of the ARGONAUTIKA in print and for that reason, if no other, deserves attention. Green's phrasing and pacing are admirable in his version of Apollonius' epic. His introduction is illuminating, though he seems a bit too inclined along the way to settle scores with academic rivals--an unfortunate tendency that mars an otherwise brilliant presentation of helpful background information. (I would also recommend Green's THE HELLENISTIC AGE.)
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