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The Voyage of Argo (Classics)
 
 

The Voyage of Argo (Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Apollonius Rhodes , E. V. Rieu
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Written in the third century BC in Alexandria, this is the only full surviving account of Jason's legendary quest for the Golden Fleece. It describes the thrilling adventures of the Argonauts on their voyage to Colchis to plead with king Aeetes for the fleece, his greatest treasure - and the Eros-inspired passion felt by his daughter, the beautiful witch-princess Medea, for the scheming Jason. Chronicling a journey that sees Jason and his crew traverse perilous seas, negotiate the treacherous Cyanean Rocks, and confront the lure of the Sirens' song, The Voyage of Argo is a masterful depiction of distinctly human heroism and betrayal caused by love. An eloquent marriage of romance and realism, it tells the definitive version of one of the greatest legends of the classical age: an epic tale of bravery, prophecy and magic.

About the Author

Apollonius of Rhodes developed the classical traditions of the Homeric epic, expanding them to include a flair for romance and psychological insight which were entirely his own. He published his first version of the Argonautica sometime in the middle of the third century B.C. but was met with derision and prepared a second and probably shorter version. This was so well received by the Rhodians that he was honoured with their franchise and for some years lived on that island. Later he returned to Alexandria to find his work now held in high esteem. At the end of his life he was Director of the famous library of Alexandria.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 930 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Impression edition (30 Mar 2006)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI9LA8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #163,981 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Voyage of Argo, (trans. E.V. Rieu) 23 April 2003
By Michael JR Jose VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
The ancient Greek story, 'The Voyage of Argo - the Argonautica', also known as 'Jason and the Argonauts' is generally best known as a classic '60's film. The Apollonius' version was very popular in its day, the middle of the third century BC. This is the Penguin Classic translation by E.V. Rieu (1959), and it is still a good read. The unfamiliar ancient Greek names need not put you off - there is a handy glossary for the obscure names of the heroes and gods that populate the pages.
This makes a good book for English assignments as the story makes a short novel in four 'books' or sections, full of the dangers of a sea voyage from Greece to the far east of the Black Sea, which was the ends of the earth to the Greeks in ages past. (Anyone in a serious hurry to just get the good bits can speed through the first and fourth sections, with my apologies to Apollonius.) The intrepid Jason and his crew are sailors who are part buccaneers, part questing heroes in search of fame, fortune, and adventure. They are set the task of obtaining the famed Golden Fleece by a Greek king who wants to permanently rid himself of the dangerously ambitious Jason and his powerful allies, who include the superhuman Hercules, and the twin sons of Boreas the North Wind, who have the power of flight. With natural cunning, the powerful aid of prophets, the magical music of Orpheus, and the good favour gained by skilful diplomacy they seemingly must succeed. But of course the seers never tell the whole story, there are as many enemies as friends, and the kings of the lands they must travel through are descended from the gods too. Jason himself has no magic, but he is bold and resolute, and gains the favour of many of the gods who know how to tip things in his favour.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jason, Medea and the Golden Fleece 26 July 2006
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Self-consciously inspired by Homer and the other epic poets, Appollonius has created a very different sort of poem, where Jason, far from being a 'hero' needs his Argonauts to survive. The real hero/heroine is Medea, the Colchian princess who works her magic to give him the fleece after falling in love with him. For Medea alone, this book is worth the price, especially given her earlier incarnation in Euripides and her later one in Ovid. Called one of the earliest descriptions of love at first sight, this Medea is human, powerful and vulnerable all at once.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic 5 Oct 2013
By JdC
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Inspired by watching |Michael Wood's ;Myths and Heroes'. Great to go back to source material in a readable and classic translation.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Jason, Medea and the golden fleece 12 July 2012
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
Self-consciously inspired by Homer and the other epic poets, Appollonius has created a very different sort of poem, where Jason, far from being a 'hero' needs his Argonauts to survive. The real hero/heroine here is Medea, the Colchian princess who works her magic to give him the fleece after falling in love with him.

For Medea alone, this book is worth the price, especially given her earlier incarnation in Euripides and her later one in Ovid. Called one of the earliest descriptions of love at first sight, this Medea is human, powerful and vulnerable all at once.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ian Myles Slater on: Jason the Almost-Hero 20 Jan 2005
By Ian M. Slater - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Homer mentioned the voyage of the Argo as a well-known story, and bits and pieces appear in surviving Greek lyrics and dramas of the Classical period. Jason's later life with Medea is a well-known subject of tragedy. Our oldest comprehensive account of the journey, however, comes from Hellenistic times, in a work by Apollonius, at one time associated with the Library of Alexandria, commonly known as "of Rhodes," supposedly from his favorable reception by the islanders.

The Jason of this version, from the third century BC, is a good deal less than an Homeric hero, overshadowed both by his companions (and who would not seem inadequate beside Hercules?) and by the goddesses who intervene on his behalf. He is not unattractive -- indeed, some may find him more appealing than the all-competent heroes of other epics. He has emotions one can recognize, including fear and despair. Still, one can see him later being both callous enough and stupid enough to dump the witch-princess of Colchis for a "better" (socially acceptable and politically advantageous) marriage in Greece.

That was the tragic plot which Apollonius avoids, but it was well-known in his day, and which has survived to our own in Euripides' version. He certainly had it in mind, and knew that those who read, or more likely heard the reading of, his epic, would as well. (Seneca's Latin tragedy "Medea," and Ovid's treatment of the character, of great importance in later European views of the story, were still in the future.)

This prose translation, first published in 1959 and reissued with some revisions and new apparatus in 1971, was the first new English version since 1912 (the Loeb Classical Library bilingual edition), and remained the only popular version for several decades. It has since been joined by others, in verse as well as prose. They represent more recent scholarship in both the Greek text and critical views of the poet and the epic. Two of them, at least, are considerably more ambitious as works of art. Barbara Hughes Fowler's "Hellenistic Poetry: An Anthology" not only contains the complete epic, but much of its cultural context. The hardcover edition of Peter Green's "The Argonautika: The Story of Jason and the Quest for the Golden Fleece" contained extensive commentary (abridged in the paperback edition). These are both in verse. There is also a prose version by Richard L. Hunter, "Jason and the Golden Fleece," published in the Oxford World's Classics.

Can the good old Penguin Classics standby still compete?

For those looking for high poetry, or for elaborate notes, or sophisticated critical positions, probably not. But, despite the comments of at least one competitor, Rieu's treatment is not without its merits. Although Rieu's English is now a little antiquated, it remains readable. His English version is helped as well as hindered by a tendency to reduce the relatively ornate style of a learned Alexandrian poet to something more approachable to an *intelligent* school-boy ("school-boy" being the critic's reproach). It is still a good place to begin, and for those who are simply curious about Jason's adventures, it may be the best place. Once convinced of its charms, the reader may be encouraged to try a more poetic version, and discover that Apollonius was more than an engaging storyteller with a modern taste for the anti-heroic.

Of course, I tend to favor a book that enchanted me when I read it in 1968.

(Reposted from my "anonymous" review of June 27, 2003.)
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Voyage of Argo (trans. E.V. Rieu) 17 Mar 2003
By Michael JR Jose - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The ancient Greek story, 'The Voyage of Argo - the Argonautica', also known as 'Jason and the Argonauts' is generally best known as a classic '60's film. The Apollonius' version was very popular in its day, the middle of the third century BC. This is the Penguin Classic translation by E.V. Rieu (1959), and it still reads well. There is a handy glossary for the obscure names of the heroes and gods that populate the pages.
This makes a good book for high school assignments as the story makes a short novel in four 'books' or sections, full of the dangers of a sea voyage from Greece to the far east of the Black Sea, which was the ends of the earth to the Greeks in ages past. (Anyone in a serious hurry to just get the good bits can speed through the first and fourth sections, with my apologies to Apollonius.) The intrepid Jason and his crew are sailors who are part buccaneers, part questing heroes in search of fame, fortune, and adventure. They are set the task of obtaining the famed Golden Fleece by a Greek king who wants to permanently rid himself of the dangerously ambitious Jason and his powerful allies, who include the superhuman Hercules, and the twin sons of Boreas the North Wind, who have the power of flight. With natural cunning, the powerful aid of prophets, the magical music of Orpheus, and the good favour gained by skilful diplomacy they seemingly must succeed. But of course the seers never tell the whole story, there are as many enemies as friends, and the kings of the lands they must travel through are descended from the gods too. Jason himself has no magic, but he is bold and resolute, and gains the favour of many of the gods who know how to tip things in his favour. Some of the scenes are genuinely frightening, so all considered, the story does not make good bedtime reading.
The dangers of the Clashing Rocks, the horror of the flying Harpies, the lure of the Sirens, dragons and deadly snakes, and the sometimes brutal and unpredictable inhabitants of distant lands and islands, and the hand of Fate all take their toll on the Argonauts. But Jason's charm and charmed life always seem equal to the tasks he is set, and the description of princess Medea falling in love with him (with a small help from the winged arrows of the boy Eros), is the archetype for love stories of next two thousand years. Although he could never have succeeded without the beautiful Medea, who is destined to become his wife, neither Jason or Medea can forsee their own future or escape without paying the price of guilt and shame for their deeds which often succeed by deception and foul means.
Although not such a genius as Homer, Apollonius is clearly a product of that developmental line, and he tells a good story well. He is often quite modern in his knowing asides to the Muses, who inspire all poetry and art, then as now.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sea of Troubles.... 5 Jun 2003
By B. Morse - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Voyage of Argo is the second E.V. Rieu translation from epic poem to prose work of Ancient Greek literature that I have indulged in. The story laid out here is the quest for and return from obtaining the Golden Fleece by Jason and the 'Argonauts' as his traveling companions come to be known.
Each of the four 'books' of this crafting of Apollonius's tale relates the various trials, dangers, deceptions, victories, and defeats of the crew of the Argo.
Book one, 'Preparation and Departure' was, for me, the hardest to digest. The first several pages, following a lengthy introduction, read merely like a passenger manifest. Many are named, some easily recognizable from other tales of Ancient Greece. The crew sails off on their quest, led by Jason, son of Aeson, with Heracles (Hercules) as part of their company. By the end of book one, the disappearence of one of the crew, Hylas, sends Heracles off on a quest of his own, to find Hylas' abductors and punish them.
Book two, 'Onward to Colchis', finds the crew of the Argo in battle with the Bebryces, drawing the attention of Athene, who allows the ship to pass safely through the treacherous Clashing Rocks, and the loss of other crew members along the way. Jason and company find their way to Colchis and land there, with the divine influence of the Gods.
Book three, 'Jason and Medea', centers on the famed love story of the two title characters. Medea, struck by an arrow from Eros, falls in love with Jason, and becomes his greatest ally, as she is the daughter of King Aeetes, the man who knows the location of the Golden Fleece Jason and his crew seek. Aeetes, finding the company of the Argo to be brash and treacherous, proposes a test of their fortitude, and should they survive the flaming bulls and sharp toothed serpent, and obtain the fleece, they will have proven themselves worthy. Medea, desperate to help her beloved, contrives a plot of her own to aid Jason, and win his heart.
Book four, 'Homeward Bound' tells of the dangers Jason and crew once again face on the open seas as they journey home. Medea in tow, Jason must choose between his love for her and the lives of his crew as Aeetes sets out to destroy them and bring Medea back home to him.
A thrilling tale of bravery and cunning, The Voyage of Argo ranks with the Odyssey in terms of excitement and content. While reading this, and the notes that accompany the text naming this surviving version of the tale as a possibly 'revised second edition' of the actual story, I am left to wonder if perhaps the 'divine influence' of Athene and Here (Hera), and even Zeus himself, are not offered as simple explanation for events that seemed miraculous to the author. The story flows along easily and while it does not suffer from the 'interference' of the Gods, it is not exactly amplified by it either.
Whatever the case, The Voyage of Argo is a thrilling read. It is easy to see why it has spawned many fictional accounts, as it is an adventure tale ripe for the picking, and needs very little 'inventiveness' to augment it to a full-fledged fictional thriller.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good relation of the quest of the Golden Fleece. 11 April 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
215 pages long. This is the only complete tale of Jason and the Argonauts quest for the Golden Fleece. The story is certainly a classic through curiously not as widely read as Homer. Especially since this work is shorter and easier to read than the Illiad and Odyssey, yet also provides a good prelude to these epics too.
My only prior knowledge of the story was the 1963 movie, which has the flavor of a jaunty adventure, compared to
the more dramatic strains of this particular telling. I was most impressed by the map that shows the most likely route
given the details of the story (although other known versions can differ quite dramatically sometimes). The book also
contains a Glossary of names that came in useful. This is a very good book that places you in the middle of greek
thought and legend.
18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not a pleasing translation 18 April 2005
By Mark Hadley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This epic is often talked up as some kind of ancient thriller, a there-and-back-again from the 1st Century B.C. However, even a casual read will reveal the problematic nature of an assessment of this nature. The poem is in reality a subtle and complex study of the nature of Greek epic. Apollonius is not simply writing an adventure story, the story was common knowledge then and there were multiple versions people could turn to. Apollonius, the scholar is meditating upon epic and its place in a modern world. The text is incredibly ambiguous and can reveal millions of alternate readings. Apollonius needs to be read again and again, often in the context of earlier epic works. You cannot fully understand Apollonius without Homer. On the surface it is an adventure story, but with no real hero, no real ending and with often no real motives.

A good translation by someone who understands the text is a must. Unfortunately I don't think that Rieu is up to the task. Only recently has Apollonius become a viable subject for study, and I think that Rieu's translation is out of date. By trying to turn Apollonius' text into an exciting adventure like his Odyssey, Rieu skips over textual ambiguities that imbue the text with more meaning. He even mistranslates the opening sentence and ruins its effect. Anyone looking for Apollonius is best advised to turn to Hunter's superb translation in Oxford Worlds Classics, it's modern, up to date and accurate.
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