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Jason and the Golden Fleece (The Argonautica) (Oxford Worlds Classics) by [Apollonius of Rhodes]
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Jason and the Golden Fleece (The Argonautica) (Oxford Worlds Classics) 1st , Kindle Edition

3.2 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product description

Review

Based on a deep understanding of the text, this translation, with informative notes and an excellent introduction, will bring Apollonius to the audience he deserves. (TLS)

About the Author

Richard Hunter is a Fellow of Pembroke College, and University Lecturer in Classics at the University of Cambridge.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1246 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0192835831
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; 1 edition (26 Feb. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A7LNJAK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #434,292 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Nicholas Casley TOP 500 REVIEWER on 4 July 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a review of the Oxford World Classics edition of 1998, originally published in 1993. It has been translated and edited by Richard Hunter.

As usual with classic texts, I disregarded Hunter's introduction, vowing to read it after I had read Apollonius's words first. Instead, I went straight to the three maps supplied and was straightaway surprised. For someone like me who comes to the work after having watched avidly as a child (and many times thereafter as an adult) the Harryhausen movie of 1963, I was curious and intrigued to see the maps depicting Jason's return journey from Colchis by a roundabout route via the Danube, Croatia, Lombardy, Provence, Corfu, Libya, and Crete.

"The `Argonautica' is a difficult poem" is Hunter's opening and daunting remark in his preface, perhaps referring to his translation rather than problems for the reader. He continues, "Nevertheless, its importance within ancient literary history is not in doubt, even for those who do not actually like it."

First of all, the prospective reader should be assured that the text is presented in prose form. The first eight pages are indeed, not `difficult' as such, but a chore, a listing of names, ancestry, place of origin, and claim to fame. I'm not sure that the content of Hunter's endnotes makes matters easier for the reader. (Indeed, since there are quite a number of notes per page - seven on the first alone - footnotes would have been better.)

But after sailing, the text of the journey starts to flows in a jerking rhythm. Soon we arrive at Lemnos, where all the women have murdered the males - husbands, fathers, and sons - and now seek to `combine' with the Argonauts to repopulate their society. Hardly Hollywood material!
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Format: Kindle Edition
This review relates to the Kindle version of Jason and the Golden Fleece: I say this in case anyone is unaware of Amazon's bad habit of aggregating the reviews for all versions of a book, and sometimes for different translations. This is unhelpful if you are interested in finding the best translation or in how well a book has been digitised for Kindle. This particular case is more serious, as it specifically claims to be the Oxford World's Classics version translated by Richard Hunter, but it is NOT. Neither the translator nor OUP are mentioned, the introduction is quite different, and judging by the content it is a very much older translation, probably out of copyright. I realised in time to have it removed for a refund, but buyer beware! It appears that the real Oxford World's Classics version is not available on Kindle.
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Format: Paperback
Alas, this is not a patch on Homer’s Odyssey.
Yes there’s a nice simile in Book Three describing Medea’s pangs of love for Jason – “As when a sunbeam, which is reflected out of water that has just been poured into a bowl or a bucket, dances inside a house and darts this way and that as it is shaken in the rapid swirl, so did the young girl’s heart quiver in her breast” the love affair and the harnessing of the bulls are the highlights of the work.
But with the exception of Book Three, the rest of it is otherwise rather dull. Jason is also not the most courageous and resourceful of heroes. And when it came to the episode of the Harpies and Phineus, I yearned for the film version where those winged creatures are captured using a large net.
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Format: Paperback
Written in the C3rd BCE Apollonius' Argonautica revisits and revises Homeric epic and takes a cynical look at the concept of heroism. Here Jason is frequently at a loss, only manages the heroic task through a combination of magic and Medea, and ends up murdering a pursuer - a far cry from either the warlike Achilles or the resourceful Odysseus of epic past.

While being immensely-literarily learned (as is the case with other Hellenistic literature) this is still a good read: full of wonders, magic, adventures and exotic set pieces. But a sense of both past versions of these stories (Euripides' Medea, and his Andromache for the future of the marriage between Peleus and Thetis) as well as future texts which deliberately recall Apollonius (Catullus' c.64, Vergil's Aeneid for another version of the epic hero in Aeneas, and even another Medea in Dido) contextualise this text far better than reading it in isolation.

But even if you're not interested in its literary place, it's still a great mythic tale, well told.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book out of curiosity after having been a big fan of the Ray Harryhausen 'Jaon and the Argonauts' movie for many years. It's surprisingly readable and provides a whole host of mythological wonders and scenarios for the heroes to overcome. The introduction and notes are excellent. The references to Greek mythology and culture in this text are great, but they're more than adequetely explained by the notes (you do need to keep your thumb in the back section as you're reading). I read this purely for interest in Mythology, but I was surprised to find the story becomes quite gripping, particularly toward the end. Overall, a big thumbs up to both Apollonius and Richard Hunter.
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Format: Paperback
The Penguin Epics snippet from The Voyage of the Argo by Apollonius of Rhodes is superb. Jason and the Golden Fleece retells the narrative from the Argonauts arrival at the kingdom of Amycus through to Jason's completion of the task set by the keeper of the Fleece, Aeetes. The tale is everything that could be asked for from an Epic - the action is terrific, the romance believable and emotional, and the historical setting vividly conjured.

One of the elements of Jason that works well is that it is not just about the lead character. A few of the Argonauts crop up regularly and while Jason is clearly the lead hero, his is a band of followers that merit their own characters. As they are not faceless, their actions and roles impact on the rest of the team. The deaths of two characters early on in this snippet plunges the Argonauts into grief. Too often elsewhere, the death of a comrade has no real meaning but here such depth of feeling demonstrates a kinship worth being a part of.

The action sequences are great from the very beginning of the snippet when Argonaut Polydeuces takes on King Amycus in a boxing match. While this is not a blow-by-blow account, it is a great rendition of martial sport told by a writer who clearly understood what he was talking about. Apollonius is also wise to include the gods but to not deliver them an automaticity in that they too are striving for success. This is a useful reminder of the Greek understanding of the world in that reliance on divine intervention alone could not be enough for success.

Romance is not always easy but Apollonius hits some terrific notes between Medea and Jason. His depiction of the passion that Medea holds within her after Eros has hit her with love's arrow is highly believable.
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