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Jason at Colchis: Technology and Human Progress in Valerius Flaccus

Volume 39 Issue 1 (2010)

Abstract: For the Argonauts of Valerius Flaccus the Black Sea and its surrounding lands are an alien world. As Argo leaves the Mediterranean behind and enters the Propontis, we are told that the Minyans begin to gain 'a view into another world' (alium prospectus in orbem, 2.628). So too when the ship makes its way through the Bosporus, on the point of entering the Black Sea, we are told that the Greeks 'see all things new' (noua cuncta uident, 4.424). Clearly this voyage is presented by Valerius as a major event in world history. One question which must confront any reader of Valerius' poem is whether the effects of this voyage should be viewed negatively or positively. Indeed the poem itself poses that question at the outset, through its inclusion of two versions of Argo's destiny: the negative prophecy of Mopsus (1.211-26) and the more reassuring prediction of Idmon (1.234-38). In this paper I propose to consider aspects of this problem through an examination not of Valerius' treatment of the voyage itself, but of its consequences as they are presented in the second half of the poem.

To cite this article: Davis, PJ. Jason at Colchis: Technology and Human Progress in Valerius Flaccus [online]. Ramus, Vol. 39, No. 1, 2010: 1-13. Availability: <;dn=943723709433673;res=IELHSS> ISSN: 0048-671X. [cited 30 Nov 15].

Personal Author: Davis, PJ; Source: Ramus, Vol. 39, No. 1, 2010: 1-13 Document Type: Journal Article ISSN: 0048-671X Subject: Criticism, interpretation, etc.; Classical literature; Latin literature; Jason (Greek mythology); Peer Reviewed: Yes Affiliation: (1) University of Adelaide

Database: Humanities & Social Sciences Collection