Mount Pelion

Brief Overview

Mount Pelion - Chiron - Jason - Hercules and the Argonauts:

In Greek mythology, Mount Pelion (which took its name from the mythical king Peleus, father of Achilles) was the homeland of Chiron the Centaur, tutor of many ancient Greek heroes, such as Jason, Achilles, Theseus and Heracles. It was in Mount Pelion, near Chiron's cave, that the marriage of Thetis and Peleus took place.

The uninvited goddess Eris, to take revenge for having been kept outside the party, brought a golden apple with the inscription "To the Fairest".

The dispute that then arose between the goddesses Hera, Aphrodite and Athena resulted in events leading to the Trojan War. When the twins Otus and Ephialtes attempted to storm Olympus, they piled Mount Pelion upon Mount Ossa (this is the origin of the idiom, to "pile Pelion on Ossa").

Jason was an ancient Greek mythological hero who was famous for his role as the leader of the Argonauts (Hercules and Orpheus took also part on it) and their quest for the Golden Fleece.

He was the son of Aeson, the rightful king of Iolcos. He was married to the sorceress Medea. Because he belongs to mythology, he may have existed before the Greek Dark Ages (1100-800 BC.) The people who wrote about Jason lived around 300 BC.

In Detail

Centaurs and Mount Pelion
KHEIRON (or Chiron) was the eldest and wisest of the Centaurs, a tribe of half-horse men. But unlike the rest of this tribe he was an immortal god, a son of the Titan Kronos and half-brother of Zeus. Kheiron's mother was the nymph Philyra who was coupling with Kronos when his wife suddenly appeared on the scene. To escape notice he transformed himself into a horse, and in this way sired a half-equine son. Some time later when a tribe of Kentauroi (or Centaurs) were spawned on Mount Pelion by the cloud nymph Nephele, Kheiron and his daughters took them into their care and raised them as their own.

The Kentauros was a great teacher who mentored many of the great heroes of myth including Jason, Peleus, Asklepios, Aristaios and Akhilleus. Eventually, however, he passed away from the earth, after accidentally being wounded by Herakles with an arrow coated in Hydra-venom. The wound was incurable, and unbearably painfall, so Kheiron voluntarily relinquished his immortality and died. However, instead of being consigned to Haides, he was given a place amongst the stars by Zeus as the constellation Saggitarius or Centaurus.

Kheiron's name was derived from the Greek word for hand (kheir), which also meant "skilled with the hands." The name was also closely associated in myth with kheirourgos or surgeon. In Athenian vase painting Kheiron was depicted with the full-body of a man, from head to foot, clothed in chiton and boots, with a horse-body attached to the human rump. The image probably reflected his appearance in Greek drama, where costume-limitations reduced his centaurine-form somewhat. By contrast the other Kentauroi, who do not appear in Athenian drama, were depicted unclothed with fully equine forms below the waist.

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Further Sources

"Encyclopaedia Brittanica"


"Greek Landscapes"

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