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Mythology of the constellation Aries

Aries, The Ram, is the first of the twelve zodiacal constellations, and in Greek myth represents the animal whose fleece was sought by Jason and the Argonauts. Legend has it that when King Athamus of Boetia took a second wife, Ino, she was extremely jealous and resentful of his existing children, especially his son, Phrixus. She therefore deviously plotted the failure of the corn crop, intercepted and bribed the messenger sent by her husband to consult an oracle on the matter, and instructed him to say that he had been told that Phrixus had to be sacrificed if the people were to escape starvation. Despite pleadings from the boy's mother, Nephele, King Athamus agreed to the sacrifice but, at the very last minute, the boy and his sister, Helle, were saved by a magnificent ram with a golden fleece, sent by Zeus in answer to their mother's prayers. Unfortunately, as the ram crossed the narrow stretch of water between Europe and Asia, Helle fell to her death (the straits are still known as Hellespont) but Phrixus was carried safely to the land of Colchis. He gave thanks for his deliverance by sacrificing the ram to Zeus and giving its golden fleece to King Aeetes. The king had the fleece placed in a sacred copse, guarded by a fearsome dragon which never slept. Phrixus later married the king's daughter and remained in exile for the rest of his life, but the fleece was eventually stolen by Jason.

See Legend of Carina

 

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