Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Apollonius of Rhodes and the Spaces of Hellenism$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

William G. Thalmann

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199731572

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199731572.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 October 2020



Colchis and the Interplay of Similarity and Difference

(p.115) 5 Contact
Apollonius of Rhodes and the Spaces of Hellenism

William G. Thalmann

Oxford University Press

The farther east the Argonauts progress along the south coast of the Black Sea, the more tenuous becomes the poem’s ability to define space in Greek terms. In Colchis, the goal of their journey, they confront a space that a different culture has produced, over which they have no control. The story of Medea falling in love with Jason and helping him win the Golden Fleece is set within this alien space. It could be read as the triumph of Greek skill over uncultured “barbarians,” but many elements in the poem go against this. The Colchians have their own culture, which is both like that of the Greeks and radically different. Aietes is portrayed as both civilized and savage; these two sides of his character are reflected in the arrangement of Colchian space. Medea herself is both vulnerable girl who prizes the Greek values of female shame and dangerous witch. According to Herodotus the Colchians were descended from Egyptians, and the Argonauts’ experience among them may parallel Greeks’ experience of cultural contact in Egypt. The Colchian narrative is also analyzed in regard to the significance of various places and the way this is established by movements into and out of them in a way characteristic of human spatial production.

Keywords:   Colchis, Medea, cultural contact, golden fleece

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .