SPOILER ALERT, Romance Junkies!
Okay, so I’m reading all about gold and gold mining, and its history, et al, when I thought to research a bit about why some stampeders during the Klondike Gold Rush were referred to as, Argonauts. Apparently some of these “Argonauts” during the Klondike era were definitely not cowboys.
In the Klondike, we are not on the western frontier, but the artic frontier; that I realize. That all of the gold seekers were not cowboys, makes sense. A …hundred thousand people rushed to the Klondike at that time! Many sought gold … boom or bust … in the Alaska goldfields; many Argonauts.
Argo and its original meaning pick at my thoughts. So, I scratch.
Argo was the name of the ship carrying Jason and his band of heroes (the twelve Olympians), on their quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece in ancient Colchis. At best a suicidal mission. Among the many definitions assigned to the Golden Fleece, one stands out to me: A method of washing gold from streams, mentioned in the 5th century in Georgia, east of the Black Sea. Apparently then, “washing for gold is a very old human activity.” (Sheepskin was stretched on a rack and used as a filter, I believe, originally.)
Then Jason picks at my thoughts; now steeped in Greek mythology. This hero was married to the dangerous, sorceress/princess, Medea. Hmmm, I looked into their relationship and found information in a Greek Epic Poem: ARGONAUTICA, by Appollonius Rhodius. This 3rd century poet was a scholar of the Alexandrian period who chronicled the heroic adventures of Jason and the Argonauts and the love between Jason and Medea, in his 4-book poem.
Understand, that I understand, this Greek Epic has many interpretations and covers a lot of Greek and Hellenistic ground beyond Jason and Medea, but I am looking through my romance filter only.
History books tell us, “Appollonius’ main contribution to epic tradition lies in his development of love between hero and heroine — he seems to have been the 1st narrative poet to study ‘the pathology of love.'” Further, historians say, “Appollonius went a long way towards inventing the romance novel, including narrative techniques like the interior monologue whereby the author identifies with character’s thoughts and feelings.”
Heretofore, I identified Charlotte Bronte’s, JANE EYRE, as the quintessential romance novel. Now I find, a scholarly bloke from the 3rd century beat Ms. Bronte to it!
The fun never stops, when you open a book. Surprises, surprises …