Pelion MythologyAccording to the Greek Mythology, Pelion was the summer residence of the gods of Mount Olympus, the homeland of Centaurs and the battlefield of the “Battle of the Giants”.
Hercules, Achilles, Jason, and Asclepius learnt music, virtue and the art of war next to Centaur Chiron. They also studied the healing qualities of the herbs and plants in Pelion.
In fact, Asclepius made such a progress and he even got so far ahead of his teacher Centaur Chiron that he managed to create the snake, source of life and death that still remains the symbol of the medical science up until today.
Pelion is also the place where the wedding of Nereid Thetis and Peleus took place. During the feast that followed the ceremony, goddess Eris, because of the fact that she hadn’t been invited, dropped a gold apple that said “to the most beautiful”. That way the first beauty contest took place, among the good-looking and powerful goddesses, Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite.
Paris, Prince of Troy, acted as a referee and tried to give the apple to goddess Aphrodite. After that, immortal Achilles, son of Peleus and Thetis, campaigned against Troy that was fatal for the family of Prince Paris and his family. Mythology also tells us that the retaliation campaign of the Greeks against the Trojans because of the heavy tolls imposed on the Greek ships that went through the Straits of Hellespont after the opening of the commercial seaways by the Argonauts.
Pelion also played a determinant role to the Persian defeat. 40 ships of Xerxes were aborted in the region of the sea caves. Finally, after the heavy defeat in Salamis in 480 B.C. Xerxes’ plans to dominate Greece and expand his empire to the Mediterranean Sea.
Pelion is also related to the Argonaut Expedition, since in the 13th century B.C. Argo, led by Jason, set off from the adjacent city of Iolkos with the destination to reach the distant Colchis of Aea in order to acquire the Golden Fleece, a symbol of wealth and honor.
When Jason returned with the Golden Fleece, he brought back sorceress Medea as his wife. She was the daughter of King Aetes and granddaughter of Helios, princess of Aea and later on queen of Iolkos. Because of the way things happened, she became a tragic female figure, dramatized by Euripides in the well-known “Medea”, a tragedy taught since 431 B.C.
Finally, the captain of the Argonaut Expedition, called Diomedes, chose to be renamed and therefore called Jason, as during his apprenticeship next to Centaur Chiron near Pelion, he excelled in the study of the therapeutical herbs.