Jason and the Argonauts ship to retrace mythical journey

The Greek legend of Jason and the Argonauts is an epic tale of a voyage in search for the Golden Fleece. Now, more than three thousand years later, shipbuilders in the Greek port of Volos have recreated Jason’s mythical vessel, piecing together images from ancient vase paintings and wall frescos to design the ship.

What took Jason and his 50 Argonauts three months to build in the 14th century BC took three Greek shipbuilders more than three years, as they abandoned electric tools to build it in the ancient style. The Argo was built by bending whole trees into the hull, with wooden pegs used to hold it together instead of nails.

The boat was christened in Volos last Sunday with a clay jug full of red wine in keeping with ancient Greek form. It is hoped that its journey up the Black Sea coast willl begin next year; a 2,500km journey powered by 50 rowers with no motor and no modern comforts. Legend has it the 28 metre (92ft) ship was rowed by warriors and helped along the Black Sea by the ancient Greek gods as it encountered monsters, sirens and nymphs before finding the dragon-guarded fleece on the coast of Georgia.

Modern day ‘Argonauts’ will have to take the oars for 10 to 15 hours a day; organisers have issued an open invitation to rowers across Europe to participate, so anyone brave enough to take up the challenge can volunteer for the trip.