A landmark work of poetry and imagination
‘Farewell, heroic, happy breed of men!
Your blessing on this lay of mine. And
as the years go by, may people find it a
sweeter and yet sweeter song to sing’
Apollonius was undoubtedly influenced by the Homeric tradition – his tale includes brave fights and wild adventures – but in the midst of this heroic action, Apollonius also describes Medea’s turmoil as she struggles between her duty to her family and her love for a stranger, and Jason’s wavering resolution in the face of a new challenge.
'The Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes is one of the strangest classical texts in a field reknowned for strangeness. It is a sea-going travelogue, a blood-curdling horror story, a tale of magic and a (literally) wonderful adventure. This sumptuous new edition does justice to all those aspects, and lures one to do what Apollonius wanted most: to read.'
The greatest moments of poetry come when Apollonius describes more intimate scenes, whether it is Eros clinging to his mother’s skirt, or Medea’s first view of Jason: ‘her soul crept out of her, as in a dream, and fluttered in his steps’. No wonder Apollonius is revered as the first author to present the inner thoughts and feelings of his characters. Although little about Apollonius’ life is known for certain, it is clear that his work was hugely popular. This poem has inspired many: for Virgil it was the model for the Aeneid, and numerous artists have been drawn to the story. This edition is illustrated by the award-winning artist Daniel Egnéus. Printed as double-page spreads, his vigorous images evoke the full splendour of the poem. A spectacular printed slipcase and a map tracing the Argonauts’ long wanderings complete one of our most anticipated editions.