Mythes and legends

Argonauts in Search of Golden Fleece

According to an ancient Greek legend, Argonauts led by Jason headed for the Kingdom of Kolkhis (on the territory of western Georgia) to take back the Golden Fleece earlier belonging to them.

King Ayet of Kolkhis reigned in a grand palace with beautiful garden. His daughter, Medea, Helios’ granddaughter, fell head over heels in love with Jason. Using her supernatural power of a magician, Medea helped Jason to achieve his goal.   

Later, when infuriated Ayet did his best to destroy Jason, Medea told the latter how to escape a certain death. On his way back home, Jason possessed not only Golden Fleece, but also beautiful Medea. Upon their arrival in Greece, they got married. 

Nowadays it is believed there is some truth in this legend. Ancient Greeks must have heard of Kolkh’s golden mines in mountainous Svaneti and the riches of the Kingdom, as well as refined, luxurious craftwork of local masters. Therefore, the Greeks went there to learn the secret of making golden jewellery.

The rich collection of golden and silver jewellery dated back from 8th-4th centuries BC, found in the western part of Georgia, is now kept in the Treasury of National Museum in Tbilisi.

Prometheus, Chained to Caucasian Mountains

According to an old version of the legend, Prometheus stole fire from Zeus, took it from Olympus to give to people. He moved up to the skies with the help of Athena and brought the torch to the sun. For that Zeus ordered to chain him to the Caucasian Mountain. Thus, Prometheus met his destiny to face permanent suffering and torture, as an eagle came to bite his liver every day. This suffering lasted either several centuries, or up to 30 millennium, according to various sources. 

Eventually, Hercules killed the eagle with an arrow and set Prometheus free. The analogue in Georgian mythology is the Legend of Amirani, who was also chained to the Mountain of Kazbek for insulting the god.

Trekking at the foot of Mt. Kazbek