The Ram

Aries is a zodiacal constellation representing the ram of the Golden Fleece sought by Jason and the Argonauts. The ram had originally been presented to Nephele by Mercury when her husband took a new wife, Ino, who persecuted Nephele's children. To keep them safe, Nephele sent Phrixus and Helle away on the back of the magical ram, who flew away to the east. Helle fell off into the Hellespont (now the Dardanelles) between the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara, but Phrixus safely made it to Colchis on the eastern shore of the Black Sea. Phrixus sacrificed the ram and presented the Golden Fleece to the king, Aeetes.

Roughly 2000 years ago, the vernal equinox was in the constellation Aries. This is no longer the case, due to precession of the earth's axis, but Aries is still regarded as the first constellation in the zodiac.

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These pages are the work of Cathy Bell
cmbell (at) comfychair (dot) org
originally for the Princeton University course CLA 212.