Iolcus & Mount Pelion: Centaurs, Weddings & the Voyage for the Golden Fleece

You would never grow bored of Pelion or of its way of life. You would never weary of its ash trees, grown strong in the breeze, which make straight spear shafts, never snapping at the spearhead. Nor would you tire of its caves – they are so beautiful! – or its springs or the female centaurs gathered round them. Overlook their equine element and they look like water nymphs; dwell on it and they seem like Amazons, for their womanly good looks are but enhanced by seeing them joined to their equine bodies. They are so beautiful!

Iolcus & Mount Pelion: Centaurs, Weddings & the Voyage for the Golden Fleece Photo Gallery

The morning is already hot and hazy. Below the low hill at Dimini, the modern port of Volos stretches its urban sprawl across the plain, its suburbs chequered with dark pine trees and lush citrus orchards. From distant highways the grind of gears and the occasional insistent blare of an alarm provide a muffled bass for the cackling concerto of cockerels squawking with increasing fervour from farmsteads closer by.

The sea once washed much nearer to our vantage point. Three and a half millennia ago the rising sun would glitter on splintering waves down there on the great inlet of the Gulf of Pagasae; though beyond, the pale folds of Mount Pelion are stippled still with shadows of tall trees and fragrant aromatic shrubs. Once Greeks believed that Centaurs lived in caves high on this wooded promontory. Intelligent and shy, half-horse, half-man, they galloped along stony tracks, as confident as any mountain goat. It was believed, too, that a white-sailed ship once cast off from the quay below, when the Argo slipped her moorings to sail east across the misty ocean to the very limits of the world. Even now, with the Centaurs and the Argo gone and a busy city booming in their stead, Volos, or Iolcus as it was known to mythology, can still be magical, a place of rare jewels and unexpected discovery.

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