4 April 2012
51 years old
I have begun researching my family history, a symptom of middle age I suppose; and started by quizzing my parents. My mother surprised me by saying, “Our people are descended from Jason and the Argonauts.” Remember the old film? The quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece, Harpies, skeleton soldiers, Greek Gods. Can it be true?!
The answer is: yes – to an extent. Both sides of my family are Greeks from the Black Sea area of Asia Minor, an area rife with settlement stories that mention Jason and the Argonauts. Where does history end and myth begin? I think there is some truth behind most mythological stories, many of which are tied to very particular places. In “Greek Myths & Legends” by Diana Ferguson, she writes: “Until the discovery of the ruins of Troy by Heinrich Schliemann in 1871, it was widely believed that the city was an invention of the poetic imagination.”
So if Troy is real, and the Trojan War happened, it stands to reason that Odysseus himself (some version of him anyway) was a real person, and if he existed, why not Jason and Medea and the others? I know I won’t be able to trace my relatives that far back, but it’s still very exciting. Today I will go back just a little way and share with you a picture of my paternal grandmother, the person I was named after.
If you are at all interested in reading a short ‘myth’ about my family that I wrote a while back, you will find it here.