1715 Treasure Fleet
The 1715 Treasure Fleet was a Spanish treasure fleet returning from the New World to Spain. At two in the morning on Wednesday, July 31, 1715, seven days after departing from Havana, eleven of the twelve ships of this fleet were lost in a hurricane near present-day Vero Beach, Florida; because the fleet was carrying silver, it is known as the 1715 Plate Fleet. Some artifacts and coins still wash up on Florida beaches from time to time. Around 1,500 sailors perished. Many ships, including pirates, took part in the initial salvage. A privateer, Henry Jennings was first accused of piracy for attacking such salvage ships and claiming their salvages. Treasure hunter Kip Wagner's team built an exhibit held at National Geographic "Explorers Hall" in Washington, D. C., featured in the January 1965 issue of National Geographic. This was the beginning of a fine collection of 1715 plate fleet treasure that brought hundreds of visitors from around the world. Wagner published his book Pieces of Eight in 1966.
This is a detailed account of the finding and exploration of many of these shipwrecks along the Florida "Treasure Coast." An exhibit was set up with a grand opening on May 1, 1967, at the First National Bank of Satellite Beach, Florida. In 1987, another ship in the fleet, the Urca de Lima, became the first shipwreck in the Florida Underwater Archaeological Preserves. Fisher's company, Mel Fisher's Treasures, sold the rights to the 1715 Fleet shipwreck to Queens Jewels, LLC. In 2015, 1715 Fleet - Queens Jewels, LLC and their founder Brent Brisben discovered $4.5 million in gold coins off the coast of Florida. Urca de Lima former HMS Hampton Court Santo Cristo de San Roman Nuestra Señora de las Nieves Nuestra Señora del Rosario y San Francisco Xavier Nuestra Señora de Carmen y San Antonio In the 2008 movie Fool's Gold, the protagonists are searching for the location of one of the sunken ships of the treasure fleet; the treasure fleet was used as the backdrop for a scene in the video game Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.
The main character, Edward Kenway, is aboard one of the ships in the fleet as a prisoner, manages to escape with the help of his future quartermaster, Adéwalé, recruiting other captive pirates as a crew. The pirates manage to escape the fleet and the hurricane by stealing the twelfth ship, the brig El Dorado, which Edward keeps and renames the Jackdaw, becoming the player's ship for the rest of the game. Edward makes reference to the event when Blackbeard inquires as to how he got the Jackdaw, the latter suggests visiting the site to salvage some of the lost treasure. In the 1977 movie The Deep "David Sanders and his British girlfriend Gail Berke recover a number of artifacts, including an ampule of amber-colored liquid and a medallion bearing the image of a woman and the letters "S. C. O. P. N" and a date, 1714. St. David's Lighthouse keeper and treasure-hunter Romer Treece, believes the coin has come from the wreckage of a twelfth ship, a French tobacco ship, being protected by the 1714 fleet and named Grifon, returning to Havana for repairs but sank off the coast of Bermuda.
The plot of the Starz show Black Sails revolves around the 1715 Treasure Fleet in its first season. The largest of the ships, the Urca de Lima, is wrecked during the hurricane off the coast of Florida, carrying five million Spanish dollars' worth in gold and other precious materials, pursued by Captain Flint and his crew; the treasure, colloquially referred to as "the Urca gold", is an important plot device throughout the series. McLarty Treasure Museum Mel Fisher's Treasure Museum Piracy in the Caribbean St. Lucie County Historical Museum Survivors' and Salvagers' Camp – 1715 Fleet Treasure hunting 1715 Treasure Fleet – website of the official salvors of the wrecks History of the 1715 Treasure Fleet; the Practical Book of Cobs 4th Ed. Sedwick – The Treasure of Cape Canaveral published in Indian River Journal by Brevard Historical Commission. Sunken Treasure: Six Who Found Fortunes, Robert F. Burgess, Mead & Co. 1988
RMS Republic (1903)
RMS Republic was a steam-powered ocean liner built in 1903 by Harland and Wolff in Belfast, lost at sea in a collision in 1909 while sailing for the White Star Line. The ship was equipped with a new Marconi wireless telegraphy transmitter, issued a CQD distress call, resulting in the saving of around 1,500 lives. Known as the "Millionaires' Ship" because of the number of wealthy Americans who traveled by her, she was described as a "palatial liner" and was the flagship of White Star Line's Boston service; this was the first important marine rescue made possible by radio, brought worldwide attention to this new technology. The ship was built in Belfast, Ireland for the International Mercantile Marine's Dominion Line and was named Columbus, she was launched on 26 February 1903 and made her maiden voyage in October 1903 from Liverpool to Boston. After two voyages with the Dominion Line, along with three other Dominion liners. Columbus was renamed Republic, the second ship under White Star livery to hold the name, while her three fellow former Dominion liners were renamed Romanic and Cretic respectively.
Republic made her first crossing under White Star from Liverpool to Boston on 17 December 1903, arriving in Boston 27 December. In January 1903, she made her first crossing from Boston to the Mediterranean via Gibraltar, making calls at Sao Miguel in the Azores, followed by the Italian ports of Naples and Genoa, ending at Alexandria, a voyage which took up to three weeks to complete one-way. In November 1904, she inaugurated White Star's Mediterranean-New York service. White Star intended this route for two purposes. Second, more predominantly on her westbound crossings, White Star sought to tap into the massive Italian immigrant trade. Republic, with a third class capacity of 2,000, proved to be immensely profitable on this route, as when she sailed for the United States on any given trip, third class was booked to capacity, sometimes beyond. A vast majority of Italian immigrants who sailed by White Star boarded Republic and the other ships at Naples, along with smaller groups of Greeks, Slavs and Syrians.
White Star's placement of Sao Miguel on their Mediterranean services opened them up to traffic from Portuguese immigrants as well. Over the next four years, Republic spent the winter and spring months running on White Star's Mediterranean-New York service alongside the Cretic, while during the summer and fall months she sailed on the Liverpool-Boston route together with Cymric and Arabic. In early morning of 23 January 1909, while sailing from New York City to Gibraltar and Mediterranean ports with 742 passengers and crew and Captain William Inman Sealby in command, Republic entered a thick fog off the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts. Amongst the passengers were plenty of illustrious people such as Mrs. Sophie Mansfield Curtis, wife of George Munson Curtis, Mrs. Mary Harriman Severance, wife of Cordenio A. Severance, Professor John M. Coulter with wife and children, General Brayton Ives, St. Louis millionaire Samuel Cupples, historian Alice Morse Earle, Mildred Montague, Countess Pasolini.
Travelling in first class were Mr. Leonard L. McMurray, who, in 1915, would survive the sinking of the Cunard liner Lusitania, Mrs. Bessie Armstead Davis, daughter-in-law of senator Henry G. Davis of West Virginia with two children. Taking standard precautions and maintaining her speed, the steamer signaled her presence in the outbound shipping traffic lane by whistle. At 5:47 a.m. another whistle was heard and Republic's engines were ordered to full reverse, the helm put "hard-a-port". Out of the fog, the Lloyd Italiano liner SS Florida appeared and hit Republic amidships on her portside, at about a right angle. Two passengers asleep in their cabins on Republic were killed when Floridas bow sliced into her, liquor wholesale manager Eugene Lynch's wife Mary and banker William J. Mooney. Eugene Lynch was critically injured and died as a result of his injuries at Long Island College Hospital, Brooklyn, 26 January. On Florida, three crewmen were killed when the bow was crushed back to a collision bulkhead.
Six people died in total. The engine and boiler rooms on Republic began to flood, the ship listed. Captain Sealby led the crew in calmly organizing the passengers on deck for evacuation. Republic was equipped with the new Marconi wireless telegraph system, became the first ship in history to issue a CQD distress signal, sent by John R. Binns. Florida came about to rescue Republic's complement, the U. S. Revenue Cutter Service cutter Gresham responded to the distress signal as well. Passengers were distributed between the two ships, with Florida taking the bulk of them, but with 900 Italian immigrants on board, this left the ship dangerously overloaded; the White Star liner Baltic, commanded by Captain J. B. Ranson responded to the CQD call, but due to the persistent fog, it was not until the evening that Baltic was able to locate the drifting Republic. Once on-scene, the rescued passengers were transferred from Florida to Baltic; because of the damage to Florida, that ship's immigrant passengers were transferred to Baltic, but a riot nearly
Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula. It is bordered to the north by Spain; the landscape is dominated by the Rock of Gibraltar at the foot of, a densely populated town area, home to over 30,000 people Gibraltarians. In 1704, Anglo-Dutch forces captured Gibraltar from Spain during the War of the Spanish Succession on behalf of the Habsburg claim to the Spanish throne; the territory was ceded to Great Britain in perpetuity under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. During World War II it was an important base for the Royal Navy as it controlled the entrance and exit to the Mediterranean Sea, the Strait of Gibraltar, only 8 miles wide at this naval choke point, it remains strategically important. Today Gibraltar's economy is based on tourism, online gambling, financial services and cargo ship refuelling; the sovereignty of Gibraltar is a point of contention in Anglo-Spanish relations because Spain asserts a claim to the territory. Gibraltarians rejected proposals for Spanish sovereignty in a 1967 referendum and, in a 2002 referendum, the idea of shared sovereignty was rejected.
Evidence of Neanderthal habitation in Gibraltar from around 50,000 years ago has been discovered at Gorham's Cave. The caves of Gibraltar continued to be used by Homo sapiens after the final extinction of the Neanderthals. Stone tools, ancient hearths and animal bones dating from around 40,000 years ago to about 5,000 years ago have been found in deposits left in Gorham's Cave. Numerous potsherds dating from the Neolithic period have been found in Gibraltar's caves of types typical of the Almerian culture found elsewhere in Andalusia around the town of Almería, from which it takes its name. There is little evidence of habitation in the Bronze Age, when people had stopped living in caves. During ancient times, Gibraltar was regarded by the peoples of the Mediterranean as a place of religious and symbolic importance; the Phoenicians were present for several centuries since around 950 BC using Gorham's Cave as a shrine to the genius loci, as did the Carthaginians and Romans after them. Gibraltar was known as Mons Calpe, a name of Phoenician origin.
Mons Calpe was considered by the ancient Greeks and Romans as one of the Pillars of Hercules, after the Greek legend of the creation of the Strait of Gibraltar by Heracles. There is no known archaeological evidence of permanent settlements from the ancient period, they settled at the head of the bay in. The town of Carteia, near the location of the modern Spanish town of San Roque, was founded by the Phoenicians around 950 BC on the site of an early settlement of the native Turdetani people. After the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, Gibraltar came under the control of the Vandals, who crossed into Africa at the invitation of Boniface, the Count of the territory; the area formed part of the Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania for 300 years, from 414 until 711 AD. Following a raid in 710, a predominantly Berber army under the command of Tariq ibn Ziyad crossed from North Africa in April 711 and landed somewhere in the vicinity of Gibraltar. Tariq's expedition led to the Islamic conquest of most of the Iberian peninsula.
Mons Calpe was renamed the Mount of Tariq, subsequently corrupted into Gibraltar. In 1160 the Almohad Sultan Abd al-Mu'min ordered that a permanent settlement, including a castle, be built, it received the name of Medinat al-Fath. The Tower of Homage of the Moorish Castle remains standing today. From 1274 onwards, the town was fought over and captured by the Nasrids of Granada, the Marinids of Morocco and the kings of Castile. In 1462 Gibraltar was captured by 1st Duke of Medina Sidonia. After the conquest, Henry IV of Castile assumed the additional title of King of Gibraltar, establishing it as part of the comarca of the Campo Llano de Gibraltar. Six years Gibraltar was restored to the Duke of Medina Sidonia, who sold it in 1474 to a group of 4350 conversos from Cordova and Seville and in exchange for maintaining the garrison of the town for two years, after which time they were expelled, returning to their home towns or moving on to other parts of Spain. In 1501 Gibraltar passed back to the Spanish Crown, Isabella I of Castile issued a Royal Warrant granting Gibraltar the coat of arms that it still uses.
In 1704, during the War of the Spanish Succession, a combined Anglo-Dutch fleet, representing the Grand Alliance, captured the town of Gibraltar on behalf of the Archduke Charles of Austria in his campaign to become King of Spain. Subsequently most of the population left the town with many settling nearby; as the Alliance's campaign faltered, the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht was negotiated, which ceded control of Gibraltar to Britain to secure Britain's withdrawal from the war. Unsuccessful attempts by Spanish monarchs to regain Gibraltar were made with the siege of 1727 and again with the Great Siege of Gibraltar, during the American War of Independence. Gibraltar became a key base for the Royal Navy and played an important role prior to the Battle of Trafalgar and during the Crimean War of 1854–56, because of its strategic location. In the 18th century, the peacetime military garrison fluctuated in numbers from a minimum of 1,100 to a maximum of 5,000; the first half of the 19th century saw a significant increase of population to more t
Underwater archaeology is archaeology practiced underwater. As with all other branches of archaeology, it evolved from its roots in pre-history and in the classical era to include sites from the historical and industrial eras, its acceptance has been a late development due to the difficulties of accessing and working underwater sites, because the application of archaeology to underwater sites emerged from the skills and tools developed by shipwreck salvagers. As a result, underwater archaeology struggled to establish itself as bona fide archaeological research; the situation changed when universities began teaching the subject and when a theoretical and practical base for the sub-discipline was established. Underwater archaeology now has a number of branches including, after it became broadly accepted in the late 1980s, maritime archaeology: the scientifically based study of past human life and cultures and their activities in, on, around and under the sea and rivers; this is most effected using the physical remains found in, around or under salt or fresh water or buried beneath water-logged sediment.
In recent years, the study of submerged WWII sites and of submerged aircraft in the form of underwater aviation archaeology have emerged as bona fide activity. Though mistaken as such, underwater archaeology is not restricted to the study of shipwrecks. Changes in sea level because of local seismic events such as the earthquakes that devastated Port Royal and Alexandria or more widespread climatic changes on a continental scale mean that some sites of human occupation that were once on dry land are now submerged. At the end of the last ice age, the North Sea was a great plain, anthropological material, as well as the remains of animals such as mammoths, are sometimes recovered by trawlers; because human societies have always made use of water, sometimes the remains of structures that these societies built underwater still exist when traces on dry land have been lost. As a result, underwater archaeological sites cover a vast range including: submerged indigenous sites and places where people once lived or visited that have been subsequently covered by water due to rising sea levels.
Underwater archaeology is complementary to archaeological research on terrestrial sites because the two are linked by many and various elements including geographic, political and other considerations. As a result, a study of an archaeological landscape can involve a multidisciplinary approach requiring the inclusion of many specialists from a variety of disciplines including prehistory, historical archaeology, maritime archaeology, anthropology. There are many examples. One is the wreck of the VOC ship Zuytdorp lost in 1711 on the coast of Western Australia, where there remains considerable speculation that some of the crew survived and, after establishing themselves on shore, intermixed with indigenous tribes from the area; the archaeological signature at this site now extends into the interaction between indigenous people and the European pastoralists who entered the area in the mid-19th century. There are many reasons why underwater archaeology can make a significant contribution to our knowledge of the past.
In the shipwreck field alone, individual shipwrecks can be of significant historical importance either because of the magnitude of loss of life or circumstances of loss. Shipwrecks such as Mary Rose can be important for archaeology because they can form a kind of accidental time capsule, preserving an assemblage of human artifacts at the moment in time when the ship was lost. Sometimes it is not the wrecking of the ship, important, but the fact that we have access to the remains of it where the vessel was of major importance and significance in the history of science and engineering, due to being the first of its type of vessel; the development of submarines, for example, can be traced via underwater archaeological research, via the Hunley, the first submarine to sink an enemy ship. All traces of human existence underwater which are one hundred years old or more are protected by the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage; this convention aims at preventing the destruction or loss of historic and cultural information and looting.
It helps states parties to protect their underwater cultural heritage with an international legal framework. On the basis of the recommendations defined in the above-mentioned UNESCO Convention various European projects have been funded such as the CoMAS project for in situ conservation planning of underwater archaeological artefacts. Underwater sites are difficult to access, more hazardous, compared with working on dry land. In order to access the site directly, diving equipment and diving skills are necessary; the depths that can be accessed by divers, the length of time available at depths, are limited. For deep sites beyond the reach of divers, submarines or remote sensing equipment are needed. For a m
A blockade runner is a merchant vessel used for evading a naval blockade of a port or strait. It is light and fast, using stealth and speed rather than confronting the blockaders in order to break the blockade. Blockade runners transport cargo, for example bringing food or arms to a blockaded city, they have carried mail in an attempt to communicate with the outside world. Blockade runners are the fastest ships available, come armed and armored, their operations are quite risky. However, the potential profits from a successful blockade run are tremendous, so blockade-runners had excellent crews. Although having modus operandi similar to that of smugglers, blockade-runners are operated by state's navies as part of the regular fleet. Notable users of blockade runners include the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War, Germany during the World Wars. There were numerous attempts at blockade running during the Peloponnesian War. With his fleet blockaded, Leon of Salamis dispatched blockade runners to seek reinforcements from Athens.
During the Punic Wars, the Carthaginian Empire attempted to get around Roman blockades of its ports and strongholds. At one point, blockade runners brought in the only food reaching the city of Carthage, Blockade runners in the American Revolution eluded the British naval blockades in order to supply resources to the army; this included French ships. During the American Civil War, blockade running became a major enterprise for the Confederacy due to the Union's Anaconda Plan, which sought to cut off all the Confederacy's overseas trade. Twelve major ports and 3,500 miles of coastline along the Confederate States were patrolled by some 500 ships that were commissioned by the Union government. Great Britain played a major role on the blockade running business, as they had investments in the south and were suffering from the Lancashire Cotton Famine. Great Britain controlled many of the neutral ports in the Caribbean, in the Bahamas and Bermuda. To protect their interests British investors had engineered steamships that were longer and faster than most of the conventional steamers guarding the American coastline, thus enabling them to outmaneuver and outrun blockaders.
Among the more notable was the CSS Advance that completed more than 20 successful runs through the Union blockade before being captured. These vessels brought badly needed supplies firearms, carried Confederate mail; the blockade played a major role in the Union's victory over the Confederate states. By the end of the Civil War the Union Navy had captured more than 1,100 blockade runners and had destroyed or run aground another 355 vessels. During the Great Cretan Revolt, Greek blockade runners supplied the Christians revolting against the Turkish rule during this time. Names of the ships include: Arkadion. During World War I the Central Powers, most notably Germany, were blockaded by the Entente Powers. In particular the North Sea blockade made it nearly impossible for surface ships to leave Germany for the neutral United States and other locations; the blockade was run with cargo submarines called merchant submarines and Bremen, which reached the neutral United States. The Marie ran the British North Sea blockade and docked damaged, in Batavia, Dutch East Indies on May 13, 1916.
In 1918 Germany tried unsuccessfully to supply their forces in Africa by sending Zeppelin LZ104. On the outbreak of war, the Royal Navy imposed a naval blockade against Germany. However, the fall of France provided the German occupying forces with access to the French Atlantic coast, between 1940 and 1942, many blockade running trips succeeded in delivering cargoes of critical war supplies - crude rubber - through the port of Bordeaux. Allied attempts to disrupt these operations had only a limited effect. From 1943, improved Allied air supremacy over the Bay of Biscay rendered blockade running by surface ships impossible. By some counts, during the war Germans sent 32 blockade runners to Japan, only 16 of them reaching their destination. In the war, most of the trade between Germany and Japan was by cargo submarine. A number of Italian units, interned in Spain after Italy entered in the war in June 1940, run from the Bay of Biscay to Bordeaux, some of them, such as Fidelitas and Eugenio C, dashed through the English Channel bound for Germany and Norway.
In an attempt to transfer technology to Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany dispatched a submarine, U-234, to sail to Japan. Germany surrendered; the Japanese submarine I-8 completed a similar mission. On Nov. 23, 1942, the German ship Ramses attempted unsuccessfully to sail from Batavia, the ship being in the Pacific when the war started, to Bordeaux with a cargo of rubber. The hope was that maintaining a sharp 24-hour lookout they would be able to evade the Allied blockade. A small number of planes succeeded in flying between the Axis-controlled Europe and the Japanese-controlled parts of Asia; the first known flight was by an Italian Savoia-Marchetti SM.75 Marsupiale, which flew in July 1942, according to various sources, either from Zaporozhye
Archaeology, or archeology, is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. The archaeological record consists of artifacts, biofacts or ecofacts and cultural landscapes. Archaeology can be considered a branch of the humanities. In North America archaeology is a sub-field of anthropology, while in Europe it is viewed as either a discipline in its own right or a sub-field of other disciplines. Archaeologists study human prehistory and history, from the development of the first stone tools at Lomekwi in East Africa 3.3 million years ago up until recent decades. Archaeology is distinct from palaeontology, the study of fossil remains, it is important for learning about prehistoric societies, for whom there may be no written records to study. Prehistory includes over 99% of the human past, from the Paleolithic until the advent of literacy in societies across the world. Archaeology has various goals, which range from understanding culture history to reconstructing past lifeways to documenting and explaining changes in human societies through time.
The discipline involves surveying and analysis of data collected to learn more about the past. In broad scope, archaeology relies on cross-disciplinary research, it draws upon anthropology, art history, ethnology, geology, literary history, semiology, textual criticism, information sciences, statistics, paleography, paleontology and paleobotany. Archaeology developed out of antiquarianism in Europe during the 19th century, has since become a discipline practiced across the world. Archaeology has been used by nation-states to create particular visions of the past. Since its early development, various specific sub-disciplines of archaeology have developed, including maritime archaeology, feminist archaeology and archaeoastronomy, numerous different scientific techniques have been developed to aid archaeological investigation. Nonetheless, archaeologists face many problems, such as dealing with pseudoarchaeology, the looting of artifacts, a lack of public interest, opposition to the excavation of human remains.
The science of archaeology grew out of the older multi-disciplinary study known as antiquarianism. Antiquarians studied history with particular attention to ancient artifacts and manuscripts, as well as historical sites. Antiquarianism focused on the empirical evidence that existed for the understanding of the past, encapsulated in the motto of the 18th-century antiquary, Sir Richard Colt Hoare, "We speak from facts not theory". Tentative steps towards the systematization of archaeology as a science took place during the Enlightenment era in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. In Europe, philosophical interest in the remains of Greco-Roman civilization and the rediscovery of classical culture began in the late Middle Age. Flavio Biondo, an Italian Renaissance humanist historian, created a systematic guide to the ruins and topography of ancient Rome in the early 15th century, for which he has been called an early founder of archaeology. Antiquarians of the 16th century, including John Leland and William Camden, conducted surveys of the English countryside, drawing and interpreting the monuments that they encountered.
One of the first sites to undergo archaeological excavation was Stonehenge and other megalithic monuments in England. John Aubrey was a pioneer archaeologist who recorded numerous megalithic and other field monuments in southern England, he was ahead of his time in the analysis of his findings. He attempted to chart the chronological stylistic evolution of handwriting, medieval architecture and shield-shapes. Excavations were carried out by the Spanish military engineer Roque Joaquín de Alcubierre in the ancient towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum, both of, covered by ash during the Eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79; these excavations began in 1748 in Pompeii, while in Herculaneum they began in 1738. The discovery of entire towns, complete with utensils and human shapes, as well the unearthing of frescos, had a big impact throughout Europe. However, prior to the development of modern techniques, excavations tended to be haphazard; the father of archaeological excavation was William Cunnington. He undertook excavations in Wiltshire from around 1798.
Cunnington made meticulous recordings of Neolithic and Bronze Age barrows, the terms he used to categorize and describe them are still used by archaeologists today. One of the major achievements of 19th-century archaeology was the development of stratigraphy; the idea of overlapping strata tracing back to successive periods was borrowed from the new geological and paleontological work of scholars like William Smith, James Hutton and Charles Lyell. The application of stratigraphy to archaeology first took place with the excavations of prehistorical and Bronze Age sites. In the third and fourth decades of the 19th-century, archaeologists like Jacques Boucher de Perthes and Christian Jürgensen Thomsen began to put the artifacts they had found in chronological order. A major figure in the development of archaeology into a rigorous science was the army officer and ethnologist, Augustus Pitt Rivers, who began excavations on his land in England in the 1880s, his approach was methodical by the standards of the time, he is regarded as the first scientific archaeologist.
He arranged his artifacts by type or "typologically, within types by date or "chronologically"
In Greek mythology, the Golden Fleece is the fleece of the golden-woolled, winged ram, held in Colchis. The fleece is a symbol of kingship, it figures in the tale of the hero Jason and his crew of Argonauts, who set out on a quest for the fleece by order of King Pelias, in order to place Jason rightfully on the throne of Iolcus in Thessaly. Through the help of Medea, they acquire the Golden Fleece; the story was current in the time of Homer. It survives among which the details vary. Athamas the Minyan, a founder of Halos in Thessaly but king of the city of Orchomenus in Boeotia, took the goddess Nephele as his first wife, they had the boy Phrixus and the girl Helle. Athamas became enamored of and married Ino, the daughter of Cadmus; when Nephele left in anger, drought came upon the land. Ino was jealous of her stepchildren and plotted their deaths: in some versions, she persuaded Athamas that sacrificing Phrixus was the only way to end the drought. Nephele, or her spirit, appeared to the children with a winged ram.
The ram had been sired by Poseidon in his primitive ram-form upon Theophane, a nymph and the granddaughter of Helios, the sun-god. According to Hyginus, Poseidon carried Theophane to an island where he made her into a ewe, so that he could have his way with her among the flocks. There Theophane's other suitors could not distinguish his consort. Nepheles' children escaped on the yellow ram over the sea, but Helle fell off and drowned in the strait now named after her, the Hellespont; the ram spoke to Phrixus, encouraging him, took the boy safely to Colchis, on the easternmost shore of the Euxine Sea. There Phrixus sacrificed the winged ram to Poseidon returning him to the god; the ram became the constellation Aries. Phrixus settled in the house of son of Helios the sun god, he hung the Golden Fleece preserved from the sacrifice of the ram on an oak in a grove sacred to Ares, the god of war and one of the Twelve Olympians. The golden fleece was defended by bulls with hoofs of breath of fire, it was guarded by a never sleeping dragon with teeth which could become soldiers when planted in the ground.
The dragon was at the foot of the tree. Pindar employed the quest for the Golden Fleece in his Fourth Pythian Ode, though the fleece is not in the foreground; when Aeetes challenges Jason to yoke the fire-breathing bulls, the fleece is the prize: "Let the King do this, the captain of the ship! Let him do this, I say, have for his own the immortal coverlet, the fleece, glowing with matted skeins of gold". In versions of the story, the ram is said to have been the offspring of the sea god Poseidon and Themisto; the classic telling is the Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes, composed in the mid-third century BC Alexandria, recasting early sources that have not survived. Another, much less-known Argonautica, using the same body of myth, was composed in Latin by Valerius Flaccus during the time of Vespasian. Where the written sources fail, through accidents of history, sometimes the continuity of a mythic tradition can be found among the vase-painters; the story of the Golden Fleece appeared to have little resonance for Athenians of the Classic age, for only two representations of it on Attic-painted wares of the fifth century have been identified: a krater at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a kylix in the Vatican collections.
In the kylix painted by Douris, ca 480-470, Jason is being disgorged from the mouth of the dragon, a detail that does not fit into the literary sources. Jason's helper in the Athenian vase-paintings is not Medea— who had a history in Athens as the opponent of Theseus— but Athena; the early origin of the myth in preliterate times means that during the more than a millennium when it was to some degree part of the fabric of culture, its perceived significance passed through numerous developments. Several euhemeristic attempts to interpret the Golden Fleece "realistically" as reflecting some physical cultural object or alleged historical practice have been made. For example, in the 20th century, some scholars suggested that the story of the Golden Fleece signified the bringing of sheep husbandry to Greece from the east. A more widespread interpretation relates the myth of the fleece to a method of washing gold from streams, well attested in the region of Georgia to the east of the Black Sea. Sheep fleeces, sometimes stretched over a wood frame, would be submerged in the stream, gold flecks borne down from upstream placer deposits would collect in them.
The fleeces would be hung in trees to dry before the gold was combed out. Alternatively, the fleeces would be used on washing tables in alluvial mining of gold or on washing tables at deep gold mines. Judging by the early gold objects from a range of cultures, washing for gold is a old human activity. Strabo describes the way in which gold could be washed: "It is said that in their country gold is carried down by the mountain torrents, that the barbarians obtain it by means of perforated troughs and fleecy skins, that this is the origin of the myth of the golden fleece—unless they call them Iberians, by the same name as the western Iberians, from the gold mines in both countries." Another interpretation is based on the references in some versions to purple