Prologue; the Greeks sail/row to Colchis

Before 1300 B.C. [the time the legend was first told], humans were mating with gods, and kings were of mixed god/human descent. The rightful heir to the throne of the city-state of Iolcus [now Volos, Thessaly] was killed by his half-brother Pelias, who then killed all the descendants he could find. He missed Jason, who had been hidden by his mother. At the age of 20, Jason confronted Pelias, to reclaim his father’s throne. Pelias, whose father was the sea-god Poseidon, agreed on the condition that Jason brought him the Golden Fleece from the faraway land of Colchis, thought to be an impossible task.

The following excerpts are from Jason and the Argonauts: understood that the journey to Colchis would be long and arduous…so he had built built the largest and sturdiest ship the ancient Greeks had ever seen, a ship that could withstand the ravages of the open sea. Built of oak and pine and over 22 meters in length, the ship had fifty oars and a low draught that allowed her to approach shallow waters without floundering. The construction was such that the mast, the rudder, the anchor and the oars could be removed and the ship then hauled ashore on cylindrical logs. This was significant, since it would prevent the ship from being destroyed or stolen….When the ship was ready, Jason asked the strongest Greek men to accompany him in his journey and in fact the prospect of a great adventure brought many to sail with him. Numbering fifty, the list of heroes was astounding.” After many adventures “Seeing that Jason was about to approach Colchis, Goddess Hera realized he would need help. For this, she chose Medea, the daughter of King Aeetes, a skilled sorceress and high-priestess of the temple of Hecate, Goddess of magic and witchcraft. Hera knew that Jason would need Medea to weave her magic not only here, but in Iolcus as well. She told Aphrodite to send her son Eros to make Jason and Medea fall in love…..Landing safely on the banks of the river Phasis, the Argonauts went ashore and decided to make their way to the city of Aia, to the court of King Aeetes of Colchis….the King became furious when Jason announced he had come to Colchis only to take the Golden Fleece.He consented, only if Jason beat the fire-breathing bronze-hoofed bulls guarding the Golden Fleece and made them plough a field in which he was to sow the dragon’s teeth. These seeds would turn into warriors that he would have to defeat afterwards. Jason agreed, though not too readily….Suspecting her father would do something evil, Medea informed Jason and agreed to help him steal the Golden Fleece, only if he took her away with him. Jason consented to take her away from her father and also to marry her. The Golden Fleece was nailed to a tree in a small garden and guarded by the Sleepless Dragon. Orpheus, the great music player who was one of the Argonauts, and Medea, in a concerted effort of music and sorcery, put the beast to sleep while Jason quietly took the Golden Fleece. They rushed back to the Argo and immediately set sail, for they knew King Aeetes would chase them once he found out their treachery.

Though Jason, the Argonauts, and Medea may be myth, Colchis, land of the Golden Fleece, is not. It is an earlier name for what English speakers call Georgia.

Colchis, Mingrelia, become Georgia

Caption: Colchis or Kolkhis (Georgian and Laz: კოლხეთი, ǩolxeti or “ǩolxa” ; Greek: Κολχίς, Kolkhís) was an ancient Georgian, state, kingdom and region in Western Georgia, which played an important role in the ethnic and cultural formation of the Georgian nation and its related groups. The Kingdom of Colchis as an early Georgian state contributed significantly to the development of medieval Georgian statehood after its unification with the eastern Georgian Kingdom of Iberia-Kartli. The term Colchians is used as the collective term for early Georgian tribes which populated the eastern coast of the Black Sea. Its geography is mostly assigned to what is now the western part of Georgia. Colchis was in Greek mythology the home of Aeëtes and Medea and the destination of the Argonauts, as well as being the possible homeland of the Amazons. This ancient area is represented roughly by the present-day Georgian provinces of Samegrelo, Imereti, Guria, Atchara, Abkhazeti, Svaneti, Racha, the modern Turkey’s Rize, Trabzon and Artvin provinces (Lazistan, Tao-klarjeti) and the modern Russia’s Sochi and Tuapse districts.
This guy can be annoying, but he displays an amazing amount of information.

The Caucasus region is the richest ethnic and cultural mosaic in the world. Here in the wild mountains that stand between the Caspian and Black Seas 68 quite distinct dialects are spoken.
Regions of Georgia

Music of Georgia

Ethnomusicologist John A. Graham is interviewed by Byrne Power, who compiled this collection of answers to the following questions about Georgian traditional folk and sacred music: 1. What are the salient features of Georgian music? 2. What are some of its peculiarities? 3. Where can a first time visitor hear this music? 4. What are the contexts in which this music is sung? Discussion cues and music examples: 0:38​ Uniqueness of Georgian traditional music 1:40​ Polyphonic practice 2:54​ How old is Georgian music 5:36​ What is a Georgian supra 6:54​ Kakhetian feasting song (MUSIC EXAMPLE) 7:51​ Singing in church 8:55​ Zarzma monks chanting (MUSIC EXAMPLE) 9:48​ Singing at funerals 11:12​ Svanetian funeral lament (MUSIC EXAMPLE) 12:24​ Liturgical chant 13:48​ Church chant: Shen khar venakhi (MUSIC EXAMPLE) 15:15​ East Georgian folk music 15:50​ East Georgia: Mravalzhamier kakhuri (MUSIC EXAMPLE) 16:43​ West Georgian folk music 17:24​ West Georgia: Chven Mshvidoba (MUSIC EXAMPLE) 19:51​ Urban songs 20:50​ Urban song (MUSIC EXAMPLE) 21:41​ Similarities with other folk music 23:00​ Panduri instrument song (MUSIC EXAMPLE) 23:52​ Where to find Georgian music.

A link to examples of Georgian music.

Modern Georgian folklore doesn’t take itself too seriously.

ORIONI Acharuli http://
Group-Shara ;Song-Dzabrale (Megrelian dream)


John Uhlemann wrote: I fell in love with Georgian music some years ago, and it led to two trips there. I greatly appreciated the lecture by john Graham – learning that language was not easy. I am attaching the URl for a video I did of street scenes in Tbilisi (with some shots of the outdoor folk museum) using one of my favorite songs done by the ensemble Ialoni , who I met and interviewed. Enjoy –

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