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This page is part of the "tools" section of a site, Plato and his dialogues, dedicated to developing a new interpretation of Plato's dialogues. The "tools" section provides historical and geographical context (chronology, maps, entries on characters and locations) for Socrates, Plato and their time. By clicking on the minimap at the beginning of the entry, you can go to a full size map in which the city or location appears. For more information on the structure of entries and links available from them, read the notice at the beginning of the index of persons and locations.
City of Colchis, at the mouth of the river by the
same name (today's Rion, in the Republic of Georgia), along the eastern shore
of the Black Sea, at the foot of Caucasus (area 8).
Phasis was the capital of the kingdom of Æetes, a son of Helios (the Sun), and the brother of Circe (the enchantress who detained Ulysses for a year) and of Pasiphae (the wife of Minos, the king of Crete). Æetes was king of Corinth before he left for Colchis, a country east of the Black Sea, at the foot of Caucasus, to become king of Æa. There he became the keeper of the Golden Fleece after offering hospitality to Phrixus, the son of Athamas, king of Coronea, fleeing the attempts by his stepmother Ino to have him killed. Phrixus had fled on a flying ram with a golden fleece given him by his mother Nephele, who owed it to Hermes. When he arrived in Colchis, Æetes was hospitable to him and gave him his daughter Chalchiope for wife. In thanksgiving, Phrixus sacrificed the ram to Zeus and gave his golden fleece to Æetes, who dedicated it to Ares by tying it to an oak in the god's sacred domain. This is the fleece that Jason, along with the Argonauts, later came to claim at the request of his uncle Pelias, king of Iolcos. Phrixus had four sons. The first born was called Argos and is sometimes identified with the builder of the Argo, the boat that gave the Argonauts their name. In other traditions, Argos and his brothers tried to sail back to Coronea to reclaim the throne of their grandfather Athamas and, after a shipwreck, were rescued by the Argonauts and returned to Greece with them. Or Argos met Jason at the court of Æetes and introduced him to Medea, Æetes' daughter, and later returned to Greece with the Argonauts.
For Herodotus, the river Phasis marked the boundary between Europe north and Asia south (Histories, IV, 45).