Khalkotauroi

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Jason taming the Khalkotauri in a painting by Jean François de Troy

The Khalkotauroi[pronunciation?] (tauroi khalkeoi, "bronze bulls") are mythical creatures that appear in the Greek myth of Jason and the Golden Fleece.

Mythology[edit]

The Khalkotauroi are two immense bulls with bronze hooves, and bronze mouths through which they breathe fire. In the Argonautica, Jason is promised the prized fleece by King Aeetes if he can first yoke the Khalkotauroi and use them to plough a field. The field was then to be sown with dragon's teeth.

Jason survived the burning flames of the bronze bulls by smoking in a magical potion that protected him from the heat. The potion had been provided by Medea, King Aeetes' own daughter, who had fallen in love with Jason.

The Khalkotauroi were a gift to King Aeetes from the Greek gods' blacksmith, Hephaestus.

He Hephaistos had also made for him Aeetes king of Kolkhis Bulls with feet of bronze the Khalkotauroi and bronze mouths from which the breath came out in flame, blazing and terrible. And he had forged a plough of indurated steel, all in one piece.

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 3.215

In popular culture[edit]

  • Nick Willing's version of Jason and the Argonauts features a creature known as the Menaian Bull, a somewhat part-bull part-machine, which Jason has to tame. This version, however, does breathe fire and is used to plow the fields by Jason. The sown dragon's teeth growing in to armoured skeletons.

See also[edit]