Phrixus was the son of King Athamas of Boeotia and Nephele, a minor goddess. He had a twin sister named Helle; both of them were hated by their stepmother Ino, who made a scheme to get rid of them. She took all crop seeds in the region and roasted them, so that they wouldn't grow. When the farmers went into despair for not being able to grow their crops, they decided to ask the oracle for advice. Ino bribed the men who were sent to the oracle, and told them to say that the oracle asked for the sacrifice of Phrixus and Helle. As the twins were about to be sacrificed, their mother sent a flying, golden ram to save them. During the flight, though, Helle looked towards the earth, lost her balance and fell into the sea below, where she drowned; since then, that particular area has been called Hellespont (sea of Helle). Phrixus continued flying and eventually reached Colchis, where he was kindly accepted by King Aeetes, and gave his daughter Chalciope as his bride. Grateful, Phrixus sacrificed the ram to Zeus and offered the golden fleece to Aeetes, who took it and placed it in a garden to be guarded by a never-sleeping dragon. This golden fleece was the object of desire for Jason, who later organised the Argonautic Expedition to retrieve it.
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