A frequent Masonic question is “What is the legend of the Golden Fleece and what
is its relation to the lambskin apron and Roman Eagle?”
The legend of the Golden Fleece has been handed down from time immemorial.
Mythology tells us that the Golden Fleece was supposed by the Greeks to be hidden
in a remote land far across the trackless sea. This precious fleece grew upon the back
of a ram, the gift of one of their gods. The ram was constantly guarded by bulls that
breathed fire and by a dragon that never slept.
The promise to the Greeks was (so fable went) that if they could find and recover the
Golden Fleece and bring it to Greece, wealth and prosperity would abound in that
country. The hope of redeeming that promise led to the formation of an order which
embraced in its membership many of the most illustrious men of that period, who
were called Argonauts from the name of the ship, Argo, on which they sailed.
Tradition is replete with the daring deeds and suffering of those men in the cause in
which they enlisted. The badge of the order was the symbol of a Golden Fleece.
At a later, though still ancient, period there was formed among the Romans an order
that embraced only those renowned in war. Its symbol was the Roman Eagle. Of these
two orders, the object of one was worldly wealth; the object of the other was military
glory. Both orders have faded from the face of the earth, as surely will perish all
orders founded on sordid or vain desires.
But allegedly more ancient than the order of the Golden Fleece or that of the Roman
Eagle is the order whose badge is a lambskin or white leather apron, whose aim is
innocence and purity of life, and whose object is charity. That this order,
Freemasonry, has survived, while all others have perished, teaches us that if we live
in accordance with its tenets, we, too, shall persevere.