Greek Mythology : Medusa

greek mythology medusa
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greek mythology medusa

Medusa was a golden haired beauty before she became one of the most popular monsters of Greek Mythology.  She vowed to live her life in celibacy as a priestess of Athena. But she fell in love with Poseidon. She then broke her vow to Athena to marry him.

Athena was furious and she punished Medusa with the most hideous punishment imaginable. She turned Medusa into an ugly hag by making her eyes bloodshot and raging and turn her face into ugliness. Her once lovely hair was morphed into poisonous, dangerous snakes and her pure white milky skin was turned into a scary green hue. From then on she roamed, shamed, shunned and loathed by everyone.

Hence, by Athena’s curse anyone that would look into her eyes would turn into stone.

Interesting Facts About Medusa

  • Medusa’s sisters were immortal but she was mortal.
  • Medusa wandered in Africa for some time. Legend says while she was there baby snakes dropped from her head and this is why there are so many snakes in Africa.
  • Many artists created art works of Medusa.
  • Leonardo da Vinci did a fascinating painting of her using oil on canvas.
  • She was also made into marble and bronze sculptures.
  • From c. 200 B.C.: In Pompeii’s House of the Faun, Medusa was on the breastplate of Alexander The Great in the Alexander Mosaic.
  • The flag and emblem of Sicily also features her head.
  • Two species of snakes contain her name: the venomous pitviper Bothriopsis medusa and the nonvenomous snake called Atractus medusa.
  • Medusa represents philosophy, beauty and art.
  • The Medusa head is part of fashion designer Gianni Versace’s symbol.
  • Perseus, the hero, slayed Medusa by viewing her in the reflection of the mirrored shield of Athena. Perseus then beheaded her. At that moment Chrysaor, the giant with a golden sword, and the winged horse Pegasus sprang forth from her body. These are her two sons.
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The story goes that Hercules acquired a lock of Medusa’s hair from Athena and gave it to the daughter of Cepheus, Sterope, to protect the town of Tegea from being attacked. Her hair held the same powers as her head so that when it was exposed it caused a storm which chased away the foes.

Medusa is one of the most famous characters of Greek mythology. She is not only immortalized in stories but also in history. She is immediately recognizable – a classical figure and a most elevating symbol of a monster.

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