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In Greek mythology Medusa ("guardian, protectress") was a monster, a Gorgon, generally described as having the face of a hideous human female with living venomous snakes in place of hair. Gazing directly upon her would turn onlookers to stone. Most sources describe her as the daughter of Phorcys and Ceto, though the author Hyginus (Fabulae, 151) interposes a generation and gives Medusa another chthonic pair as parents.
KETO (or Ceto) was a marine goddess who personified the dangers of the sea. She was more specifically a goddess of whales, large sharks, and sea-monsters Phorcys is a god of the hidden dangers of the deep. He is a primordial sea god, generally cited (first in Hesiod) as the son of Pontus and Gaia. Phorcys and Ceto, Roman mosaic, Bardo Museum
Medusa in classical mythology The Gorgones were three powerful, winged daemons named Medousa (Medusa), Sthenno and Euryale, of the three sisters only Medousa was mortal. While ancient Greek vase-painters and relief carvers imagined Medusa and her sisters as beings born of monstrous form, sculptors and vase-painters of the fifth century began to envisage her as being beautiful as well as terrifying.
In a late version of the Medusa myth, related by the Roman poet Ovid (Metamorphoses 4.770), Medusa was originally a ravishingly beautiful maiden. The gorgon sisters when their beauty were even envied by Athena
Medusa in Greek Mythology Medusa, originally a beautiful young woman whose crowning glory was her magnificent long hair, was desired and courted by many suitors. Yet before she could be betrothed to a husband, Poseidon found her worshipping in the temple of Athena (Minerva) and ravished her.
Athena was outraged at her sacred temple being violated, and punished Medusa by turning her beautiful tresses into snakes and giving her the destructive power to turn anyone who looked directly at her into stone.
In both Greek and Roman mythology, Perseus, attempting to rescue his mother Danae from the coercive King Polydectes, needed to embark on the dangerous venture of retrieving Medusa's head. With the help of Athena and Hermes - magic winged sandals, a cap, a pouch and a mirror-like shield, he fought her and beheaded her by viewing her image in the mirror of his shield rather than looking at her directly.
In his conquest, he received a mirrored shield from Athena, gold, winged sandals from Hermes, a sword from Hephaestus and Hades's helm of invisibility.
From her decapitated head sprang the winged horse Pegasus and the giant Chrysaor, who became king of Iberia. Medusa's sisters, the Gorgons, chased after him, but were unable to catch him because his magic cap made him invisible.
) Euryale (The Far-Springer)
Stheno (The Mighty)
Perseus was then able to use Medusa's head as a weapon during other battles (which included rescuing Andromeda), but he eventually returned it to Athena, who then placed it at the center of her Aegis as a symbol of her power, and her own capacity to turn her enemies into stone.
Perseus and King Polydectes
Historically, before ancient Greece, Medusa was worshipped by the Libyan Amazons as a Serpent -Goddess, and associated with the destroyer aspect Anath (also known as Athene) of the Triple Goddess in North Africa and Crete. The name Medusa (Medha in Sanscrit, Metis in Greek and Maat in Egyptian) means "sovereign female wisdom."
Medusa in art Medusa on the breastplate of Alexander the Great, as depicted in the Alexander Mosaic from Pompeii's House of the Faun (c. 200 BC) Medusa column bases of Basilica Cistern in Constantinople. Alexander the Great
The sideways Medusa, rotated 90 degrees.
The "Rondanini Medusa", a Roman copy of the Gorgoneion on the aegis of Athena; later used as a model for the Gorgon's head in Antonio Canova's marble Perseus with the Head of Medusa (1798â€“1801) Rondanini Medusa
Medusa (oil on canvas) by Caravaggio (1597)
Perseus with the Head of Medusa (bronze sculpture) by Benvenuto Cellini (1554)
Medusa is played by a countertenor in Jean-Baptiste Lully and Philippe Quinault's opera, PersĂŠe (1682). She sings the aria "J'ay perdu la beautĂŠ qui me rendit si vaine."
Medusa (marble bust) by Gianlorenzo Bernini (1630s)
Perseus Turning Phineus and his Followers to Stone (oil on canvas) by Luca Giordano (early 1680s).
Medusa (oil on canvas) by Arnold Bรถcklin (c. 1878)
Perseus with the Head of Medusa (marble sculpture) by Antonio Canova (1801)
Medusa remained a common theme in art in the nineteenth century, when her myth was retold in Thomas Bulfinch's Mythology. Edward Burne-Jones' Perseus Cycle of paintings and a drawing by Aubrey Beardsley gave way to the twentieth century works of Paul Klee, John Singer Sargent, Pablo Picasso, Pierre et Gilles, and Auguste Rodin's bronze sculpture The Gates of Hell.
In flags and emblems The head of Medusa is featured on some regional symbols.
Municipal coat of arms of Dohalice village
Flag of Sicily
Medusa has sometimes appeared as representing notions of scientific determinism and nihilism, especially in contrast with romantic idealism. In this interpretation of Medusa, attempts to avoid looking into her eyes represent avoiding the ostensibly depressing reality that the universe is meaningless.