In Greek mythology, Medusa the guardian and protectress was a monster, a Gorgon, generally described as a human female with living venomous snakes in place of hair. Gazers upon her face would turn to stone.
The Greek Gorgon
Guardian and Protectress
He is a winged divine stallion
usually depicted as pure white
English translation.. “He who has a golden sword”
Depicted as a fish-tailed
merman with crab claw fore
legs and red-spiked skin
A primordial sea goddess
1 The Hesperides”Daughters of the Evening”
English translation.. “forceful”
A vicious female monsters with brass hands
sharp fangs and “hair” made of living
The second eldest of the Gorgons
A Large female monsters with brass hands
sharp fangs and “hair” made of living
Three sisters who shared one eye
and one tooth among them. Their
names were Deino (or Dino), Enyo
and Pemphredo (or Pephredo).
A sea nymph associated with swiftness
A monster that lived on one side
of a narrow channel of water,
opposite her counterpart Charybdis.
sailors attempting to avoid
Charybdis would pass dangerously
close to Scylla and vice versa.
Ladon was the serpent-like dragon
that twined and twisted around the
tree in the Garden of the Hesperides
and guarded the golden apples. He
was overcome by Heracles.
Medusa was the only one of the Gorgon triplets who was mortal. She was proud of her beauty, she had golden hair and ivory skin.
Medusa was a priestess to the goddess Athena, the virgin goddess of wisdom and battle. One requirement to be a priestess for Athena is that the young woman must be a virgin and live her life for the goddess.
Many of Medusa’s suitors remained content to simply admire her beauty from a distance. Since she had taken a vow to serve Athena, she was considered off limits to the men who pursued her. However, that all changed when she caught Poseidon’s eye.
One day Poseidon followed her to the temple of Athena and forced himself upon her.
Medusa prayed to Athena for guidance and forgiveness. Athena looked down in anger and cursed Medusa for betraying her.
She turned Medusa into an ugly creature like that of her sisters, her face became haglike her once lovely hair was morphed into poisonous, dangerous snakes. Her pure white milky skin turned scaly and green.
Medusa was banished from civilization to an island named Sarpedon, somewhere near Cisthene.
She took her revenge on the men that were sent to kill her. Anybody who took one step on her island were marked now for death, one look at her face would turn them to stone.
King Polydectes of Seriphus sent Perseus to return with Medusa’s head so that Polydectes could marry his mother. The gods aided Perseus in his quest and he was sent golden winged sandals from Hermes, Hades’ helm of invisibility, a sword from Hephaestus and a mirrored shield from Athena.
Perseus used Hermes winged sandals to glide over the ground without making a noise and Hades’ helm of invisibility to get close to Medusa without being seen.
Medusa lashed out with her tail and knocked Perseus over he could not reach the helm of invisibility, he hid behind a pillar.
He used Athena’s shield to see
Medusa without looking directly at her, he then used the sword of Hephaestus to slice off her head, he then placed the head in a sack.
Her two sons Chrysaor, the giant with a golden sword, and the winged horse Pegasus sprang forth from her dead body.
On the way back to Seriphos Island Perseus stopped in the kingdom of Aethiopia. This mythical Ethiopia was ruled by King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia
Cassiopeia, having boasted her daughter Andromeda equal in beauty to the Nereids, drew the vengeance of Poseidon, who sent an inundation on the land and a sea serpent, Cetus, which destroyed man and beast
The oracle of Ammon announced that no relief would be found until the king exposed his daughter Andromeda to the monster, and so she was fastened naked to a rock on the shore.
Perseus slew the monster and setting her free, claimed her in marriage.
Perseus then returned his magical loans and gave Medusa’s head as a votive gift to Athena, who set it on Zeus’ shield (which she carried) as the Gorgoneion.
Asclepius was a demigod, born of a divine father,Apollo, and a mortal mother, Coronis. As Coronis’ body lay burning on the funeral pyre, Apollo performed the first Caesarian section freeing the baby Asclepius from his mother’s womb and certain death
Apollo then took the infant to be raised by the wise old centaur Chiron who taught him the art of healing. The goddess Athena gave Asclepius the gift of Medusa’s blood.
The blood from the veins on the left side of Medusa’s head was for the bane of mankind, but Asclepius used the blood from the veins on the right side for saving mankind and for raising the dead.
Asclepius’ raising of the dead aroused the wrath of Zeus, he struck Asclepius dead with one of his thunderbolts, fearing the spread of his miraculous art of healing, especially into the wrong hands.
Despite the rumors of his death, Asclepius became a living god. Healing sanctuaries, or Asclepions, were dedicated to him at sacred sites throughout ancient Greece.
Sterope was a daughter of Cepheus king of Tegea in Arcadia. She received from Heracles,a lock of the Gorgon Medusa’s hair to help her protect her hometown, Tegea from attack thus the hero won Cepheus’ friendship.
Medusa on the breastplate of Alexander the Great, as depicted in the Alexander Mosaic from Pompeii’s House of the Faun
Medusa column bases of
Basilica Cistern in
The “Rondanini Medusa”, a Roman copy
of the Gorgoneion on the aegis of Athena
Medusa (oil on canvas) by Leonardo da Vinci
Perseus with the Head of Medusa
(bronze sculpture) by Benvenuto
Perseus and Medusa – bronze statue by Hubert Gerhard c.(1590)
Medusa (oil on canvas) by Caravaggio (1597)
Head of Medusa, by Peter Paul Rubens (1618)
Medusa (marble bust) by Gianlorenzo Bernini (1630s)
Perseus Turning Phineus and his Followers
to Stone (oil on canvas) by Luca Giordano
Perseus with the Head of Medusa (marble sculpture)
by Antonio Canova (1801)
Medusa (1854), marble sculpture by Harriet Hosmer
collection of the Detroit Institute of Art
Medusa (oil on canvas) by Arnold Böcklin (c. 1878)
Perseus (bronze sculpture) by Salvador Dalí
Flag of Sicily
In Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief,
Medusa is a minor antagonist who is killed
by Percy Jackson (using a shield to avoid
her paralyzing stare). He is successful
because although Medusa hates Athena’s
daughter, Annabeth Chase, she still loves
Poseidon (Percy’s father).
In The Son of Neptune, her sisters
Stheno and Euryale are servants of Gaea
intent on killing Percy in retaliation
for his murder of their sister.
In The Mark of Athena, the Gorgons’
parents (Phorcys and Keto) and Medusa’s
son (Chrysaor) are antagonists.
The Gorgon is Natasi Daala’s
flagship in Kevin J. Anderson’s
Jedi Academy Trilogy.
In S.J Kinciad’s Insignia series,
Medusa, the code-name for a
Russo-Chinese Combatant, is
used as a description for the
girl behind the name. The name
is particularly apt, for the
Combatant’s face is permanently
marked with scars and destroyed
flesh, terrifying men.
A Gorgon is a villain in an
episode of the TV series Blood
Ties, where her transformation
is the result of her having
been raped in a temple she
becomes a monster as punishment
for defiling the temple, and
now turns men to stone if they
come too close to her emotionally
Medusa (played by Jemima Rooper) appears
in the BBC One series Atlantis before she
became a Gorgon. She was initially an ally
of Jason and a love interest for Hercules
but Jason was warned that Medusa’s destiny
as a monster was inevitable.
In the 1968 Doctor Who story The
Mind Robber, the Second Doctor and
his companions (Jamie McCrimmon and
Zoe Heriot) travel to the Land of
Fiction. In a Labyrinth the Doctor
and Zoe encounter Medusa
The Gorgons also appear in the
Doctor Who spin-off series The Sarah
Jane Adventures, with Elizabeth Sladen
as former companion Sarah Jane Smith.
In Monster High, she has a son named
Deuce Gorgon. He wears sunglasses to not
turn his friends into stone.
Medusa made an appearance in the
fantasy-drama series Once Upon a Time
in the episode The New Neverland.
This version is for some reason
present in the Enchanted Forest
and was killed by Snow White
during her honeymoon with
In the 2013 entry for the Kamen
Rider series, Kamen Rider Wizard,
Medusa exists as a Phantom born from
the body of Misa Inamori, the twin
sister of Mayu Inamori. She is one
of two Phantoms tasked by Wiseman
to create more Phantoms
The myth of the Gorgon was the
basis for the 1964 Hammer horror
film, The Gorgon, which “abandoned
the traditional myth entirely and
tried to tell a new story”.
In the Italian sword and sandal
comedy Arrivano I Titani, a Gorgon
appears performed by an uncredited
actress wearing live snakes in her hair.
Medusa was a character in the 1981 film,
Clash of the Titans, Although “the essential
story sticks closer to its sources than any
other interpretation”, the film takes creative
liberties and Medusa’s biology differs from
“any previous representations, ancient
Medusa is also featured in the 2010
remake of the film, with her face
appearing human until it contorts
as she turns her victims to stone
Medusa appears in the film, Percy Jackson
& the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (played
by Uma Thurman), where she attacks Percy
Jackson and his friends as they are looking
for the Pearl of Persephone in her garden
In the film Miss Peregrine’s Home for
Peculiar Children, the two masked twins’
“peculiarity” is revealed to be that they
are Gorgons, with serpentine faces and
the ability to petrify.
Medusa the Gorgon
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