Medusa is perhaps the most popular being of Greek Mythology. But what is it that makes her so popular? In this article, we are going to read about Medusa from Greek Mythology and some terrifying facts related to her. There is barely anyone who has not seen her face at least once – be it in movies like Clash of Titans, Percy Jackson, in clothes of brands like Versace, video games like God of War, and Assassin’s Creed, graphic art books, or TV. It is because the head of Medusa has a special place in the modern imagination. People, who are keen about or involved with art, are aware of Medusa because of paintings and sculptures. Some consider Medusa as a symbol of fearless femininity and others consider it as a nightmarish villain. Medusa never stops inspiring and fascinating people.

Medusa was Raped

Greek mythology is fascinating but to go through it as a woman is terrifying. Before turning into the monster with a head full of snakes, Medusa was a young and attractive woman. Unfortunately, her beauty became the object of Poseidon’s desire. According to the Roman poet Ovid, Poseidon raped Medusa inside the temple of Athena. A lot of scholars argue if the incident was consensual. Greek sources never talk about Medusa being raped; only Ovid talks about the sea god violating the beautiful Medusa, but not everyone agrees with his translation.

Medusa from Greek Mythology and some Terrifying Facts
Medusa from Greek Mythology and some Terrifying Facts

Athena and Medusa

Athena turned Medusa into a monster. A monster that you cannot look at, the moment you stare you will turn into a stone. The hair of the beautiful woman which once attracted compliments now becomes venomous serpents. Medusa became a Gorgon. Medusa was one of the three Gorgons. She had two sisters Euryale and Stheno, and their parents named Phorcys and Keto. Not a lot of information is available about the Gorgons other than that Medusa was mortal and her sisters were not. Although there is no explanation of Gorgons’ looks, ancient artists depicted them as similar to Medusa.

Athena had a grudge against Medusa and needless to say she was not gratified even after punishing her and changing her into a monster. So, when Perseus was tasked to bring Medusa’s head to king Polydektes, Athena willingly offered her help. Perseus successfully killed slain Medusa, but Athena was the true mastermind.

Perseus and Medusa

After killing Medusa, when Perseus was traveling back with her head to present it to Polydektes, the king of Seriphos, he faced a lot of obstacles. A lot of adventures that threatened Perseus’ life were cured with the help of Medusa’s head. The first time he used it against Atlas, which led to the formation of Atlas Mountain which is in Africa. He used it to kill monster Keto and one suitor of Andromeda named Pinus, as Perseus fell in love with Andromeda. When Perseus finally came back to Seriphos, he raised Gorgon Medusa’s head and killed king Polydektes who had tried to marry Danae, Perseus’ mother against her will.

Medusa from Greek Mythology and some Terrifying Facts
Medusa from Greek Mythology and some Terrifying Facts

Medusa’s Appearance

There are several tales of Medusa from Archaic Greece to Late Antiquity. They do not have different storylines but they also have varied descriptions of Medusa’s appearance. During the 2nd CE century, Apollodorus writes that the Gorgons have golden wings and tusks. Still, the best description of Medusa is an ancient art. According to Stephen Wilk, who wrote about Medusa believes that the gorgoneion was a typical representation of the dead. From the Hellenistic period onwards, the imagination of Medusa changed in the eyes of artists. They depicted Medusa as a woman with snakes in her hair and slightly different eyes. Through 20th and 21st century visual art, modern people view Medusa as a beautiful woman.

Medusa and Pegasus

When Medusa was raped by Poseidon she got pregnant but for some cause she never gave birth. But when Perseus removed Medusa’s head two children came out from the opening – Chrysaor and Pegasus. The fact that Pegasus was a winged horse implies that he was the son of Poseidon as Poseidon was amongst others, the god of horses.

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