It is also known that two drops of her blood were placed in a vial. Medusa was carrying the children of the god Poseidon and when Perseus strikes off her head they are released: the winged horse Pegasus and her human son Chrysaor. In that usage, the image of Medusa as a woman who can petrify men takes a more negative connotation than it does in feminist circles. Hesiod said they flicked their tongues, much like snakes. Her beauty caught the eye of Poseidon, who desired her and … This was the last mention of Sthenno and Euryale in mythology. He challenged the young man to kill Medusa and bring back her head. Athena took her anger out on Medusa. Another one of Pegasus’ powers is that he is known to have been able to make magical and inspiring fountains and springs come up from the Earth whenever he struck his hooves against the ground. As Perseus fled the cave, however, he and the Gorgons were no longer alone. Her features softened. Even this was not the end of the story for Medusa’s head, however. Realising what has happened, Medusa's two immortal sisters take to the air to find the killer. Medusa was the daughter of Phorcys and Ceto (though some sources claim Gorgon is her father). Once a renowned beauty, Medusa was now so horrifying that any man who looked upon her would be turned to stone. As soon as Perseus cuts off Medusa’s head, her two children are born. The loops and curves of a snake’s body have always been a favorite subject in art for this reason, and the figure of Medusa provided many of them for the artist to show off their skill. According to him, as the only mortal Gorgon, Medusa was also the only one not born a monster. This power is likely enabled by Pegasus’ lineage (as he is a son of Poseidon). Her mother, Ceto, was also a primordial sea goddess. Writhing snakes were entwining her head in place of hair. Seeking a way to get her grown son out of the way, sent Perseus on a seemingly impossible quest. Still portrayed as a human woman, albeit with an increasingly thick nest of snakes on her hair, Medusa became a symbol of the Jacobin faction. Their anger for being wrongfully punished made them turn against the mortals of the world in spite – they would all go on to kill many men, though Stheno would be the most vengeful of the three. You can read a prose summary of Perseus’ quest for Medusa’s head in Apollodorus’ “Library.” For a poetic account, see the ending of the fourth book of Ovid’s “Metamorphoses.” Naturally, Medusa’s genealogy is described in full in Hesiod’s “Theogony.”, See Also: Perseus, Adventures of Perseus, Pegasus, Gorgons, Phorcys, Keto. Athena offered to help the hero on his quest. Medusa was the only one of the three who could ever be killed. Freud compared Medusa as a fair maiden to the image of a mother in the eyes of the innocent before a young boy had seen adult female genitals. In fact, her head went on to inspire one of the most powerful talisman of it’s time – the Gorgoneion. Perseus later gave the head to Athena, who affixed it to her shield. Her face was so hideous and her gaze so piercing that the mere sight of her was sufficient to turn a man to stone. He holds the head up to Atlas’ gaze – who is immediately transformed into a mountain. The blood and gore that dripped from her neck were portrayed in graphic detail. Among the many historical figures to become fascinated with Medusa’s story was Sigmund Freud. On his journeys, he came across the Titan Atlas holding the world on his back and used the head to turn him to stone. The carefully modelled anatomy of the horse and the draped figure of Medusa are inspired by Greek sculpture. Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones (1833-1898) The Death of Medusa II Realising what has happened, Medusa's two immortal sisters take to the air to find the killer. In contrast to the previous cartoon this is largely finished and is one of the most striking compositions in the series. Medusa was carrying the children of the god Poseidon and when Perseus strikes off her head they are released: the winged horse Pegasus and her human son Chrysaor. Athena used it to terrify her enemies and even a crude representation of it could strike fear into evil spirits and malicious beings. King Polydictes wished to marry Danae but Perseus, by then an adult, opposed the union of his mother and the untrustworthy king. OPENING TIMES The story of Medusa’s punishment following her rape by Poseidon has a much different meaning in the modern world than it did in Greek times. She was killed by Zeus before he fought his father and the Titans for power. Two hundred soldiers were turned to stone, including at least one of his own men who accidentally looked at the artefact. Perseus stood still, both enthralled and terrified. The Hesperides, a sisterhood of nymphs, were guardians of a wondrous garden at the edge of the world. It was after the French Revolution that the Gorgon herself began to take on more heroic connotations. It was after the Gorgon sisters were wrongfully punished by Athena that their horrific transformation really began. Perseus could not look at Medusa or he would be turned to stone. Because her head was placed on Athena’s shield (the Aegis) and her blood was revealed to hold the power of both life and death, Medusa’s head became a symbol of protection. Medusa’s body was often shown as abnormally large and disproportionate. The earliest versions of the Gorgons connected them to sharp reefs and the storms that could drive ships onto them. Rape was often a feature of Greek mythology, as much as the stories hide it in terms of seduction and marriage. Though Medusa was known to be a desirable young maiden, she decided to pledge herself to Athena – the goddess she considered to be the most powerful of all those who resided on Mount Olympus. In addition to the serpents on their heads, they had tusks like boars, lolling tongues, and bulging eyes. From Hephaestus (the god of blacksmiths and metal workers) he receives a sword. Some stories say that there was one more unnamed Gorgon who was older than the others. This was partially because of her great beauty and partially because she was serving his rival – Athena. In art, Medusa and her sisters had every terrifying feature the Greeks could imagine. The parents of Medusa were Phorcys and Keto. The hero drew his sword, prepared to fight, but realized she was nothing more than a hollow wraith. The second treasure was the magical helmet of Hades, given to him by the Cyclops in the Titanomachy. Fighting the Ethiopian king Phineus, Perseus used the head against his enemies. The golden snakes separated from her locks and hissed softly. Sitemap. Aldrich). As years go by, she becomes more and more vicious and vengeful. Seeking a way to get her grown son out of the way, sent Perseus on a seemingly … His actions were described as a forceful violation. Early accounts placed the Gorgons in a … While Poseidon walked free, Medusa was villainized for the crime of attracting his attention. Many scholarly feminists tend to liken the image of Medusa to society’s attitude towards women of power. Medusa and her sisters, the Gorgons, were the children of the primordial gods Phorcys and Keto. Now that Perseus had Medusa’s head in his bag, he went back to Seriphos. Ariadne, the wife of Dionysus, is said by a 5th-century writer to have been turned to stone in the war between her husband and Perseus. It’s hard for a modern reader to accept this version of events.