The Medusa myth is one of the most well known in Greek mythology. Medusa was one of three powerful demon sisters. Of the three sisters, only Medusa was mortal and could be killed. One look from Medusa was enough to turn anyone into stone. She was killed by the Greek hero Perseus. When she died, the winged horse Pegasus and the giant Chrysaor sprang from her body.
Photo: the Medusa myth (Creative Commons: Marialba Italia).
Once a Beautiful Maiden
Some versions of the Medusa myth describe her as a beautiful maiden. She was seduced by the sea god Poseidon in the temple of the goddess Athena. Athena was so angry that she turned Medusa into a monster.
Medusa’s beautiful strands of hair were turned into snakes. Athena also made Medusa’s face so horrible that it would turn anyone who saw it into stone.
Death by Perseus
Perseus was the son of the beautiful Danae and the god Zeus. King Polydectes fell in love with Danae. However, Perseus was very protective of his mother. The king decided to send Perseus to bring back the head of Medusa to get rid of Perseus.
The gods knew of the kings plot and helped Perseus by giving him a mirrored shield, winged sandals, a magic sword and a helmet of invisibility. Perseus was able to slay Medusa by looking into the mirrored shield. Perseus finished off Medusa by cutting off her head.
As Medusa fell, the winged horse Pegasus and the giant Chrysaor sprang from her body. Perseus flew Pegasus home. On the way, the god Atlas was turned into stone in Africa. Drops of Medusa’s blood fell on Africa and were turned into poisonous snakes.
When Perseus reached his home, he saved his mother from King Polydectes. The king was turned into stone by Medusa’s head.
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Medusa, Greek Mythology.