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1001 medusa mostafameraji
Added on 27th August 2020

Oral tradition Ancient Greek myth

It takes cunning and quick wits to best Medusa in this exciting tale from Ancient Greece.

Story

Medusa is one of three sisters known as the Gorgons. Each sister has snakes for hair and the power to turn anyone who looks at them into stone. King Polydectes sends a young man called Perseus to fetch the head of this powerful monster in an attempt to get rid of him. Armed with gifts from the Gods, Perseus enters the Gorgons’ cave…

Why we chose it

Medusa, with her snakes for hair and ability to turn men to stone, is one of the best known and most fascinating of the Ancient Greek monsters.

Where it came from

While the Gorgon’s head is mentioned in Homer’s Iliad (c. 750 BC), the earliest known recording of Medusa’s story is in Hesiod’s epic poem, the Theogony (700 BC). In Metamorphosis (c.8 AD) Ovid explores why Medusa was transformed from a beauty to a beast.

Where it went next

Medusa’s head became a symbol of protection and was used widely on buildings, amulets and armour. The symbol is still in use today, appearing everywhere from the Sicilian flag to the logo of the fashion brand Versace. Medusa herself features heavily in popular culture, including in the Clash of the Titans films and the game Assassin’s Creed.

Associated stories

Hesiod’s Theogony includes several other well-known myths, including Pandora’s Box and the story of Persephone, Hera and Hades.

Added on 27th August 2020

Oral tradition Ancient Greek myth