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Greek myths- the story of Medusa

Updated on November 3, 2012
medusa- painting by Carvaggio
medusa- painting by Carvaggio | Source

Medusa

Perhaps one of the best known tales from Ancient Greek is that of the Gorgon Medusa. She was one of three Gorgons, Medusa, Stheno and Euryale.Medusa was a beautiful maiden, a priestess in Athena's temple, with many suitors. However she desecrated the altar with Poseiden. Athena became enraged at the foul desecration and took her anger out on Medusa, transforming her hair into serpents and making her face so terrible that one look would turn a man to stone. She developed an intense hatred of men.


Perseus and his quest

Perseus was tasked with bringing back a Gorgon's head to the court of King Polydectes. Perseus was the son of Zeus and a mortal woman called Danae.

He called to the Gods for help and Hermes and Athena answered his call. They gave him magical equipment to help him in his quest. A sickle, a bag, a helmet to make himself invisible, winged sandals that allowed him to fly, and a shield with which to protect himself.

Perseus attacked the Medusa and managed to fight her instead of looking at her he fought her reflection that was shown in his bright shield given to him by the Gods. He managed to slice her head from her shoulders and put the head in the bag as the powers of the Medusa were not lost on her death.

When Medusa's head was severed the winged horse Pegasus and Golden sworded giant Chrysaor came out of her head.

Love on the rocks

Perseus was flying back to the King's court when he saw a beautiful maiden in trouble. She was chained to a rock by the sea to be sacrificed in order to appease Poseiden. Her crime was nothing other than her mother had boasted that she was more beautiful than the sea nymphs.

Perseus took the Medusa's head out of the bag and showed it to the Sea Monster who was guarding the beautiful maiden. Quickly the sea monster turned to stone and Perseus was able to rescue the girl who was called Andromeda, and married her.

Perseus returned to King Polydect's court where the King demanded to see the head to check that the job had been done- the King was turned to stone instantly.

Perseus gave the Medusa's head to the Goddess Athena, in thanks for all the help she had given him- and she attached it to her brestplate as a warning to all her enemies.

Different endings

There are several versions to the story and I have chosen to write just one. They all follow the same pattern. Perseus kills Medusa and rescues someone, a beautiful maiden or in one version, his mother, from certain death or an unwanted marriage.

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    • CASE1WORKER profile imageAUTHOR

      CASE1WORKER 

      7 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      TicksProfessional- thanks for stopping by- its nice short stories which have survived over two millenium- i wonder if modern stories will last that long?

    • TicksProfessional profile image

      Talha Rehman 

      7 years ago from Lucknow India

      There is a never fading charm in Greek stories. Nice hub!!

    • CASE1WORKER profile imageAUTHOR

      CASE1WORKER 

      7 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      thanks chrstopheranton- just remember that there are several vestions to stories as they were passed round mainly be verbal communication, so at some time you may read another account that is different!

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      7 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      Well told. Thank you. I didnt know before that Pegasus came out of the head of Medusa.

      You learn something new everyday.

    • CASE1WORKER profile imageAUTHOR

      CASE1WORKER 

      7 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      scarytaff- thanks for your kind comment

    • scarytaff profile image

      Derek James 

      7 years ago from South Wales

      A great piece of Greek Mythology. Thank you, well worth the read.

    • L.K. Egooh profile image

      L.K. Egooh 

      7 years ago from United States

      You are most welcome.

    • CASE1WORKER profile imageAUTHOR

      CASE1WORKER 

      7 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      parrster and LK Egooh- thanks for you kind comments and for stoppin by

    • L.K. Egooh profile image

      L.K. Egooh 

      7 years ago from United States

      Very Interesting!!!

      Much enjoyed.

    • parrster profile image

      Richard Parr 

      7 years ago from Australia

      Greek and Roman mythology present as great stories that have latest throughout the ages. They are so fantastical that I get completely caught up in the tale without giving thought to what the moral of the stories might be... if there is one. Enjoyed the read, thx.

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