Medusa

On consulting the oracle at Delphi, Acrisius learned how his craving for an heir would in the future lead him to a path of fatality. The oracle revealed that his daughter Danae was fated to have a son Perseus. The boy was destined to kill Acrisius, his grandfather. In vain Acrisius tried to change the future by arranging for his daughter Danae to be concealed in a bronze chamber, away from all contact. Zeus intervened, by turning himself into a shower of gold to create a son with Danae, namely Perseus.

The birth of the child unsettled Acricius. Again, he tried to alter fate by sealing them both inside an ark and casting them out to sea. Watched over by Zeus they were guided by the winds and tide and set ashore on Seriphos. Mother and child had been caught up in the net of Dictys, the brother to King Polydectes of Seriphos. Both brothers immediately fell in love with Danae, although one account says that Polydectes won over her affections, where he proceeded to look after both mother and son.

Perseus soon grew into a handsome man, a warrior in waiting, ready to prove himself. The greatest of all challenges was to slay Medusa, a task fit only for the foolhardy, brave, or for a son of Zeus. Perseus was eagerly prompted into the task by Polydectes, taunted him for having no power, riches or nobility, inciting Pereus to prove himself in mocking his ability to bring back the head of the gorgon. Polydectes concealed his ulterior motive, to seduce and control Danae by eradicating the influence and presence of her son.

Medusa was once a beauty adorned with a mane of golden hair, her crowning glory. She was loved by the god Poseidon at the sacred temple of Athena. Fired with fury over their lack of respect for her temple, the revengeful Goddess Athena turned Medusa into a gorgon, a grotesque serpentine monster. Those who looked upon her would turn to stone.

Athena instilled thoughts into the eager ardent Perseus to slay the gorgon and return with Medusa’s head. Accepting this calling from the goddess, Perseus ascended on his mission. With help from the winged messenger Hermes, Perseus was loaned the god’s winged sandals and sword. Hermes then sent Perseus down into the labyrinth, underworld to meet the nymphs for a magic wallet and Pluto’s invisible helmet. The goddess herself awarded Perseus with a bronze shield and a polished finish that reflected like glass.

Perseus, called upon Zeus for more help in finding the elusive gorgons. Zeus answered by sending again his messenger Hermes through a dream, offering guidance to the source of information desired. The answer could be sought from three old blind heretics called Graeai. The witches had a tasting for human flesh and were guardians to their cherished tooth and crystal eye, which the crones shared for scribing, prophecy. The eye warned the quarrelling hags of pending intruders, at least the ones that can be seen. Perseus used the helmet rendering him invisible and stole their eye, trading information for the habitat of their dark sisters the Gorgons. .

Daughters of Phorcy, the notorious siblings were the monstrous creatures’ known as the gorgons consisted of Sthenno, she of (mighty strength) and Euryale, was (wide-leaping). Both were immortal, part human in body, winged with jagged teeth and ripping claws for hands. The third sister Medusa, meaning “ruler” was mortal. Although she was depicted to be ugly as sin, the Greeks and Hellenistic Age considered her to be beautiful, in regard to her majestic offspring Pegasus.

Wading through numerous remnants of stone statues and guided by his shield, Medusa’s image reflected on the exact time for Perseus to strike. Her decapitated head was encased in the nymphs’ wallet for safe keeping.

On his return Perseus learned of his mother’s persecution at the hands of Polydectes, and his unrecipicated attempts to control Dantae’s affections. Angered by Polydectes’s manipulated deceit, Perseus unveiled the head of Medusa and Polydectes was turned to stone.

When she was decapitated her blood ran acid, on hitting the floor it gave rise to both Chrysaor and the winged horse Pegasus. The magic gifts were returned to Hermes. The head of Medusa was presented to Athena. The unique gift was sealed onto her shield and directed towards enemies, rendering the goddess with formidable power. Perseus set sail for Arogos together with his mother and new wife Andromeda.