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MYTH: The Real Story Of Medusa – The Powerful Snake, Why Medusa Was Curse (Details below)

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In ancient Greek mythology, Medusa is the most famous of three monstrous sisters known as the Gorgons. The earliest known record about the story of Medusa and the Gorgons can be found in Hesiod’ s Theogony.


Why Did Medusa Get Cursed?

Although Hesiod gives an account of Medusa’ s origins and the death of Medusa at the hands of Perseus, he does not say more about her. By contrast, a more comprehensive account of Perseus and Medusa can be found in Ovid’ s Metamorphoses. In this work, Ovid describes Medusa as originally being a beautiful maiden.


Her beauty caught the eye of Poseidon, who desired her and proceeded to ravage her in Athena’ s shrine. When Athena discovered the sea god had ravaged Medusa in her shrine she sought vengeance by transforming Medusa’ s hair into snakes, so that anyone who gazed at her directly would be turned into stone.


The Powers of Medusa’ s Head

When the blood dripped from Medusa’ s head onto the plains of Libya, each drop of blood transformed into venomous serpents. The power of Medusa’ s head is seen again when Perseus encountered the Titan Atlas. When Perseus asked Atlas for a place to rest for a short while, his request was refused. Knowing that he would not be able to defeat the Titan with brute force alone, he took out Medusa’ s head and Atlas was turned into a mountain.

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Perseus also encountered Andromeda, the daughter of the Aethiopian king Cepheus and his wife Cassiopeia. Using Medusa’ s head, Perseus succeeded in rescuing the princess, who was being sacrificed to Cetus, a sea monster sent by Poseidon to punish Cassiopeia for boasting that her daughter was more beautiful than the Nereids.

Medusa’ s petrifying power is also used on Phineus, Andromeda’ s uncle whom she was betrothed to, Proetus, the usurper of the throne of Argos, and finally Polydectes himself. Perseus’ friend Dictys took the throne and, now finished with the relic, Perseus gave Medusa’ s head to Athena, who wears it on her aegis whenever she goes into battle.

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