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Lionesses or sphinxes frequently are associated with the Gorgon as well. Athena therefore changed the enticing golden locks into serpents. What creatures grew on Medusa's head? While descriptions of Gorgons vary and occur in the earliest examples of Greek literature, the term commonly refers to any of three sisters who later were described as having hair made of living, venomous snakes, as well as a horrifying visage that turned those who beheld them to stone. Traditionally, two of the Gorgons, Stheno and Euryale, were immortal, but their sister Medusa was not and was slain by the demigod and hero Perseus. The Medusa head is … After hiding the head in his bag, he quickly flew away from the two remaining, fearful and angry Gorgons, and returned home. Perseus swore he would kill the Gorgon but had no idea of how to do it. Another story reported by the British classicist Robert Graves is that Medusa was the name of a fierce Libyan queen who took her troops into battle and was beheaded when she lost.  (In some cruder representations, stylized hair or blood flowing under the severed head of the Gorgon has been mistaken for a beard or wings. Medusa wandered Africa for some time. The Greek hero Perseus was the one who beheaded Medusa. From c. 200 B.C. Other sources say that each drop of blood became a snake. The Gorgons are one of two groups of sisters born of Phorkys (the "old man of the sea") and his sister Keto (a sea-monster). Her face had a strange ... Braid your hair so it sticks out in all directions. Of the three Gorgons in classical Greek mythology, only Medusa is mortal. In this regard Gorgoneia are similar to the sometimes grotesque faces on Chinese soldiers’ shields, also used generally as an amulet, a protection against the evil eye. 450–440 BCE, attributed to Polygnotos of Thasos. Much later stories claim that each of three Gorgon sisters, Stheno, Euryale, and Medusa, had snakes for hair, and that they had the power to turn anyone who looked at them to stone. He went to her island while she was asleep and moved her snakes of hair out of the way and then chopped her head off. Her guts were nailed to her skull as the rest of her body was abandoned to the waters of Poseidon. Perseus beheading the sleeping Medusa. In Greek mythology, Medusa (/ mɪˈdjuːzə, - sə /; Μέδουσα "guardian, protectress") also called Gorgo, was one of the three monstrous Gorgons, generally described as winged human females with living venomous snakes in place of hair. Some of the reptilian attributes associated with the Gorgon are a belt made of snakes, and snakes either emanating from her head, or entangled in her hair. Virgil mentions that the Gorgons lived in the entrance of the Underworld. According to the later idea of Medusa as a beautiful maiden, whose hair had been changed into snakes by Athena, the head was represented in works of art with a wonderfully handsome face, wrapped in the calm repose of death. The name derives from the ancient Greek word γοργός gorgós, which means "grim, dreadful", and appears to come from the same root as the Sanskrit: गर्जन, garjana, which is defined as a guttural sound, similar to the growling of a beast, thus possibly originating as an onomatopoeia. Her work has appeared in scholarly publications such as Archaeology Online and Science. Some believe that these traits are derived from early Greek religious concepts, such as the dragon Delphyne, whose skin was believed to be made of impenetrable scales. From the blood that spurted from her neck sprang Chrysaor and Pegasus, her two sons by Poseidon. Going even further back into history, there is a similar image from the Knossos palace, datable to the 15th century BC. The oldest oracles were said to be protected by serpents and a Gorgon image was often associated with those temples. In Greek mythology, a Gorgon (/ˈɡɔːrɡən/; plural: Gorgons, Ancient Greek: Γοργών/Γοργώ Gorgon/Gorgo) is a mythical creature portrayed in ancient literature. Poets claimed that she had a great boar-like tusk and tongue lolling between her fanged teeth. According to Pseudo-Hyginus the "Gorgo Aix" (Γοργώ Aιξ), daughter of Helios, was killed by Zeus during the Titanomachy. The end of each braid can be decorated with a snake’s head made out of paper. As a result of consorting with Poseidon, she is said to have birthed Pegasus, the winged horse, and Chrysaor, the hero of the golden sword. The name is Greek, being derived from "gorgos" and translating as terrible or dreadful. It shows the severed head of the mythological monster. Aeschylus says that the three Gorgons had only one tooth and one eye between them, which they had to swap between themselves. Aeschylus, Phorcides (lost play) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) Two species of snakes contain her name: the venomous pitviper Bothriopsis medusa and the nonvenomous snake called Atractus medusa. One account says she married Perseus. Snakes writhe on either side of their heads and necks, and the Gorgon on the left has griffin heads growing from the top of her head. The awkward stance of the gorgon, with arms and legs at angles is closely associated with these symbols as well. An image of a Gorgon holds the primary location at the pediment of the temple at Corfu, which is the oldest stone pediment in Greece, and is dated to c. 600 BC. Her Bellerophon masters winged Pegasus and kills the Chimaera. At last, when he found himself hovering over her within arm's length, Perseus uplifted his sword, while at the same instant each separate snake upon the Gorgon's head stretched threateningly upward, and Medusa unclosed her eyes. Hermes gives him an adamantine (unbreakable) sickle, and he also carries a polished bronze shield. Some of these myths relate that Perseus was armed with a scythe from Hermes and a mirror (or a shield) from Athena. She is killed by the hero Perseus, who cuts off her head.To the Greeks, Medusa is the leader of an ancient, older matriarchal religion that had to be obliterated; in modern culture, she represents vital sensuality and a power that is threatening to males. An Amazon with her shield bearing the Gorgon head image. she changed that Gorgon's hair to horrid snakes. before her siblings realized what had happened. They are very powerful symbols in mythology, religion, and folklore, and some of these symbols and metaphors continue to influence peoples’ perceptions of snakes … The Gorgoneion was an amulet that bore the head of a Gorgon. The concept of the Gorgon is at least as old in classical Greek mythology as Perseus and Zeus. Athena's shield also features Medusa's head in the centre with snakes forming a border around it. Much later stories claim that each of three Gorgon sisters, Stheno, Euryale, and Medusa, had snakes for hair, and that they had the power to turn anyone who looked at them to stone. Their home is on the farthest side of the western ocean; according to later authorities, in Libya. And to this day, Minerva, to dismay and terrify her foes, wears on her breast the very snakes that she herself had set - as punishment - upon Medusa's head. Danaë gave birth to a son, Perseus.Though Danaë managed to hide her son from her father Acrisius for a couple years, he later found out about the existence of his grandson and decided to get rid of him. Classical interpretations suggest that Gorgon was slain by Athena, who wore her skin thereafter. And to this day, Minerva, to dismay and terrify her foes, wears on her breast the very snakes that she herself had set - as punishment - upon Medusa's head. He was able to defeat the Gorgon by lopping off her head, which he was able to do by fighting her reflection in his highly polished shield. The plot revolved around Perseus' quest for the head of Medousa (Medusa). Gorgons are humanoids with hideous, broad-headed monsters with wild eyes, lolling tongues, wide mouths with enormous, gnashing teeth, clawed hands. All three of the Gorgon sisters have glaring eyes, huge teeth (sometimes boar's tusks), a protruding tongue, brazen claws, and serpent or octopus locks. According to Ovid, a Roman poet writing in 8 AD, who was noted for accuracy regarding the Greek myths[according to whom? . Her normal representation as a grotesque head, with snakes in her hair is easily connected with the grotesque ... Medusa was a fearsome monster called a Gorgon. ), Some reptilian attributes such as a belt made of snakes and snakes emanating from the head or entwined in the hair, as in the temple of Artemis in Corfu, are symbols likely derived from the guardians closely associated with early Greek religious concepts at the centers such as Delphi where the dragon Delphyne lived and the priestess Pythia delivered oracles. That is probably what the Roman emperor Justinian (527–565 CE) had in mind when he included older sculptures of Medusa's head turned on its side or upside down as plinths at the base of two columns in the underground Christian cistern/basilica of Yerebatan Sarayi in Constantinople. Then Aix became the goat Capra (Greek: Aix), on the left shoulder of the constellation Auriga. On her death, Medusa's children (fathered by Poseidon) fly out of her neck: Chrysaor, wielder of a golden sword, and Pegasus, the winged horse, who is best known for the myth of Bellerophon. [a], The legend of Perseus beheading Medusa means, specifically, that "the Hellenes overran the goddess's chief shrines" and "stripped her priestesses of their Gorgon masks", the latter being apotropaic faces worn to frighten away the profane. "The snake-head Gorgon's offspring, Pegasos (Pegasus)." In this sculpture, a snake is seen crawling up the goddess' shield and many more snakes and a gorgon head are depicted on her aegis, or protective collar. Athena gave Perseus her mirror-bright shield, telling him to look at Medusa only in its reflective surface while fighting her. Medusa was a monster in Greek mythology, known as a Gorgon. Ultimately, he used her against King Polydectes. Her face had a strange power. One of the earliest representations is on an electrum stater discovered during excavations at Parium. The Bibliotheca provides a good summary of the Gorgon myth. Mythical Creatures: The Monsters from Greek Mythology, The 10 Greatest Heroes of Greek Mythology, The Minotaur: Half Man, Half Bull Monster of Greek Mythology. In late myths, the Gorgons were said to be the daughters of two sea deities: Keto, the sea monster, and Phorcys, her brother-husband. The Bibliotheca (2.2.6, 2.4.1, 2.4.2) provides a good summary of the Gorgon myth. Her head rolled from side to side, the snakes limp. ihsanGercelman / iStock / Getty Images Plus. Some accounts said her two spawn had sprung from her severed head. From the blood that spurted from her neck and falling into the sea, sprang Pegasus and Chrysaor, her sons by Poseidon. She gave him a goatskin to bundle her head into, and instructed him to find the three Gray Sisters at the top of the world. This he gave to Athena. Dec 29, 2014 - Explore yael cohen's board "woman with snake on the head" on Pinterest. For example, the ivory statue of Athena in the Parthenon in Athens had an image of Medusa on her chest. She had the face of a hideous woman, but had poisonous snakes on her head, instead of hair. The Three Gorgons are sisters: Medusa (the Ruler) is a mortal, her immortal sisters are Stheno (the Strong) and Euryale (the Far-Springer).  She also identifies the prototype of the Gorgoneion in Neolithic art motifs, especially in anthropomorphic vases and terracotta masks inlaid with gold.. Medusa’s guts spilled to the deck like a pile of snakes from a barrel of wine. — J. Campbell (1968)[b], While seeking origins others have suggested examination of some similarities to the Babylonian creature, Humbaba, in the Gilgamesh epic. Danae is the object of desire of Polydectes, the king of the Cycladic island of Seriphos.  Other early eighth-century examples were found at Tiryns. They all share Medusa's snake-like locks, and her powers to turn men to stone. 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