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Medusa - Pictures of Medusa

The Evil Eye

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Although painted more in art than story, in Greek mythology Medusa is a once-beautiful woman whose name became synonymous with terrifying. Athena made her so hideous one look at her face could turn a mortal to stone (lithify). Slithering, venomous snakes replaced the hair on Medusa's head.

Medusa is the mortal one of the 3 Gorgon sisters and is often called Gorgon Medusa. The mythological Greek hero Perseus performed a service to mankind by ridding the world of her fearsome power. He cut off her head, with the help of gifts from Hades (via the Stygian nymphs), Athena, and Hermes. From Medusa's severed neck sprang the winged-horse Pegasus and Chrysaor.

Origins are unclear. The story of Perseus and Medusa may come from Mesopotamian hero-demon struggles. Medusa may represent an ancient mother-goddess.

For more, see:

  • "Perseus' Battle with the Gorgons," by Edward Phinney Jr. Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol. 102, (1971), pp. 445-463

Greek Mythology Picture Gallery

Images 1-7 of 7
Gorgon from a 6th Century B.C. Black-figure amphora.MedusaLaconian black-figured hydria with a gorgon's head, sphinxes and cranes.GorgonStatue of Perseus, Piazza della Signoria, Florence - (bronze sculpture) by Benvenuto Cellini (1554)MedusaMedusa  - Tête de Méduse, by Rubens (c. 1618).Medusa's Severed Head
Douris Cup. Athena and Jason, 5th Century B.C., at the Vatican Museum.Medusa on AegisMedusa, by Caravaggio 1597. Medusa's HeadMedusa's Head - by Arnold Böcklin, c. 1878.Medusa' Head
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