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Medusa Gorgona and Perseus. Myths of Ancient Greece

Medusa Gorgona and Perseus - one of the most famous characters of ancient Greek myths. The hero who killed a terrible monster and saved from the death of the beautiful Andromeda, is credited with the foundation of the city of Mycenae and the Perseid dynasty. Medusa also symbolizes a hideous horrible creature, the embodiment of fear and death, but at the same time - an unhappy beauty, at the behest of evil fate, becoming the innocent victim of the divine curse. The myth of Perseus and Medusa Gorgon left a notable mark in the literature, music and art not only of the ancient world, but also of the Middle Ages and modern times.

Origin of Medusa Gorgons

According to legend, Medusa was the youngest of the three sisters born of the deities of the water element of Forkius and Keto, who in turn were the children of Pontus (god of the sea) and Gaia (goddess of the earth). The older Gorgons, Spheno and Euryale, inherited immortality from their parents, Medusa was the only one who did not get the priceless gift.

Initially, these characters of the mythology of ancient Greece were represented in the guise of sea maidens, proud and beautiful. The beautiful Medusa, the owner of a slim figure and luxurious hair, seemed to have been born to captivate men's hearts. However, according to one version of the legend, she became a priestess of Athena Pallada, goddess of war, and gave eternal vow of celibacy.

Curse of Athena

The vow given to Medusa did not stop Poseidon, the almighty god of the seas. He appeared to the beauty right in the temple of Athena and, blinded by desire, took it by force. Upon learning of this, the goddess became enraged. However, she guilty of what happened, as well as in the desecration of the shrine, not Poseidon, but the unhappy Medusa. Uncontrollable anger of Athena fell at the same time and on both older sisters of the girl.

As a result of the curse of the goddess, the beautiful sisters turned into monstrous winged creatures. Their skin was covered with hideous wrinkles, scales appeared on the body, terrible claws and fangs grew, and hair turned into tangles of venomous snakes. Moreover - from that time on, any unfortunate person who had a reckless eye contact with one of the Gorgons immediately turned to a stone statue ...

Realizing that they no longer belong among the gods and people, the Gorgon sisters went into exile to the western extremity of the inhabited land, where they settled on a remote island in the world river Okean. However, they soon justified the terrible rumor that went around them around the world, ruining many unfortunate souls. It was the younger sister who became the most cruel and bloodthirsty.

Many heroes tried to deal with a terrible monster - because the one who killed Medusa Gorgon, was to get not only glory, but also an invaluable trophy: her head. The strength of the look of Medusa would continue to turn beings into stone even after her death. However, no one succeeded - until the young Perseus set off to perform the feat, ironically, it was not for the sake of trophy or glory.

Who is Perseus?

The legend of Perseus says that the ruler of Argos named Akrisiy was the only daughter of Danae. Believing the prediction that the son of Danai is destined to cause his death, the terrified Akrisii locked her daughter in the tower, intending to kill her with hunger and thirst. However, the beauty was noticed by Zeus himself, the head of the Olympic gods. He entered the prison to Danae in the form of a golden rain and made her his wife. From this marriage a boy appeared who was named Perseus.

Mythology says that one day, after hearing the laughter of a child, Akrisiy rose to his daughter's tower and was depressed and stricken, however, he did not dare to kill his own demigod with his own hand. Instead, he took a monstrous decision: he ordered Danai and the baby to be put in a wooden box and thrown into the waves of the sea.

However, Perseus and his mother were not destined to die. After some time, the box was dragged ashore fisherman named Diktis - brother of the king of the island of Serif, Polydect. At the court of Polydect and grew up a small Perseus, later known as the one who killed Medusa Gorgon.

Preparing the hero for the campaign

However, the life of Perseus and his mother on Serif also proved to be difficult. After the death of his wife Polidekt conceived to take on a beautiful wife, Dana. However, she opposed it in every possible way, and Perseus was a reliable protection for his mother. Having conceived the young man's lime, the insidious Polidekt gave the young hero the task: to bring him the head of the monster known to all Hellas as the Gorgon Medusa.

And Perseus set off. However, the immortal inhabitants of Olympus could not allow the death of the son of Zeus himself. The quick-winged messenger of the gods-Hermes and warrior Athena took his side. Hermes handed the boy his sword, easily chopped any steel. Pallas also gave Perseus a copper shield, shining like a mirror, and blessed on the road.

Long were the wanderings of the hero over distant lands. At last he reached a gloomy country, in which were guarded the way to the Gorgons by the old grai, who had one tooth and one eye for all three. With the help of cunning Perseus managed to steal from the grays their "treasures", leaving them toothless and blind. In exchange for the return of stolen things, grayam had to tell the hero how to find the Gorgon.

The road to the right side ran through the edge where the nymphs lived. Learning who Perseus is and where he goes, the nymphs, wishing to help, gave him three magic things. It was a bag that could hold anything, winged sandals that let fly through the air, and the helmet of the Lord of the Underworld, Aida, invisible to the one who put it on. Thanking for his help and gifts, Perseus flew straight to the island, which occupied the Gorgons.

The death of the monster

Fate and gods favored the hero. Perseus was in the lair of monsters at a time when they were fast asleep and could not see it. The copper shield presented to Athena was very helpful: looking at the reflection on it, as if in a mirror, the young man was able to see well the three sisters, and most importantly - to guess which one of them was Medusa Gorgon.

And Perseus rushed to the attack. Enough of the only true strike with a sword - and the severed head of Medusa was in the hands of the hero. The scarlet blood of a monster, from which a dazzling white horse, Pegasus and the golden bow of Chrysaor, arose, immediately descended into the heavens.

The two awakened Gorgons howled with horror. They rushed up to find and tear down the one who killed their younger sister. But they flew in vain over the island in search of Perseus - thanks to the winged sandals the young man was already far away, carrying in the bag the terrible head of Medusa.

Salvage Andromeda

On his long journey back, Perseus found himself in Ethiopia, in the territory of the kingdom of Kefei. There, on the shore of the ocean, he saw his daughter, the beautiful princess Andromeda, chained to the rock. The girl told the hero that she was left here to sacrifice the sea monster sent by Poseidon from the depths of the sea. This gigantic fish devastated the kingdom of Kefei by order of the god of the seas, because the mother of Andromeda, Cassiopeia, angered the sea nymphs, stating that her beauty was much more perfect. The oracle told the grief-stricken king Kefei that it was possible to atone for the guilt of his wife, only by sacrificing the monster's only daughter.

Sadged by the woeful history, as well as the beauty of Andromeda, Perseus did not leave the unfortunate girl in trouble. Waiting for the monster to appear, he killed him in a heavy fight, and then took the rescued princess to the palace to her parents and announced that she wanted to take her as a wife.

Return of Perseus

Celebrating the wedding, Perseus and Andromeda returned to the island of Serif, where they found Danai hiding in the temple of Zeus from the persistent harassment of Polidekt. In anger, Perseus hurried to the royal palace, where Polidekt feasted with his friends. He did not expect to see the young man alive, and began to laugh at him: "Braggart! It turns out that you did not obey my order, and where is your Gorgon Medusa?"

And Perseus, not having forgiven the insult, in a fit of rage, snatched Medusa's head from the bag and showed it to the king. At that moment the king and his friends turned to stones.

Perseus, however, did not stay on Serif. Having transferred power to the island of Diktisu, the brother of the former tsar, he returned with his mother and Andromeda to his native Argos. Hearing about the return of the hero, his grandfather, the king Akrisiy, fled to Larisa, to the north of the country. Perseus also took the throne and ruled for a long time and happily.

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