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The Greek Religious Mythology Hellenism Essay

883 words - 4 pages

Throughout the many stories in the Greek religious mythology Hellenism, which meant to teach lessons and explain how the world works, there are a vast number of characters. One that has become quite known today through the media, and even teachings in school, is the gorgon Medusa. The name gorgon is derived from the Greek word gorgos, meaning “fierce”, “terrible” or “dreadful”. A gorgon is traditionally a repulsive creature with an innate hatred towards men and the ability to turn people to stone with a single look into their eyes. Some stories even write that their ability extended to not just humans and other animals, but also plant life in the sea. Greek literature and art often depict ...view middle of the document...

She also forced on Medusa the ability of her eyes to turn life to stone, even if it was accidental. Athena used Medusa’s head with its many serpents as an emblem on her shield or breastplate, warning her enemies against her. Many artifacts from Ancient Greece show Medusa’s head painted or engraved on murals, vases and over doorways, possibly for protection.
Perseus, son of Zeus and Danae, slayed Medusa in all versions of her story. Perseus was sent by King Polydectes, who wished to marry Perseus’ mother, kill medusa. Polydectes wanted Perseus out of the way, as her resisted their union, and believed he wouldn’t survive the quest. Perseus did not complete the journey on his own. “With the help of the gods, Perseus first obtained an invisible helm, magical sword, and winged sandals. He then stole [and held ransom] the single eye of the Graiai [Grey Sisters], three ancient hags, who told him where to find [Medusa]” (Atsma). Perseus then sought out Medusa in her caves and snuck up on her while she lay sleeping and killed her. From her neck sprang Pegasus, the winged horse, and Chrysaor, hero of the golden sword; these children were the result of Poseidon raping Medusa, and were not born until her blood was spilled. Pegasus becomes Perseus’ steed, which is a little twisted, seeing as Perseus has just murdered his mother. In some stories where Stheno and Euryale are written as being Gorgons, Perseus is pursued by them from the cave, and escapes using Hades’ invisibility helm, taking Medusa’s head back to Polydectes as...

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