Medusa, a beautiful young woman who was forbidden to be married. She was one of the priestesses of Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war. Athena was also a symbol of purity, therefor sex was not allowed. When Medusa was in her room one day, Poseiden began to develop a lust for her, and began sexually assaulting her. Without warning, Athena cursed her for what had happened. The curse gave Medusa great agony, leaving her to cry in hysteria and peel her own skin. When her pain ended, she transformed into a hideous beast, and instead of having her beautiful hair, it was a bundle of snakes. Medusa was then trapped on an island to herself. Athena’s idea of this punishment was to have her isolated from society, so whoever Medusa looked at died.
Now time for the myth that inspired many artists during the ancient times, the myth of Perseus and medusa. It began when Acrisius, the king of Argos, was told by an oracle of Delphi that his own grandchild was going to kill him. In worry of his own life, Acrisius made a room to imprison his daughter, Danae, so she was unable to meet any men and become a mother. But as time time past, Zeus struck broke through the walls in the form of golden rain. Soon after her son Perseus was born. Acrisius did not know whether Zeus was the father or not. Acrisius let his daughter and her son off to the sea on an ark. Once they landed on Serifos island, they were adopted by a local couple, who’s brother was Polydectes, the king of the island.
Once Perseus grew up to be a strong man, he began getting in the way of another king. Polydectes wanted to wed Danae, and knew that was not going to happen with Perseus in the way. To get what Polydectes wanted, he toldPerseus about a dangerous mission. The mission to go to the island where Medusa lived, and bring him back her head. Perseus accepted the task, but asked for the help of Athena and Hermes. They gave him winged sandals to fly to the island, a cap to make him invisible, a sword and a mirror shield.
Once Perseus got to the island, he cut Medusa’s head off. Two drops of her blood formed her children: pegasus, a winged horse, and Chrysaor, a giant or winged bull. These were said to have been Posieden’s children. On his way, he escaped Medusa’s two sisters from killing him. He then used the head to fight off others, for it still turned people to stone. Perseus brought the atrocious looking head to Athena to put it on her own head.