Those who gazed into her eyes would turn to stone. Most sources describe her as the daughter of Phorcys and Ceto ,  although the author Hyginus makes her the daughter of Gorgon and Ceto. The 2nd-century BC novelist Dionysios Skytobrachion puts her somewhere in Libya , where Herodotus had said the Berbers originated her myth, as part of their religion. She remained a priestess to Athena after her death and was risen with fresh hair. Medusa was raped by Poseidon then beheaded by the hero Perseus , who thereafter used her head, which retained its ability to turn onlookers to stone, as a weapon  until he gave it to the goddess Athena to place on her shield. In classical antiquity the image of the head of Medusa appeared in the evil-averting device known as the Gorgoneion.
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In ancient Greek mythology, Medusa is the most famous of three monstrous sisters known as the Gorgons. Of the three, only Medusa is said to be mortal. But she is also the most famous and the myth of her demise at the hands of Perseus is often recounted. In this work, Ovid describes Medusa as originally being a beautiful maiden.
The Legend of Medusa and Perseus
Medusa , in Greek mythology , the most famous of the monster figures known as Gorgons. She was usually represented as a winged female creature having a head of hair consisting of snakes; unlike the Gorgons, she was sometimes represented as very beautiful. Medusa was the only Gorgon who was mortal; hence her slayer, Perseus , was able to kill her by cutting off her head. From the blood that spurted from her neck sprang Chrysaor and Pegasus , her two sons by Poseidon.
The Met Fifth Ave opens August The Met Cloisters opens September Your health is our top priority. Medusa is an instantly recognizable figure from ancient Greek art. Her face, whether fierce and grotesque or feminine and composed, appears in virtually all media in varying contexts. The most common interpretation of Medusa suggests she is an apotropaic symbol used to protect from and ward off the negative, much like the modern evil eye.