Perseus-The slayer of Medusa
Perseus was one of the greatest and oldest pan-Hellenic heroes of Greek mythology. As everyone knows, Perseus killed the dreaded Medusa, a gorgon with serpentine hair and his gaze that turned people into stone. This feat was followed by the daring rescue of princess Andromeda from a fearsome sea creature sent by Poseidon to strike fear into the Ethiopian kingdom.
Perseus is perhaps the oldest of the Greek heroes depicted decapitating the Gorgon Medusa, which is among the earliest scenes from mythology to appear in art. Even in mythology, it is believed that he lived three generations before the other great hero, Hercules, who lived a generation before the Trojan War.
Perseus's mortal father was Danaos, and his mother was Danae, the daughter of the Argos king Akrisios (or Acrisius). However, like other Greek heroes, Perseus was believed to have divine parentage, something that helps explain how humans can achieve such fantastic feats, provides a link between humans and gods, and serves as role models. is believed.
When Danae was imprisoned by her father, Akrisios, Zeus, the king of the gods, had intercourse with her. And later she was accepted as the real father of Perseus. Acrisios had his daughter locked up in an underground prison made of bronze after an oracle told her that her future grandson would kill her.
Of course, this was not an obstacle to Zeus, who entered the cell as a golden rain. Naturally, when the child was born, Akrisios did not want to believe Danae's exaggerated story about the golden rain. Suspicious and still aware of the prophecy, Akrisios had the mother and child thrown into the sea by closing them in a wooden chest.
Zeus, however, did not give up on his fatherhood and made sure that the seas were calm enough with Poseidon so that the ark landed safely on the shores of the Aegean island of Seriphos, and Diktys, the fisherman who found the ark, helped the survivors.
While Perseus spent his development years peacefully in Seriphos, he impressed everyone with his physical strength and courage. However, as he aged, Perseus became a stumbling block on King Polydectes' (or Polydectes') plans on Danae, and the king began looking for ways to get rid of young Perseus.
Without thinking about what might happen to him, he thought that he could kill the terrible Medusa, whose gaze instantly turned people to stone, and the opportunity arose for Zeus. Polydectes immediately challenged Perseus to keep his word, and if he failed, Polydectes would take over his mother Danae.
The task seemed impossible. But here Perseus received guidance from the gods. Hermes and Athena suggested that he take the advice of the three Graiai, who were known to be very wise and were actually sisters of the Gorgons. Three old witches shared a tooth and an eye between them. Perseus stole the eye from the witches and promised to give it back, provided he told him some truths that would help him in his dangerous mission.
According to some of the narratives, Perseus wanted to know where Medusa was. In other versions, he asked the Graiai where he could find nymphs who had Hades' hat that made the wearer invisible, and winged sandals that enabled him to fly. He also requested a special bag (kibisis) to safely hold the severed head of Medusa, whose deadly gaze was still strong even after her death. Naturally, Graiai wanted his eyes back, so Perseus got what he wanted. Also, Hermes gave Medusa a special unbreakable sword or sickle (harpe) to kill her.
Hesiod is the oldest surviving source of the story and gave us a little bit of information about Medusa. From Gaia and Oceanus, three sisters Sthenno, Euryale, Medusa were born, and only the last was mortal. Gorgons lived together in flowering meadows at one end of the Earth, beyond the Ocean.
Gorgons were fearsome creatures with claws, wings, and snake hair. The story of Medusa is quite tragic because once Medusa was very beautiful but after she was raped by Poseidon in one of the temples of the goddess, Athena turned her into a hideous gorgon. In another version of the legend, Medusa asked Athena if she could leave the far north where she lived and visit the south to see the sun for the first time. But Athena refused this request.
Medusa claimed that her refusal was because Athena was jealous of her great beauty. Enraged by this boast, Athena transformed her beauty into a fearsome Gorgon whose gaze instantly turned to stone.
When the hero returned home victorious, he was struck by the beauty of the helpless princess Andromeda, chained to a rock. Andromeda was the daughter of the Ethiopian king Kepheus (or Cepheus) and Cassiopeia (or Cassiopeia).
The god Poseidon was angered by Cassiopeia's bold bragging about her beauty, even greater than that of the Nereids, and therefore sent first a terrible flood and then a sea monster (ketos) to frighten the kingdom. The only way to appease the god and prevent disaster was to sacrifice Andromeda to the approaching monster.
Perseus, who fell in love with Andromeda at first sight, said that if he married the princess, he would take care of the beast. The helpless king agreed, and Perseus showed the head of Medusa, who still had his expressive gaze, turning the sea monster into stone. The king's brother Phineus, who usurped his reward, tried to prevent Andromeda from being promised to Perseus. Perseus quickly removed this obstacle by showing Medusa's head, which Phineus turned her to stone, too.
Finally returning to Seriphos, Perseus learned that King Polydectes had raped his mother in his absence. Therefore, while the hero offers the head of Medusa to Polydektes, as he promised, he turns Medusa's deadly gaze into the king's eye and turns it into stone. Perseus then presented the head to Athena as a gift, and Athena placed the head in the middle of her terrible shield.
Perseus' next success includes accidentally killing his grandfather while competing in a sports competition in Larisa, Thessaly. Acrisios had fled there to hide from Perseus, but fate would find its own way. Perseus shot into the crowd and instantly killed the old man, thus fulfilling the oracle's prediction. Perseus, unable to bear the ruling Argos and perhaps stuck with memories of his past.
He replaced his kingdom with that of Tiryns, where he went to find the nearby city of Mycenae. Perseus has four sons by Andromeda: Electryon, Alkaios, Perses, and Sthenelos, and a daughter: Gorgophone. Elktryon would become the father of Alcmene, and she would become the mother of Hercules.