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Medusa Gifts

Medusas are sirens with snakes for hair. They are also referred to as gorgons.


Who is Medusa?
Medusa is a creature from Greek mythology called a Gorgon. A Gorgon is one of three sisters who has live, poisonous snakes for hair and a petrifying gaze that can turn anyone who looks at her into stone. Medusa, the most famous of her sisters, stands out because she was the only one of the Gorgons who was not immortal. According to Greek mythology, the hero and demi-god Perseus slayed Medusa by using a reflective shield so that he could decapitate her without looking directly at her.

Despite her origin and more dominant presence in Greek mythology and art, Medusa has become a symbol across several cultures, and remains so to this day.

Foreign Names for Medusa

Azerbaijani: Qorqona Meduza
Bosnian: Meduza
Breton: Medousa
Croatian: Meduza
Esperanto: Meduzo
French: Méduse
Greek: Medousa
Ido: Meduzo
Icelandic: Medúsa
Lithuanian: Meduza
Polish: Meduza
Slovak: Medúza
Slovenian: Meduza

Other Names: the Gorgon, Gorgon

History: The earliest known mention of Medusa and her story in full can be found in Theogony, a poem written by the Greek author Hesiod around 700 BCE. Medusa remained a recurring figure in Greek and Roman literature, however fleetingly she was often referenced, since her brief appearance in Theogony. She was also present in many pieces of ancient Greek art. Medusa has remained a subject of art through the Renaissance and into modern day.

Iconic Symbols: Medusa is famously associated with the Gorgeoneion, a protective amulet featuring a likeness of her head. The most famous example of a Gorgoneion is the aegis, a shield worn by the Greek goddess Athena. The breastplate of Alexander the Great also famously features the image of Medusa's head. The Gorgoneion is still in use as a symbol today; Medusa's head is featured in the logo of Versace, an Italian fashion designer and company.

Meanings: Medusa serves as a symbol of vanity, having been transformed from a beautiful woman into a monster as a punishment based on her vanity. The act for which some myths claim she was punished, some sort of sexual involvement with the god Poseidon, also leads Medusa to function as a symbol of female sexuality. Medusa also symbolizes female power and female rage, which has caused her to become associated with feminism.



Significance in Cultures:

England: Medusa and her sisters acquired some notable allegorical and artistic significance in English literature around the 19th century, appearing in the work of Charles Dickens and Percy Bysshe Shelley.

France: Medusa's head served as a symbol of Jacobinism and French liberty after the French Revolution.

Greece: Ancient Greece was the birthplace of the famous myth of Medusa. The image of Medusa's head was widely used to ward off evil in ancient Greece.

Italy: The image of Medusa's head was used to create a horrific feeling in Italian art crafted during the Renaissance.

U.S.A.: Medusa has been cast as a villain in several Western novels, films, and games.

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