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
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