Statue Bodyart: Medusa
Greek mythology Medusa "guardian, protectress"
was a monster, a Gorgon, generally described as having
the face of a hideous human female with living venomous
snakes in place of hair. Gazing directly upon her
would turn onlookers to stone. Most sources describe
her as the daughter of Phorcys and Ceto, though the
author Hyginus (Fabulae, 151) interposes a generation
and gives Medusa another chthonic pair as parents.
was beheaded by the hero Perseus, who thereafter used
her head 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.