Gorgon Characteristics and History and uses of the word


Gorgon , In Greek mythology , one was a ruthless female monster as well as a protective deity stemming from the oldest religious concepts. Her power was so great that anyone who tried to look at her was petrified , so her image was placed in all kinds of places, from temples to wine craters , to promote her protection. The gorgon wore a belt of snakes, intertwined like a buckle and confronting each other.

The Gorgons: Classic History

Gorgons are sometimes depicted with wings of gold, claws of bronze, and tusks of a wild boar, but their most common attributes are the teeth and skin of snakes. The oldest oracles were said to be protected by serpents and gorgon images were often associated with these temples. Lionesses and sphinxes were also frequently associated with gorgons.

In later myths it was said that there were three gorgons, Medusa , Stheno and Euryale , and that the only mortal of them, Medusa, had poisonous snakes instead of hair as a punishment from the goddess Athena . This image became particularly famous, although the gorgon appears in the oldest written records of Ancient Greek religious belief , such as in the works of Homer . The gorgon took pride of place on a temple pediment in Corfu . It is the oldest stone petition in Greece, being dated c. 600 BC

His powerful image was adopted by the classical images and myths of Zeus and Athena , perhaps as a continuation of an older iconography.

Homer, the author of the oldest sources, speaks only of a gorgon, whose head is represented in the Iliad as study of social classes stands out. This topic involves many aspects and can be understood from different angles; therefore, it is the subject to the aegis of Zeus and her name was Medusa.

About 700 BC, Hesiod ( Theogony , The Shield of Heracles ) increases the number of gorgons to three: Steno (‘mighty’), Euryale (‘far-rising’) and Medusa (‘queen’) and makes them daughters of the sea ​​deities Phorcys and Ceto. His home was on the far side of the western ocean, according to later authors, Libya .
The Attic tradition , collected by Euripides (Ion), considered the gorgon a monster, produced by Gaia to help her children, the Titans , against the gods of Olympus .

Aeschylus (c. 525–456 BC) says that the three gorgons had only one tooth and one eye between them, so they had to share them, but they are not depicted that way, perhaps to avoid confusing them with the Greas .

Apollodorus (c. 180–120 BC) provides a good summary of the Gorgon myth. Much later stories state that each of the three sisters had snakes for hair, and that they had the power to turn anyone who looked at them to stone.
According to the Roman poet Ovid , only Medusa had snakes in her hair, due to Athena’s curse. Excited by the golden color of Medusa’s hair, Poseidon raped her in the temple of her goddess, who, enraged by her desecration, transformed her hair into serpents .

Characteristics and History of the gorgon


Medusa had a characteristic that differentiated her from the rest of the gorgons, since she was the only mortal and the most beautiful than her sisters. She was a woman with such great beauty that he came to dazzle Poseidon , who, finding himself in love with her, decided to seduce her (for some it was rather a violation of her), in the temple of Athena. This caused a rivalry between Athena and Poseidon, already rivals in themselves, which led to Athena’s anger being so great that when she found out what happened in her temple, her immediate reaction was to punish Athena. Jellyfish. Not satisfied with this punishment, AphroditeShe was jealous of the beautiful hair that Medusa had, which is why within the punishment snakes were made available instead of hair, in this way, Medusa was banished to live in the hyperborean lands .


Perseus , son of Zeus, had the mission of defeating the Kraken in order to save Andromeda and embarks on a journey towards the sisters of fate who told him that the way to defeat him was to petrify him with a look from Medusa, the sisters reveal to him where he should go, but the path led first to the nymphs and they delivered three objects to Perseus, with which he could fulfill his mission: shoes with wings, with which he could fly through the air, a magic bag for his head of the Gorgon, and a helmet that would make him invisible. The goddess Athena also gave him an intensely shiny metallic mirror.

Perseus held on to his winged shoes and let the wind carry him to the end of the world, where the monsters with snakes on their heads lived. The mountains were very high there, so much so that they seemed to caress the sky, and Perseus saw some petrified figures that remained immobile in the middle of that place: a fleeing lion, which seemed to look into space with its jaws open, a person also in full flight , also turned to stone.

Perseus cautiously approached, going deeper and deeper into a cave; As a precaution he held the mirror that Athena had given him well in front of his face, because only reflected in the mirror could she look at Medusa if she did not wish, he too, to see himself turned into stone. He perceived a hoarse voice from afar and then the whistles of the colubrids ; he waited until night had come and the Gorgons had fallen asleep; then, very cautiously, he approached them more and more until he discovered in the mirror the image of the Medusa.

He quickly unsheathed his sword and with a strong blow separated his head from the trunk, the head rolled on the ground. His face, turned into a hideous caricature, stared into space. The snakes in her hair separated and dispersed throughout the world, thus forming the different races of snakes that are known today. But from the blood that flowed from the Gorgon’s trunk, the winged horse Pegasus arose, wrapped in stormy clouds . and whoever was locked in his body was released by the giant Crisaor .


Euriale is a pre-Olympic creature and the largest of the gorgons, born from the union of either Phorcys and Ceto according to some versions, or Typhon and Echidna according to others. She is immortal just like her next sister Esteno. She had the shape of a huge woman, on her head instead of her hair grew live poisonous snakes, and, according to other versions, also from her armpits. She also possessed bronze claws , a huge mouth with ivory fangs, golden wings , and a serpentine tail, although older versions of her show her resembling a centaur .

Like her sisters, Euríale possessed blood with healing virtues, but only if it was drawn from the right side, otherwise her blood would turn into a lethal and instant poison. Although she is a beast that lives in the bowels of the earth, she is the only gorgon with “motherly” feelings. In several works it is mentioned that when Perseus decapitates Medusa, Euríale is the one who cries inconsolably for her.

This not

In Greek mythology, Esteno was one of the three gorgons along with her sisters Euryale and Medusa, and was characterized by her enormous strength. According to legend, Esteno, like her sisters, was a beast born from the sea gods Phorcys and Ceto , although other sources say that from Poseidon and Echidna . She had the form of a woman of enormous dimensions, with a head full of live snakes instead of hair, bronze claws, golden wings, and a serpent’s tail, and like her sister, Euryale, she is immortal.

Esteno was the most independent and wild of the three gorgons, being the one that caused the most deaths to humans. She was not even bettered by the feared Medusa, who was given the petrifying gaze as protection for not being immortal. She possesses great physical and mental strength: she has the quality of life. These patients are limited in their ability to focus her mental energy into her gaze, making her able to trap nearby energies around her, hypnotizing her attackers and stopping them on the spot.

His job was to protect various oracles with pythias, snake charmers, who represented strength and not divination. In honor of Esteno and Euríale, sacrifices were made, which consisted of filling the corner foundations, pillars and walls of temples with ritual blood to give them stability and strength. Esteno’s blood itself has the qualities of giving life (if it was obtained from the right side) or death (if it was obtained from the left side). In religious terms Esteno, characterized by the serpentine letter “S”, represented infinite strength, time (she was often represented with two faces, looking at the past and the future at the same time), and the dimensional doors to the realm of death. .

Uses of the word Gorgon

In paleontology, the use of the word gorgon stands out for the description of the family of mammalian reptiles known as gorgonopsids . According to legend, when Perseus cut off Medusa’s head she was pregnant by Poseidon, from her neck sprouted her offspring: the winged horse Pegasus and the giant Chrysaor (the father of Geryon ) .

When Perseus returned to Greece with the gorgon’s head, the drops of blood that fell into the sea instantly turned into the coral known as gorgonians while those that fell in the desert turned into snakes. Athena gave two vials of Medusa’s blood to Asclepius , the founder of Greek medicine. The blood of one of them was a very powerful poison and that of the other a healing potion.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Back to top button