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Medusa, originally a beautiful young woman whose crowning glory was her magnificent long hair, was desired and courted by many suitors. Yet before she could be betrothed to a husband, Poseidon (Neptune) found her worshipping in the temple of Athena (Minerva) and ravished her. Athena was outraged at her sacred temple being violated, and punished Medusa by turning her beautiful ;tresses into snakes and giving her the destructive power to turn anyone who looked directly at her into stone.
In both Greek and Roman mythology, Perseus, attempting to rescue his mother Danae from the coercive King Polydectes, needed to embark on the dangerous venture of retrieving Medusa's head. With the help of Athena and Hermes - magic winged sandals, a cap, a pouch and a mirror-like shield, he fought her and beheaded her by viewing her image in the mirror of his shield rather than looking at her directly. From her decapitated head sprang the winged horse Pegasus and the giant Chrysaor, who became king of Iberia.
January 7th, 2012
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