Gorgon - Greek
Also known as Gorgos
- Greek (culture)
- Humanoid (attribute)
- Reptilian (attribute)
- Cave Dweller (attribute)
- Deadly (behaviour)
The original version of the Gorgon were creatures created by Gaia that were under the command of the Gigantes in a battle against the Olympian Gods but were killed by Athene. Later the term was used to describe the three ugly sisters, Eurale, Medusa and Stheno.
The Gorgons whose names translates as ‘terrible’, ‘grim’ or ‘fierce’ were creatures that had the upper-half of a woman and the lower-half of a snake. Originally there were winged but in some variations of their description they were flightless. The Gorgons had a petrifying look that would turn anyone into to stone who caught their gaze. Many heroes had thus died trying to kill the creatures that lived in their cave.
One hero named Perseus was set on a quest to kill Medusa, the only mortal Gorgon and take her head to help the King Polydektes who had incurred the wrath of the gods. He found his way to their layer by gaining vital information from the 3 Graeae sisters. No one knows quite how Perseus killed Medusa. Some say she lay sleeping while he cut off his head, but what we do know is that he used a magical cap of invisibility, winged sandals, a curved sword and a mirror shield. Perseus did successfully decapitate her with his curved sword. From the bloodied neck of Medusa sprang forth the Pegasus and the Giant Khrysaor. Perseus fled with the head of Medusa in his sack with the two sisters closely pursuing behind.
The 3 Gorgons were depicted on Greek vases as winged women with broad round heads and snakes for hair, large eyes and a wide round mouth from protruded tusks of a boar.
Some such as Hesoid believe that the Gorgons were personifications of the deadly submerged reefs which was responsible for destroying many ships. He thus refers to them as sea-deamons. Later writers speak of the Gorgons as stormy deamons. Both personifications are possibly connected as stormy winds blew the ships into the reefs.
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Basilisk by JustMick, Shuck by Serphire, Ts Um A Kas - Illustration of a rock painting (from Dover publications).