So. We've all seen Clash of the Titans. You know the part where he's in the
temple and he's got the shield so he can see the monster coming at him and not
turn to stone. The monster comes into view and it's this nightmare looking chick
with a snakey body from the waist down and snakes in her hair and all ... ya
Who is she? Why does she make you all stoney faced?
There are a couple of different versions of the story. But... since this is
me and my article? We'll go with the one I like the best and the others can go
Medusa was one of three sisters. The Gorgons. They were the daughters of Ceto
and Phorcys. Mom and Dad were sea gods of a sort, more like demi gods actually
since Neptune (Posidon) was the god of the sea. Medusa was a mega beauty.
Being a mega anything back in the day got you into all kinds of trouble. I
mean think about it. If you were really pretty and too many people said so Venus
got a bee in her bonnet and smacked you around. If Jupiter noticed you, Juno got
her panties in a twist and turned you into some random animal. I'm telling ya.
There's no winning.
So, poor Medusa. She seems to have attracted the attention of Neptune. As was
the usual MO for the ancient gods, Neptune just up and took her. Didn't even buy
her dinner first. Pig. The only problem here though, was that Medusa was in
Athena's temple at the time boasting about her incredible beauty. (I never said
the mortals didn't deserve to be set down...)
Naturally, Athena got her panties twisted and took it out on Medusa.
Cause let's face it, what is she really gonna be able to do to Neptune without a
lot of cooperation from other gods including Jupiter.
So she turned her into the monster. Live snakey hair, snakey body and tail,
ack oh noes I'm stone if you look her in the face. Fun stuff.
To add insult to injury, as we all know from Clash of the Titans (yes it's a
truly awful movie but I love it), Perseus is sent to take Medusa's head so he
can defeat the Kraken. Cause, you know he couldn't just ask her to come along
and stone the guy or anything. That would have been too easy.
After being used to statue-fy a bunch of bad guys, Medusa lived on. Her
likeness was engraved upon shield faces to ward off evil spirits and give the
hero a bit of extra protection and luck in battle. She's also used to protect
homes in the same manner.
Moral of the story? Vanity is bad, mmmk? Being pretty is a gift from the gods
and not appreciating it makes them cranky. Greek and Roman mythology is full of
such stories punishing hubris. Even modern religion warns against overweaning
pride. Something to think about before someone comes around trying to cut off
your head so he can smite bad guys.