Medusa, in greek mythology was a monster, one of the Gorgon sisters and daughter of Phorkys and Keto, the children of Gaea (Earth) and Oceanus (Ocean). She was originally a golden-haired, fair maiden, who, as a priestess of Athena, was devoted to a life of celibacy; however, after being wooed by Poseidon and falling for him, she forgot her vows and married him.
For this offence, the enraged Athena transformed Medusa’s beautiful hair to serpents and made her face so terrible to behold that the mere sight of it would turn onlookers to stone. Seeing herself transformed into such a repulsive creature, Medusa fled her home, never to return.
Wandering about, abhorred, dreaded, and shunned by the rest of the world, she turned into a character worthy of her outer appearance. In her despair, she fled to Africa, where, while wandering restlessly from place to place, young snakes dropped from her hair; that is how, according to the ancient Greeks, Africa became a hotbed of venomous reptiles.
Medusa was beheaded by the hero Perseus, who thereafter used her head, which retained its ability to turn onlookers to stone, as a weapon until he gave it to the goddess Athena to place on her shield.
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