Quote from the Encyclopedia Britannica:
Gorgon, monster figure in Greek mythology. Homer spoke of a single Gorgon a monster of the underworld. The later Greek poet Hesiod increased the number of Gorgons to three - Stheno (the Mighty), Euryale (the Far Springer), and Medusa (the Queen)--and made them the daughters of the sea god Phorcys and of his sister-wife Ceto. The Attic tradition regarded the Gorgon as a monster produced by Gaea, the personification of Earth, to aid her sons against the gods. In early classical art the Gorgons were portrayed as winged female creatures; their hair consisted of snakes, and they were round-faced, flat-nosed, with tongues lolling out and with large projecting teeth. Medusa was the only one of the three who was mortal; hence, Perseus was able to kill her by cutting off her head. From the blood that ran from her neck sprang Chrysaor and Pegasus, her two offspring by Poseidon. Medusa's severed head had the power of turning all who looked upon it into stone. Carved masks of the hideously grotesque type of the Gorgon's head were used as a protection against the evil eye. Medusa in Greek mythology, the most famous of the monster figures known as Gorgons. She was usually represented as a winged female creature having a head of hair consisting of snakes. Medusa was the only Gorgon who was mortal; hence her slayer, Perseus, was able to kill her by cutting off her head. From the blood that spurted from her neck sprang Chrysaor and Pegasus, her two sons by Poseidon. The severed head, which had the power of turning into stone all who looked upon it, was given to Athena, who placed it in her shield; according to another account, Perseus buried it in the marketplace of Argos. Heracles (Hercules) is said to have obtained a lock of Medusa's hair (which possessed the same powers as the head) from Athena and given it to Sterope, the daughter of Cepheus, as a protection for the town of Tegea against attack; when exposed to view, the lock was supposed to bring on a storm, which put the enemy to flight. See also Gorgon; Perseus.
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