15 Bewitchingly Interesting Medusa Fun Facts
Check out these gruesome Greek mythology Medusa facts! Click here quick - before you get turned to stone!
Are you a fan of Greek mythology? If you like the Classics you'd better check out these monstrously fun facts about Medusa! And if you want more Greek mythology goodness, check out this Greek myth quiz, or find out which Greek God you are here! You can also swot up on these epic facts about Ancient Greece, or test your knowledge of the God of the Sea with these salty Poseidon facts!
Now, read on to learn some fun facts about Medusa and how she fits in to Greek mythology!
1. Medusa was a Gorgon
Medusa was depicted in LOTS of different ways. But one thing historians can agree on is that she was a Gorgon - a terrifying kind of monster. The most common description of her is a ferocious and hideous woman, with poisonous snakes for hair. Yikes!
2. Some myths say she could fly
Most myths agree she was a woman, but not on too much more. To be fair, we are talking about stories from thousands of years ago! Medusa has been described as having wings, and some also say she was incredibly beautiful rather than ugly. We'll never know!
3. She had terrifying powers
One of her most famous powers is the ability to turn people into stone just by looking at them! This is a pretty impressive skill, and made her one of the most feared monsters in the classical world. Many tried to defeat Medusa, but none succeeded until Perseus - who had a bit of help from the Gods! But more on that next!
4. She came to a sticky end
Lots of Greek myths are VERY gory - and Medusa's is no different! Legend has it that she was finally killed by Perseus, who used Athena's shiny shield as a mirror to protect himself from her stony gaze. In the end he cut her head off with a sword. Ugh. Come on, Greeks!
5. She wasn't always a Gorgon
Medusa had pretty bad luck, all things considered. The Gods are said to have turned her into a monster as punishment for having a relationship with Poseidon - and originally she was a beautiful woman with long golden hair. Seems a bit unfair, really!
6. Medusa in Africa
According to legend, Medusa spent some time in Africa. Whilst on holiday snakes supposedly fell from her head, and started a new life there. This apparently explains why there are so many venomous snakes in Africa - because they descended from Medusa's hairdo! An interesting idea, but you won't find many snake scientists who'll agree with it!
7. She gave us Pegasus
When Perseus killed Medusa by cutting her head off, something very strange happened. A winged horse, Pegasus, emerged from her neck! This kind of thing happens in Greek mythology, so don't worry about how unbelievable that sounds. But it's true that one of the most famous horses in popular culture was originally born out of Medusa's death! And now features in My Little Pony!
8. Perseus hung on to Medusa's head
After going to all the hassle of cutting it off, Perseus decided to keep Medusa's severed head. He even carried it around in a bag and used it as a weapon, pulling it out during battles to turn his enemies into stone. He is even supposed to have used it against the Titan Atlas, which is how the Atlas mountains in present-day Morrocco are said to have been formed.
9. Then what happened to Medusa's head?
In some myths, Medusa's head is given to Athena, who puts it on her shield, the Aegis. In other versions of the story, Perseus buries the head in Argos. That's the Greek island, not the UK shopping chain. Pretty sure you can get banned from Argos for doing that kind of thing.
10. Hercules ended up with some Medusa hair too
Medusa's head sure was useful for a lot of people! In a later Greek myth, Hercules was given a lock of Medusa's hair by Athena. He gave it to Sterope, the daughter of Cepheus, as protection for the town of Tegea against attack. When the hair was brought out into the light, it created a huge storm which stopped the nearby army attacking Tegea. Very handy!
11. Jellyfish are named after Medusa
Jellyfish are in the scientific group Medusozoa, which is a big group of jelly-like sea animals. This is because of the long, dangly threads that hang below them - which are also often poisonous. So a bit like Medusa's hair. The form an adult jellyfish takes is also called a medusa - and it's a stage in their (quite complicated) life cycle. So there you go!
12. There's also a type of chilli named after her
The Medusa pepper is a type of sweet chilli pepper that grows upwards, and looks a little bit like a head of snakes. Unlike what you might expect, Medusa peppers are actually really mild, and even when they're bright red and ripe you could probably eat a fair few without breaking a sweat.
13. She had two sisters
She had two big sisters who were also Gorgons, Stheno and Euryale, and their dad Phorcys was a sea god. And you thought your family was weird! Imagine waht Christmas must be like round their house!
14. She appears on some fancy handbags
Medusa's snaky head shows up on the logo of top fashion brand Versace. Founder Gianni Versace said he remembered seeing Medusa's head in ancient ruins he played in as a child. Apparently it's supposed to make people fall in love with the brand and never go back. Maybe that's easier if you're very rich!
15. Maybe she was a hero
Nowadays some people think Medusa might actually be a feminist icon. In some versions of the myth Athena turned her into a monster as a favour, protecting her from creepy admirers by giving her a way to fight back! In New York you can even see a statue of Medusa holding PERSEUS' head! We like this version!