ashmolean

Learning Resources

Athenian pot with gorgon head

The character being depicted in the centre of this pot is the hideous gorgon, Medusa.

Medusa was the only mortal out of the three gorgons encountered by Perseus. Perseus was a hero in Greek mythology who is known for chopping off the head of Medusa. Perseus lived in ...with his mother who King Polydictes wanted to marry, however she didnít want to marry him, and Perseus didnít want this to happen either. Perseus was sent by King Polydictes to bring him back the head of Medusa but did not warn him of the dangers of this task. Goddess Athena had realised what Polydictes had done and helped Perseus by giving him a shiny shield to protect himself from looking at Medusa because if you looked at Medusa you would instantly turn to stone. Perseus successfully cut Medusaís head off and returned to the King and gave him the head purposefully making Polydictes look at her face which turned him to stone. On the pot we can see an outdoor meeting beneath a vine arbour, around a gorgon's head thought to be that of Medusa.

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