Perseus...Legendary Greek Hero
This is one of the first tales that got me started in Greek mythology. It even has a movie version called,
"Clash of the Titans" which is a little off with it's accuracy, but it's a cool movie anyway.
Here's the tale
as I know it:
It all starts in the city of Argos. King Acrisius was told of a prophesy that he would be killed by
of his daughter, Danae. He then locked his daughter away from the world and especially men, in a
bronze tower with no way of entry. Well, almost no way of entry. Great Zeus desired to lay with Danae,
so in one his greatest guises, Zeus decended upon Danae in a shower of gold. After this, Danae bore
son...Perseus. Acrisius was infuriated when he heard the baby crying from the tower. He couldn't bring
himself to kill the infant, so he locked Danae and the infant Perseus in a wooden chest and let it drift
across the ocean. Zeus would not allow his son to die at sea, so he had Poseidon calm the ocean and
drift the wooden box to safety. Danae and Perseus landed on the island Seriphos. The two were looked
after by the fisherman, Dictys. Later they were taken in by the King of Seriphos, Polydectes.
Polydectes eventually felt lust towards Danae, but didn't dare force himself on her as at this time,
Perseus was full grown and more than able of protecting his mother. Polydectes then had an idea. He
sent Perseus on a quest to bring back the head of the gorgon, Medusa. To help begin his quest,
Athena sent to Perseus a mystical shield and Hermes gave him an unbreakable sword.
The first thing Perseus needed was information. He then sought out the Graeae, three witches who all
shared one mystical eye and tooth. Perseus took these items from them and promised to return them
only after he got the information he required. With the help of the Graeae, Perseus found winged
sandals, a satchel to hold the head of Medusa, and the helmet of Hades which granted the wearer
invisibility. With these items, Perseus made his way to the temple of Medusa. Using the helmet and
viewing Medusa through the reflection on his shield, Perseus decapitated Medusa and secured the
head in his satchel.
En route back to Seriphos, Perseus had a run in with Atlas. He used the head of Medusa and turned
Atlas to stone (creating the Atlas Mountains in Africa). As he flew over the desert, blood from the
of Medusa dripped onto the sands creating deadly vipers. Also on his way, he came upon the lovely
Andromeda, daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia, King and Queen of Ethiopia. To receive Andromeda's
hand, he first had to answer a riddle. To do this, he had to first
free her from a former suitor who had been disfigured into a demonic creature living in the
swamps...Calibos. Upon Perseus' return, he answered the riddle and wed Andromeda. Their wedding
wasn't without peace however. Upon the union of Perseus and Andromeda, Cassiopeia stated that
Andromeda was more beautiful than the sea nymphs (Neriads). Outraged, Poseidon proclaimed that
Andromeda must be offered as a sacrifice to the Kraken, or their land would be flooded and destroyed.
Andromeda was then chained to the sacrifical rock for the Kraken. Perseus defeated the Kraken with
the head of Medusa. He then threw the head of Medusa into the ocean and from this came Pegasus.
The head of Medusa washed up on shore and was retrieved by Perseus.
With all this done, Perseus had yet a couple more issues to take care of. He returned to Seriphos only
to find that Polydectes was attempting to force himself upon his mother, Danae. For the last time,
Perseus used the head of Medusa and turned Polydectes to stone. After this, Perseus gave up the
sandals and satchel to Hermes and the head of Medusa to Athena. Athena then fused the head of
Medusa to the Aegis. His final act was to fulfill the prophesy...he returned to Argos and killed Acrisius.
With his journey finished, he finally lived in peace with his wife, Andromeda.