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May 09, 2023
  1. Perseus and his heroic deeds

    A long, long time ago there were two brothers Acrisius and Proetus. When their father died, the brothers fought for the throne before Acrisius defeated Proetus and assumed his father’s position. Acrisius was happy. Although he had no son or heir, Acrisius and his wife were blessed with a beautiful daughter Danaë. With no heir to the throne, Acrisius went to the oracle and asked if he would ever get a son, but instead, he was told that the son of Danaë, his grandson, would kill him. Acrisius feared his fate and tried everything to avoid it, so he looks his daughter in a chamber beneath the ground so no man could ever touch her. But after all his efforts Danaë ended up carrying Zeus’ child. Zeus was able to access the beautiful woman through the walls of the chamber and came to her as a shower of gold, pouring through the skylight. Danaë gave birth to a demigod nine months later named Perseus.

    Acrisius was outraged to learn that his daughter was pregnant and feared for his own survival. He locked her and Perseus in a strong wooden chest and cast her into the sea, thinking he would finally get rid of both mother and child. The chest was tossed about on the waves for days until it was caught in the fishing nets of Dictys, the brother of the ruler of the island Polydectes, off the coast of Seriphos. Dictys gave Danaë and Perseus a home on the island, and Perseus grew into manhood. Polydectes had fallen in love with Danaë, but Perseus prevented his attempts. Polydectes claimed to be in love with someone else, married her, and started collecting contributions for a wedding gift for her. Polydectes requested simple things like horses and fruits from the citizens, but he demanded the head of Medusa from Perseus. Anyone who looked at Medusa was immediately turned into stone. Polydectes knew that and hoped to get rid of Perseus.

    Medusa was once a stunning young Athena priestess who drew the attention of many men. Poseidon, the god of the sea, struck her one fateful day when she was making her offerings to Athena in the temple. When Athena saw what was going on in her temple, she became enraged and cast a spell that turned Medusa’s lovely soft hair into snakes and changed her face into something so hideous that everyone who looked at her would turn to stone. Medusa was expelled from the temple and exiled to the farthest reaches of the world, surrounded by stone statues of men and beasts that had gotten too close to her and seen her face.

    Taking up Polydecte’s challenge, Perseus declared that he would get the head of Medusa.

    Perseus was favored by Hermes, the messenger of the gods, and Athena, goddess of wisdom and war. With their help, he set out to find the three Graeae sisters. The three Graeae sisters have been old women since birth and were guardians of Medusa. They all shared one eye and one tooth, which Perseus snatched as the sisters passed them around. The sisters now had to help him, or else remain blind and toothless, the sisters led him to some nymphs who gave him the winged sandals of Hermes, the cap of darkness belonging to Hades, which made the wearer invisible, and a bag in which to put Medusa’s head. Hermes provided him with a sword to cut off the head of Medusa and Athena gave him a shining bronze shield. And with all the items, Perseus set off to find Medusa.

    Medusa was asleep when he arrived. Perseus summoned all his courage and began to approach quietly, walking backward, guided by the reflection in his shining shield. As he stood over Athena guided his hand and with a wide powerful backward sweep of his arm he cut off the head of Medusa with the sword. The second the head parted from the neck, a winged horse Pegasus and his human brother Chrysaor sprang out of Medusa’s neck. Without looking Perseus put the head into the bang and began to leave.

    He flew over Libya with blood dripping from the bag, and the droplets from Medusa’s head turned into snakes as soon as they reached the sand below.

    As night fell, he landed in Atlas’ kingdom. Atlas was a giant who had never fought for or against the gods during the ten-year conflict. As a result, Zeus singled him out and made him hold up the sky as a punishment. Perseus asked Atlas if he should sleep for the night, but Atlas recalled an oracle warning him that a son of Zeus would one day steal his golden fruit. As a result, Atlas denied Perseus’ request and ordered him to leave. In exchange, Perseus showed him Medusa’s head, which instantly turned him to stone. Atlas is said to still stand as a mountain on Earth, forever keeping up the sky.

    Perseus flew across many nations, until he came to the land of Ethiopia, ruled by King Cepheus, whose wife was the beautiful Cassiopeia. Cassiopeia was a narcissistic woman who constantly boasted about her beauty to anyone who would listen. Of course, this infuriated the sea nymphs, who called upon Poseidon to flood the city and send a grotesque sea creature to devour its people. Cepheus’ only choice was to give the creature his daughter, Andromeda, in the hopes of saving his kingdom. Perseus saw Andromeda bound to a pole on a cliff overlooking the sea from above. He initially mistook her for a marble statue because she was so stunning and still. Andromeda’s parents were both worried and waiting for the creature to appear before Perseus swooped down from the sky. In exchange for their daughter Andromeda, he made a bargain to slay the sea monster. Perseus turned around and confronted the charging monster after the king and queen agreed to his terms. He charged at it, slicing and stabbing it until it stopped thrashing and began to sink into the water.

    As the beast was slain and Andromeda was set free, all the spectators cheered. Perseus cleansed his sword of blood, made sacrifices to Hermes and Athena, and married Andromeda. However, on the day of their wedding, Phineus appeared. Then Perseus had to deal with Phineus and his supporters. Andromeda stormed out of the fight, enraged that her special day had been ruined. Perseus drew out the head of Medusa once more, turning Phineus and his followers to stone.

    Perseus returned to Seriphos and entered the palace, where Polydectes and his friends awaited him and the head of Medusa with bated breath. Perseus then displayed the head in front of Polydectes and his companions, turning them all to stone.

    Perseus chose Dictys to be the new king of Seriphos since Seriphos had no king. Perseus returned the winged sandals, Hades’ hat, and the bag to Hermes while presenting the head of Medusa to Athena. It was later placed in the middle of Athena’s shield, and it has since become a sign of defense.

    Perseus, his wife, and his mother Danaë all traveled to Argos, Perseus’ birthplace, after completing his quest. Acrisius, the father of Danaë and grandfather of Perseus, fled the land when he heard Pereus approaching.

    The king of Larissa, on the other hand, was playing sporting games one day. Perseus signed up to play, unaware that his grandfather was among the audience. When it was Perseus’ turn to throw the discus, he hurled it with such force that it plummeted into the stands, colliding with Acrisius’ head and killing him instantly in front of all the spectators.

    The prophecy that Acrisius would be killed by his grandson came true.

    Perseus was the only male heir to his grandfather’s kingdom. He was embarrassed by how he had acquired the kingdom, so he made a bargain with the king of Tiryns. The king of Tiryns agreed, and their kingdoms were swapped.

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