Gorgons (in Greek Γοργό) are monsters of the Greek myth, which legend was known in all the Mediterranean area. Gorgons are the daughter of Ceto and Forco, the two gods of the seas who protected the sea monster and the dangers of the seabeds. These dangerous and fantastic creatures lived in the most remote western area of the world known by the Greeks. Gorgons have a terrible appearance: they have golden wings, hands with golden claws, boar fangs and snakes as their hair. They also have a pale glow green skin. They have superhuman strength and immortality, but their special power was to petrificate everyone who dared to look them in the eyes.
Steno was considered the strongest and the fiercest Gorgon. She had the highest kill count of the three sisters. Steno is immortal and she represents the moral perversion of humanity.
Eurial is the only Gorgon among his sisters who has some feelings. She is always quoted for her peculiar cry, who covered all the world after Medusa’s death by the hand of Perseus. Steno represents the sexual perversion of humanity.
Medusa is the most famous Gorgon of the trio. Her origin is pretty discordant. According to Hesiod and Pausania, she is the daughter of Forco and Ceto. Nevertheless, there are other Greek poets, like Ovid and Apollodorus, who talked about a different origin. In this version, Medusa was a pretty woman who served Athena. One day, she was noticed by Poseidon, who was captured by her beauty and decided to take her by force inside the temple of Athena. The goddess was offended by this act and cursed Medusa, by transforming her into a Gorgon. For some authors, there is only one Gorgon: Medusa. No matter which is her true origin, Medusa is considered the pure representation of the Gorgon race, the only one who could die. Her role was to gatekeeper the underworld with her sisters by the will of queen Proserpine.
Polidette, king of Serifo, sent Perseus to kill Medusa with the aim to get rid of him and marry his mother, Danae. Perseus started his task by finding the Graeae sisters and removing their only teeth and eye, until they told him the location of the Styx nymph. When Perseus meets the nymphs, they give to him the winged sandals and a kibisis bag, plus Hades invisibility helmet. In addition, Perseus obtained from Hermes an adamantine scythe. According to some legends, Perseus was led by Athena to Samo, where he learnt to recognize Medusa to her sisters, thanks to their statues. Then, Perseus arrived at Medusa’s hideout, where he found the three sisters asleep. Perseus took the chance to strike thanks to Athena’s help and to avoid the gaze of the gorgon by looking at the reflex of the gorgon on his shield. At the end of the fight, Perseus was able to behead Medusa. From the murdered body of the gorgon, her children came out instantaneously: the giant Chrysaor and the winged horse, Pegasus.
At that moment, Steno and Eurial woke up and started to pursue Perseus with the aim to kill him. The hero was able to run away from the two monsters by using Hades’ helmet and to become invisible. Then Perseus was able to run away by riding Pegasus and bringing Medusa’s head with him. The head of the gorgon still had her petrification powers and it was very helpful to the hero in his further fights. Perseus used this tremendous power against a sea monster and saved the Ethiopian princess, Andromeda, which later he married.
Andromeda’s uncle, Phyno, was against this marriage and tried to stop Andromeda and Perseus marriage with his accolites with the aim to murder Perseus. The hero took the challenge and killed so many enemies with his weapons, then he used Medusa’s head to petrify Phyno and some of his followers. Later, Perseus used again the power of the head against Petrus, his grandfather’s brother, who was the one to exile his brother from Argo. When Perseus came back to Argo, he stopped Polidette from marrying his mother, Danae. According to some myths, he petrified his grandfather himself. In conclusion, Perseus gave Medusa’s head to Athena who put the head at the center of her aegis. Later, Athena bestowed the power of the gorgon to Heracles, who gave it to Strophe, Chepheus’ daughter. The rest of Medusa’s body was buried beneath the agorà in Athene.
The Sicilian flag has the symbol of a feminime figure with three legs (Triscele). This figure takes the name of Trinacria. It is a symbol who recalls the gorgon race. In fact, the ancient name of Sicily was Triquetra or Trinacria. The reason is linked to the island’s peculiar shape. Sicily has three headlands: Pachino, Peloro and Lilibeo; their combination recalls a triangle. This denomination is the reason why Greeks recollected Sicily and its peculiar shape to a land as part of their mythological pantheon. The gorgon race is a trait typically from Sicily. In some designs, the legs of the symbols were rounded and with a more snake than appearance. Triquetra is strongly linked to eastern Greek mythology. The Sicilian inhabitants used to decorate temples, vases and houses with pittorical masks with the aim to put away evil influences. As for the usual Italian culture to make the symbol of horns to exorcise evil, the pure Sicilian who is religious and superstitious, the Trinacria is a symbol of luck.
In some designs, the legs of the symbols were rounded and with a more snake than appearance. Triquetra is strongly linked to eastern Greek mythology. The Sicilian inhabitants used to decorate temples, vases and houses with pittorical masks with the aim to put away evil influences. As for the usual Italian culture to make the symbol of horns to exorcise evil, the pure Sicilian who is religious and superstitious, the Trinacria is a symbol of luck.
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