This tale begins with a war between the God Poseidon and the Goddess Athena. They fought for the land of Athens. A beautiful place on the Myrtoan Sea. Their bloody war was almost endless. They threw their worshipers against each other until the sea was red from blood. They killed off so many people that in the end the last battle had to be fought between Poseidon and Athena themselves.
Equally matched, they fought for centuries.
They shaped the coast of ancient Greece. The knocked into each other making mountains and valleys, their heavy footsteps made lakes and rivers. But nothing can kill a God, not even a God and in the end, exhausted and defeated, Poseidon went back to the sea and slept.
The seas turns black with his depression. The skies rolled with storm clouds formed from his anger. The Earth shook with his tears. Volcanoes erupted with his frustration
While Poseidon healed Athena rebuilt her land and people came and erected temples for her and worshipped her and named their cities after her. They loved her. They called her the Goddess of wisdom. The Goddess of war. The Goddess who defeated the sea.
But the sea does not stay defeated for long. Poseidon understood the futility of fighting another God and instead turned his attention to mortals.
He sought to create demigods. People who could rule in his stead. People of magic and power that the race of men would come to fear.
He took woman after woman and made them with children. He set his kin onto the world and they did deeds that honored their father and this made Poseidon strong.
In his covert war against Athena, he put machinations in play he made a mess of the Earth.
One such mess was with a woman named Medusa. A priestess of Athena.
Maybe Medusa was a woman of questionable decision making abilities. Beautiful? Yes, very. She turned heads that much is sure. She captured Poseidon’s attention and maybe that’s the moral of this story: attention by a God can lead nowhere good.
She lay with Poseidon in Athena’s temple.
In Athena’s temple!
Maybe it was rape. Maybe when a God wants sex there is nothing to stop them.
How Athena discovered her temple had been besmirched is anyone’s guess. Maybe she watched the whole thing. Maybe a little bird whispered it to her. Maybe sex with a God is a messy affair. Maybe Medusa came to her to confess.
Athena, the Goddess of wisdom who rumors say was slow to anger got angry
And Medusa was cursed.
Poor Medusa lost her gorgeous hair and beautiful face and was shunned to a cave where even if pleading to be seen, if begging to be treated like a women, to be loved, or wanted, needed, cuddled, or fucked, the results were the destruction of life, the men who sought her were turned to stone.
While in the end Athena punished her priestess, Poseidon cared little for the mess he made. A mess that infected. A mess that yielded monsters, death and destruction.
Sometimes the messes God’s make join and become catastrophes.
Depends on one’s perspective.
The issue of Poseidon’s affair with a woman named Cerebia was the tyrant king Polydectes.
Polydectes killed mercilessly. He hung men by their own intestines. He raped any woman he desired. He grew power and influence. He expanded his kingdom. Every deed was for his father. He built temples for him. He went to war in his name.
But he couldn’t have everything, because Poseidon wasn’t the only God mucking things up.
He wanted a woman named Danaë but she was being protected by her son Perseus the issue of Zeus.
To protect his mother, Perseus offered to bring Polydectes anything he desired.
Polydectes saw this as an opportunity to get rid of an embarrassment to his father.
No clout is gained from having lain with a gorgon.
“I wish for the head of Medusa.”
So Perseus killed Medusa.
He took her head and gave it to Athena who put it on a shield and gave it back to the demigod.
This is what’s said. The story is muddled.
Regardless the power of Medusa’s head remained even after her death and is the seat of the Perseus legacy.
Perseus used it to gain power.
He turned Polydectes stone.
He turned the Kraken to stone.
He turned anyone who dared face him to stone.
He became rich.
He founded city states.
He became a legend.
This is what’s been accounted for by the Gods and the Gods have no reason to lie.
Homer agreed. He wasn’t involved so his version is suspect. He did corroborate that the head was mounted on a shield. He also said the effigy of Medusa, with boars-tusks and puffy cheeks and her writhing snakes for hair, would forever mark the entryways to homes owned by wise men, because no one but a demigod could handle her gaze .
Medusa was evil in her ugliness, but her legacy is that in her ugliness she will ward off evil, for eternity.
But none consider the gorgon herself.
The poor mortal who lay with a God and helped defeat the sea one last time.