In the Greek Mythology, the Gorgones (in Greek old Γοργόνες / Gorgónes or Γοργοῖ / Gorgoĩ ), in the singular Gorgone or Gorgo ( Γοργώ / Gorgố ) is fantastic creatures malfaisantes.
Homère speaks only about one Gorgone. In the Odyssey (XI, 633) , Gorgone ( Gorgố ) was a monster of the Enfers. According to Hésiode ( Théogonie , v. 274), they were three girls of the marine divinities Phorcys and Céto: Sthéno, most famous Euryale and, Jellyfish, which was mortal, contrary to his/her two sisters who knew neither death nor old age. Hygin gives a different filiation: Gorgone would result from the Géant Typhon and from Échidna, then generated Méduse and its sisters. Their residence was other side of the Western ocean, and according to other versions, in Libya. Later, Euripide mentioned only one Gorgone, a monster designed by Gaïa (Earth) to help its sons the Giants in their battles against the gods, and who was killed by Athéna. Gorgone is one of the three sisters who gained the war against the cyclops.
One represented them like young women, often with wings and large teeth, their chevelures consisted of snakes. According to Ovide ( the Metamorphoses ), only Jellyfish had such hair. Poséidon, attracted by the gilded color of the hair of this Gorgone, had been linked with it in the temple of Athéna and the latter gave him this appearance as a punishment. Gorgones had sometimes wings of gold, copper greenhouses and wild boar defenses. Eschyle writes that they had one eye and only one tooth with them three, like their sisters Grées. Their glance solidified those which saw their faces so much they were ugly.
Persée, armed with a shield, of which the interior was used as mirror to avoid being petrified by the glance of the monster, and with a sword offered by Hermes, could slice the head of Jellyfish. Blood which spouts out of its neck emerged Chrysaor and PEGASE, both designed by Poséidon. Persée offered the head of Gorgone, Gorgonéion ( Γοργόνειον / Gorgóneion ) in Athéna ( Library , II, 4,2-3). It decorated of it its shield, the the aegis, which preserved this frightening capacity.
According to certain versions of the myth, blood taken on the right-sided of Gorgone could bring back a death to the life, while that taken on its left side became a fatal and instantaneous poison. One also says that Héraclès accepted from Athéna a loop of the hair of Jellyfish (which had the same virtues that its head) and gave it to Stéropé, the girl of Céphée, to protect the town of Tégée against the attacks.
GorgonéionThe representation of the head of Jellyfish (carved or engraved in the stone, or drawn, often with snakes emerging of cranium and the languages drawn between the hooks) was often placed on the doors, the walls, the coins, the shields, the armours and the tomb stones to move away the bad luck and the bad spirits or to terrify the enemies. By this habit, Gorgonéion recalls the often grotesque faces appearing on the shields of the soldiers Chinese and used also generally like protection against the evil eye.
Uses of the term
The term “Gorgones” was used sometimes to indicate the warlike ones of Libya, sometimes for fabulous animals whose glance petrified people. Pline Old the described them like sauvagesses covered with hairs and with the mop of hair hirsute, which would have given rise to the myth of hair of snakes.
(II, 4,1-5; II, 7,3; III, 10,3).
- (v. 294).
- (v. 741), (XI, 633).
- (IV, 653 - V, 241).
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