Medusa, jellyfish


*: On an Attic vase of the middle of the fifth century the head of Medusa in the hand of Perseus is represented as that of a beautiful woman free from any distortion. This led us to conclude (supra, p. 158) that Medusa must have been so represented at Athens in the greater arts even previous to this vase, for the vase-painters never invent such bold novelties for themselves.

*: It will be suggested here that the myth of Perseus, involving the decapitation of Medusa, is a narrative version of ritual.

*: But their depictions of Perseus are remarkably different and demonstrate the ambiguity of Medusa that was seeping into Victorian iconography. In later, Roman versions of the myth, for example Ovids Metamorphoses, Perseus slays the sea monster with his sword instead of using Medusa’s head to petrify the monster.

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