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Perseus with the Head of Medusa (Benvenuto Cellin) Loggia dei Lanzi
Florence

Perseus (Greek: Περσεύς),[note 1] the legendary founder of Mycenae and of the Perseid dynasty of Danaans there, was the first of the mythic heroes of Greek mythology whose exploits in defeating various archaic monsters provided the founding myths of the Twelve Olympians. Perseus was the Greek hero who killed the Gorgon Medusa, and claimed Andromeda, having rescued her from a sea monster sent by Poseidon in retribution for Queen Cassiopeia declaring herself more beautiful than the sea nymphs.


Overcoming the Gorgon

After some time, Polydectes fell in love with Danaë, so Perseus, who knew that Polydectes had grim intentions, constantly protected his mother from him. Polydectes desired to remove Perseus from the island so he could have Danaë, and therefore hatched a plot to send him away in disgrace. Polydectes held a large banquet where each guest was expected to bring a gift.[note 2] Polydectes requested that the guests bring horses, under the pretense that he was collecting contributions for the hand of Hippodamia, "tamer of horses". The fisherman's protégé had no horse to give, so he asked Polydectes to name the gift, for he would not refuse it. Polydectes held Perseus to his rash promise, demanding the head of the only mortal Gorgon,[9] Medusa, whose very expression turned people to stone. Ovid's anecdotal embroidery of Medusa's mortality tells that she had once been a woman, vain of her beautiful hair, who had lain with Poseidon in the Temple of Athena.[10] In punishment for the desecration of her temple, Athena had changed Medusa's hair into hideous snakes "that she may alarm her surprised foes with terror".[11]

Athena instructed Perseus to find the Hesperides, who were entrusted with weapons needed to defeat the Gorgon. Following Athena's guidance,[12] Perseus sought out the Graeae, sisters of the Gorgons, to demand the whereabouts of the Hesperides, the nymphs tending Hera's orchard. The Graeae were three perpetually old women, who had to share a single eye. As the women passed the eye from one to another, Perseus snatched it from them, holding it for ransom in return for the location of the nymphs.[13] When the sisters led him to the Hesperides, he returned what he had taken.

From the Hesperides he received a knapsack (kibisis) to safely contain Medusa's head. Zeus gave him an adamantine sword and Hades' helm of darkness to hide. Hermes lent Perseus winged sandals to fly, while Athena gave him a polished shield. Perseus then proceeded to the Gorgons' cave.

In the cave he came upon the sleeping Stheno, Euryale and Medusa. By viewing Medusa's reflection in his polished shield, he safely approached and cut off her head. From her neck sprang Pegasus ("he who sprang") and Chrysaor ("bow of gold"), the result of Poseidon and Medusa's meeting. The other two Gorgons pursued Perseus,[14] but, wearing his helm of darkness, he escaped.

(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perseus)

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Copyright: Viktor Vokic
Type: Spherical
Resolution: 7992x3996
Uploaded: 09/10/2011
Updated: 07/08/2014
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Tags: perseus; medusa; benvenuto cellin; loggia dei lanzi; florence; firenze; david
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Merchants' associations multiplied and brought international trade relations to Florence, and yet more wealth for the construction of Gothic buildings, such as the Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore.By the thirteenth century, Florence had rightly earned the reputation as the main city of the West. To symbolize this, they constructed the Palazzo della Signoria.Enter Black Plague, 1348. Cue flood, wipe out bridges over Arno river. Begin serious urban planning as of fourteenth century, to remedy the economic and political crises.Remedy? Rhymes with Medici? The Medici family took power by representing the disenfranchised middle class, and began the Italian Renaissance proper.I suppose being bankers to the Pope didn't hurt the Medicis in their stellar rise to power and fame. 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