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Perseus

Once there was a king named Acrisius, he had a beautiful daughter named Danae. The oracle of Apollo told Acrisius that Danae's son would one day kill him. Acrisius could not let that happen, so he locked Danae in a bronze tower so that she would never marry or have children.

The tower had no doors, but it had one very small window. Danae was very sad, but one day a bright shower of gold came through the small window. A man appeared, he had a thunderbolt in his hand and Danae knew he was a god, but she didn't know which. The man said, "Yes, I am a god and I wish to make you my wife. I can make this dark prison a wonderful sunny land with many flowers "

All happened as he said, the horrible prison became fields almost as wonderful as the Elysian Fields themselves, but one day Acrisius saw light coming out of the small window. He told his men to tear down one of the walls. He walked into the tower and saw Danae with a baby on her lap, smiling she said, "I have named him Perseus." Acrisius was furious, he shut Danae and baby Perseus up in a large chest and cast them out to sea.

Somehow they got safely to the island of Seriphos where Polydectes was king. The kings brother who was a fisherman, caught them in his net and pulled them to shore, his name was Dictys. Perseus grew up to become a strong young man. Polydectes heard about Danae and wanted her to marry him, but she rejected him. Polydectes would have married Danae by force if Perseus wasn't there to protect her.

Polydectes decided on a plan to get rid of Perseus. Polydectes pretended to be marrying a daughter of a friend of his. Everybody had to bring a present, including Perseus. Polydectes pretended to be furious when Perseus arrived empty-handed, for he was not only very strong and brave but very poor. "What, no wedding present?" yelled Polydectes. " I don't have any money." exclaimed Perseus. " That's what you get for a lazy good-for-nothing." said Polydectes. Perseus was furious. "I can bring you any present in the world, anything." he said. "Then bring me the head of the gorgon Medusa!" replied Polydectes. "Fine!" said Perseus.

So he went of on his perilous voyage. For days he wandered, searching for the Gorgons lair. One night in an unknown country he realized how hopeless things were. The Gorgons were horrible, instead of hair they had black serpents that writhed on their head, they had brazen hands that could have squashed poor Perseus, but worst of all if you looked a gorgon you were instantly turned to stone.

Then suddenly a tall woman and a young man with winged sandals appeared. The man said, "I am Hermes and this is our sister Athena. Yes, you are a son of Zeus. We have some things that may help you in slaying Medusa. Here are my winged sandals and the sickle which Cronos used to overpower Uranus and Zeus used against mighty Typhoeus." "And here is a gifts from me." said Athena, "Use this shield to reflect the image of Medusa so you won't be turned to stone." "You must find the Graeae and get them to tell you how to get to the Nymphs of the North, they will give you the cap of darkness and give you a magic wallet and tell you how to get to the Gorgons' lair." Hermes said.

So Perseus went to the cave of the Graeae. The Graeae were strange women, there were three of them having only one eye for all three of them which they constantly fought over. Perseus hid behind some bushes and watched them. When one took out the eye to give to another Perseus sprang from his hiding place and snatched the eye from them. Then he said, "I have your eye and if you don't tell me how to find the Nymphs of the North you shall never have it back!" So they reluctantly told them how to find the Nymphs of the North. He gave them back their eye and flew off on his winged sandals.

The kindly Nymphs of the North gave him the Cap of Darkness which has the power to make its wearer invisible and the magic wallet. They told him how to reach the Gorgons' lair. Perseus went farther north until he found an island surrounded by rocks and statues which used to be men.

Perseus raised his shield and saw Medusa and her sisters asleep, he put on the Cap of Darkness and flew down. He swung the sickle and felt it tearing through sinew and bone. Still looking into the shield, he put Medusa's head in the magic wallet. Medusa's sisters woke up and attacked Perseus. He flew quickly away on his winged sandals and was not hurt.

On his way back to Seriphus he had many adventures, one was that when he saw the Atlas holding up the sky Perseus was sorry for Atlas and turned him to stone by showing him the head of Medusa so he could no longer feel the weight of his burden.

Later he saw what looked like a statue chained to a rock, he flew down. He saw that it was not a statue, but a woman. He asked why she was chained to the rock. "My name is Andromeda and I have been punished because of my vain mother. She boasted that I was more beautiful than the Nereids. Poseidon was angered and said that I must be sacrificed to a sea monster," she said. Even as she spoke a monster rose from the sea.

Perseus pulled Medusa's head out of the wallet and the sea monster turned to stone and crumbled to pieces. Perseus cut Andromeda's chains and took her to her father, King Cepheus of Phoenicia. When Perseus asked Andromeda's hand in marriage Cepheus gladly agreed. So Perseus - with Andromeda in his arms set off for Seriphus.

On the way they stopped at Larisa so Perseus could compete in some games, but when he threw a discus it hit an old man in the stands who was Acrisius. So the prophecy came true and after mourning for a while Perseus and Andromeda left.

When they arrived at Seriphus, the first person they met was Dictys the fisherman who brought Danae and Perseus to shore after they sailed in the trunk. Dictys told Perseus and Andromeda how Polydectes had never really married, but since Danae wouldn't marry Polydectes, he forced her to be his handmaiden. Perseus was furious. He told Dictys to take care of Andromeda.

Perseus stormed to the palace, walked in and said, "Let all who are my friends shield their eyes!" So saying he raised Medusa's head and Polydectes and his courtiers were changed to statues. Perseus and Andromeda lived happily for many years and their descendants became great kings, but the greatest of these was Heracles the strongest man in the world.

Later Perseus was killed by Dionysus. Perseus and Andromeda were put up in the sky as constellations.

 

Clash of the Titans (the movie)

Clash of the Titans is a 2010 fantasy film (remake of the 1981 film of the same name). As you will see this film is very loosely based upon the Greek myth of Perseus. (CAREFUL SPOILER FOLLOWS!!!)

The film begins with a narration describing how the Olympians managed to overthrow their own creators, the Titans, through the aid of the Kraken, Zeus's creation. After their fierce struggle, Zeus (Liam Neeson) became the King of the Gods, his brother, Poseidon (Danny Huston), the Lord of the Seas, and their brother, Hades (Ralph Fiennes), tricked by Zeus to rule the sickening Underworld in chaos and terror.

A coffin is then seen drifting through the sea before it is rescued by a fisherman, Spyros (Pete Postlethwaite). When Spyros opens it, he discovers the baby Perseus and his mother, Danae, inside and raises the boy as his own. Perseus does not know who his real father and mother are, and worries that he will be neglected when his adoptive parents have a child of their own, but Spyros reassures him of his love. Years later, Perseus (Sam Worthington) and his family are fishing when they witness a group of soldiers from Argos destroying a massive statue of Zeus, effectively declaring war on the gods. Immediately following the fall of the statue, Zeus rises from the ocean, killing most of the soldiers and then destroying the boat Perseus and his family are on. Perseus attempts to save his family from the sinking boat, but is unable to, and passes out on driftwood from the wreckage. The surviving soldiers find him and take him back to Argos.

When King Cepheus (Vincent Regan) and Queen Cassiopeia (Polly Walker) of Argos, at a feast for the returning soldiers, compare themselves to the gods and compare the beauty of their daughter, Andromeda (Alexa Davalos), to that of Aphrodite, Zeus appears again, killing the remaining soldiers. When Perseus is unaffected by his attack, Zeus realizes he is a demigod, and tells him of his true father, Zeus. Zeus kills the queen, and demands that Argos further pay for its insolence and vanity; in 10 days, the Kraken will be released, and if the princess Andromeda is not sacrificed, then Argos will be destroyed. Zeus then seeks out the gods on Mount Olympus and convinces Zeus to agree to his plan in order to punish mankind for their lack of love.

Initially, the Argives see Perseus as an agent of the gods and imprison him, but the king later seeks his help. A woman named Io (Gemma Arterton), who has been watching over Perseus his entire life, advises him that the only way to avenge the death of his family is to agree to the king's wishes and attempt to defeat the Kraken. He is sent out with a small group of soldiers, led by Draco (Mads Mikkelsen), along with Io to seek the Stygian Witches, while Zeus visits Acrisius (Jason Flemyng), a disfigured man who was married to Danae when Zeus impregnated her with Perseus. When Acrisius planned to kill his wife and the newborn Perseus, Zeus sends down a thunderbolt from Olympus, badly scarring and disfiguring Acrisius's entire body. To help him achieve his goals, Zeus imbues him with superhuman powers to enable him to kill Perseus. Acrisius attacks the Argive group, killing several, and even when his hand is severed in the fight, his blood falling on the sand causes giant scorpions to rise from the desert and continue the attack. Perseus and the Argives manage to kill the first two scorpions, but are surrounded by three more, even larger than the first. As they are about to attack, the scorpions are suddenly calmed by a group of Djinn, gentle and benevolent Sand-Demons with magical powers. There is initially mistrust between the two groups, until the chief heals Perseus of grave injuries sustained during the fight, and the two sides agree to cooperate.

Perseus and his group, via the scorpions, arrive at the barren, rocky "Garden of Stygia", the site where the Gods ended the Great War and defeated the Titans. They find the three Stygian Witches, who are hideous and share one eye. They tell Perseus, after he threatens to throw their eye off the mountain, that Medusa's head will be able to kill the Kraken, but that he will die in the process. The soldiers go to the Underworld, where Medusa lives in seclusion in a temple, and only the soldiers enter (Io cannot because she is a woman). Medusa turns all the remaining soldiers into stone, the Djinn destroys himself with his heart, weakening Medusa, and Draco, who is gravely injured by one of Medusa's arrows early in the fight, rescues a cornered Perseus by skewering Medusa with a stone pillar from the ceiling and allows himself to be turned to stone in order to give Perseus a clear shot at Medusa's head. Perseus, eyes shut, kills Medusa. As he exits the temple, Acrisius returns and stabs Io. Perseus fights him again and, this time, successfully kills him, which turns Acrisius back to human form. Io dies, telling Perseus "this is the part of the journey you do alone..."

Perseus finds Pegasus and flies back to Argos as the Kraken is being released, thus destroying the city. As a priest is about to sacrifice Andromeda, Zeus appears, and has his creatures attack Perseus and steal Medusa's head. Perseus defeats the creatures and regains the head, as well as successfully turning the Kraken to stone before it consumes Andromeda. Zeus appears once more and boasts that he cannot die because he is immortal; but Perseus throws his sword, charged together with Zeus's lightning at him which banishes him to the Underworld. Perseus then saves Andromeda from drowning when the apparatus used to restrain her falls into the ocean, but refuses to become king of Argos.

In the final scene, Perseus stands at the broken statue of Zeus seen at the beginning. Zeus appears and offers to make Perseus a god on Olympus; but he refuses. Zeus notes that Zeus will return one day for revenge when mankind is in fear. Zeus states that if Perseus is still intent to stay on earth then he might give him a gift since he is the son of Zeus after all. A resurrected Io appears before Perseus, and the two begin to embrace while Pegasus flies above them.

More: Adventures of Perseus, Bulfinch - Perseus and Medusa, Medusa, Gorgons

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