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Perseus

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Perseus
Perseus
{{{Caption}}}
General Info
Title(s)
Greek Περσεύς
Consort Andromeda
Parents Zeus, Danae
Children Perses

Perseus (Greek: Περσεύς) was a famous hero in Greek mythology. He was the son of Zeus and Danae, making him a demigod, and is known best for having slain the creature Medusa.

In Mythology

Birth

The King of Argos, Acrisius, visited the oracle of Delphi, in the hopes of having a male heir. However, upon arrival, he was shocked about what  the oracle said. He will be killed by his grandson. Acrisius promptly had his only daughter, Danae, imprisoned in a tower. However, Zeus, seeing Danae and stirred by her beauty, disguised himself as a shaft of golden sunlight and impregnated her. Acrisius, on finding out the news, contemplated his next move. For, if he were to murder his daughter, he would be cursed by the gods, particularly Zeus. He then decided to have her locked up in a chest and thrown into the sea. Danae prayed to Zeus to save her and her son. Zeus guided the chest onto the beach of the island of Seriphos, where she was found by a fisherman named Dictys. Dictys was the brother of Polydectes, King of the island. However, he preferred a much humbler and simpler life than his brother. Polydectes saw Danae and decided to marry her. However, Perseus, who grew into a strong, young man, opposed him.

The Quest for Medusa's Head

The next day, Polydectes held a feast. All his male subjects were ordered to bring a gift to the feast. Because Perseus was poor, he didn't have anything to give at the feast. Polydectes exiled him and ordered him to return only upon killing the only mortal Gorgon, Medusa, and bring back her head as a gift. He expected Perseus to die on this quest so he could live with his new wife in peace.

As soon as Perseus was out of sight of any mortals, two gods appeared: Hermes and Athena. Hermes gave Perseus a sword to slay the Gorgons with, and Athena presented him with a highly-polished shield - he was told to use this as a mirror, because if he looked directly at any of the Gorgons, he would be turned to stone. She also told him to go west and find the Gorgon's sisters, the Graeae - they were the only ones who knew where the Gorgons were.

Gorgon.jpeg

A representation of one of the three Gorgon's heads

The Graeae (literally "gray ones") were three sister born as old ladies and shared a single eye and tooth amongst themselves. Perseus took the eye from them and threatened to pop it between his fingers if they didn't tell them where the Gorgons lived. They told him it was a swampy island with hardly any light, but just enough to see.

Before Perseus traveled to the island of the Gorgons, he first went to the land of Hyperborea where he received three special items: a magic wallet (to place Medusa's severed head in once she's vanquished), a pair of winged sandals (to travel back to his home), and an invisible cap (to hide himself from her immortal sisters, Euryale and Sthenno ).

Perseus landed on the island to find the three Gorgons laying on the ground sleeping (courtesy of Hypnos). Using the shield as a mirror, Perseus approached the sleeping Gorgons. When he was close enough, he brought the sword down upon Medusa's head, severing it from the body and having it roll and wake the other Gorgons. From her blood sprang the winged horse, Pegasus, and his human brother Chrysaor. He stuffed her head in his pouch, but the remaining Gorgons woke and flew at Perseus. He hid himself from them using the cap of darkness and then, using his winged sandles, he flew back home. It is said that when Perseus flew across the desert in Egypt, Medusa's blood leaked from the purse and touched the sand and created the poisonous snakes that live there today.

He arrived home during his mother's forced wedding. Polydectes, furious upon the hero's return, ordered him to present the head as a wedding gift. Perseus yelled, "Mother, cover your eyes!" He then pulled Medusa's head out of his pouch and turned everyone to stone. He then went to Athena's temple and gave the goddess the shield with Medusa's image etched on it, which she named the Aegis. Then he threw Medusa's head into the ocean where it drifted across the sea, creating coral on the way.

Andromeda

On his way home from his quest, Perseus passed by the land of Aethiopia where he saw Andromeda, the daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia (king and queen of Aethiopis), chained to a rock by the sea. He freed her and killed the sea monster that was about to eat Andromeda by showing the monster Medusa's severed head, instantly turning it to stone. After saving the king's daughter and Aethiopia from the sea monster's wrath, the king gave consent to Perseus to marry Andromeda. 

The sea monster was Cetus, sent by Poseidon in revenge for Cassiopeia saying Andromeda was more beautiful than his wife, Amphitrite.

Death of Acrisius

Perseus later returned to Greece, where he decided to compete in the Olympics, in Olympia. Also attending were many royals, in particular, King Acrisius. As Acrisius sat down in the stands, the discus event was beginning. Perseus, competing at the time, threw the discus with such force it flew into the stands and inadvertently killed Acrisius, thus fulfilling the oracle's prophecy. Perseus, in shame, traded his kingdom of Argos, for that of his cousin Megapenthes'. Thus Perseus, now King of Tiryns and Mycenae (which he founded), married Andromeda and had many children and grandchildren, who frequently intermarried with the descendants of Pelops.

In Popular Culture

Television

  • Perseus appears in the third episode of the second season of the television series The Storyteller.

Comic books

  • Perseus stars on the four-parter limited series Wrath of the Titans. Continuing from the events of the 1981 Clash of the Titans film, Perseus is know the king of Argos and has a son with his wife Andromeda. Their son is kidnapped by unknown forces, and Perseus will travel when no man has gone before to rescue his son.
  • Perseus returns in the three-parter series Wrath of the Titans: Revenge of Medusa.

Films

  • Perseus in Wrath of the Titans

    Perseus in Wrath of the Titans

    Perseus is portrayed by Harry Hamlin in the original 1981 film Clash of the Titans.
  • Perseus appears in the 2010 film Clash of the Titans , which is a remake of the 1981 film of the same name. In this remake, Perseus is portrayed by Sam Worthington.
  • Sam Worthington reprise his role as Perseus on the 2012 sequel to the 2010 remake, entitled Wrath of the Titans.
  • The hero from Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, Percy, is named after Perseus.

Video games

  • Perseus appears in Clash of the Titans: The Video Game.
  • Perseus appears in God of War II voiced by Harry Hamlin. In game, Perseus is onn a quest, searching for the sisters of fate to bring his wife Andromeda back from the dead. He encounters Kratos and thinks he is part of the challenges he must complete to win an audience with the sisters of fate. Perseus fights Kratos considering him as an enemy (which was not the case), but Kratos manage to subdue Perseus, despite Perseus high experience in combat. Kratos ultimately kills Perseus by stabbing him in the chest and throwing him against a wall, which resulted in Perseus been impaled by a hook that was attached to the wall. Perseus' original appearance in God of War II was modeled after Harry Hamlin's portrayal of the character in the 1981 film Clash of the Titans, but due to copyright restrictions his appearance was slightly changed.

Portrayal

References


Gallery

In film

Video games

Other media


Videos

Family

Inachid Genealogy in Greek mythology
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Inachus
 
Melia
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Zeus
 
Io
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Phoroneus
 
Teledice
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Epaphus
 
Memphis
 
 
 
 
 
 
Apis
 
 
 
 
 
 
Argos
 
Evadne
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Libya
 
Poseidon
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Criasos
 
Melantho
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Belus
 
Achiroe
 
 
 
 
 
 
Agenor
 
Telephassa
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Phorbas
 
Cleobea
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Danaus
 
Pieria
 
Aegyptus
 
Cadmus
 
Cilix
 
Europa
 
Phoenix
 
Gelanor
 
 
 
Triopas
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jasus
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hypermnestra
 
 
 
Lynceus
 
Kings of Thebes
 
Kings of Cilicia
 
Kings of Crete
 
Kings of Phoenicia
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sosis
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Nepeira
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lacadaemon
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SpartaAbas
 
 
 
 
 
Ocalea
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Crotopos
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sthenelos
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Eurydice
 
 
 
 
Acrisius
 
Proetus
 
Hipponoe
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Zeus
 
Danaë
 
 
 
 
 
Megapenthes
 
Demophile
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Perseus
 
Andromeda
 
 
 
 
 
Argeos
 
Pyrante
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Electyron
 
 
Alcaeus
 
Sthenelus
 
 
Anaxagoras
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hyrmine
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Eurydice
 
 
 
 
 
Astydamia
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Nicippe
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Amphitryon
 
 
 
 
Alcmene
 
 
Zeus
 
Eurystheus
 
 
 
 
 
Alector
 
Iphis
 
Helice
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Automedusa
 
Iphicles
 
 
 
 
Heracles
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Itea
 
 
 
 
 
Sthenelus
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cylabares
 
 
 
 
 
Iolaus
 
Megara
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Heraclidae(see Heraclid genealogy)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bacchiadae
After Eurystheus, the kingdom of Mycenae passed to the Atreids in the person of Atreus After Cylabares, the kingdom of Argos passed to the Atreids of Mycenae in the person of Orestes (Atreus' grandson)


Preceded by:
Acrisius
King of Argos
Mythic
Succeeded by
Megapenthes


Preceded by:
Megapenthes
King of Mycenae
Mythic
Succeeded by
Electyron




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