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Perseus

One of the Heroes of the Greeks

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Perseus' Appearance: A handsome, vigorous young man

Perseus' Symbol or Attribute: Often shown with the severed head of Medusa; sometimes depicted with a hat-like helmet and winged sandals similar to those worn by Hermes

Strengths: Persistent, persuasive, courageous, and a strong fighter.

Weaknesses/Flaws: Can be a bit deceptive, like Hermes himself.

Parents of Perseus Danaë and Zeus, who appeared to her as a shower of gold.

Spouse: Andromeda

Children: Seven sons with Andromeda.

Major Temple Sites: Perseus does not have temple sites, but he is associated with the ancient citadel of Mycenae, Tiryns, Argos and with the island of Serifos.

Basic Story: Perseus' mother Danae was imprisoned by her father because of an oracle that said her offspring would kill him. The great god Zeus came to her in the form of a shower of gold -either the metal, or in the form of golden light. She subsequently bore Perseus. Her father, fearful of directly killing a child of Zeus, instead shut them up in a box and put them out to sea. They washed ashore on Serifos, where a fisherman, Dictys, took them in. The fisherman's brother, Polydectes, was the ruler of Serifos. Later, after Perseus was grown, Polydectes fell in love with Danae and sent Perseus on a quest to bring back the head of the Medusa to get him out of the way.

Helped by Hermes, Athena, and some fresh-water nymphs, who collectively provided him with a magical sword, shield, helmet of invisibility, winged sandals, shoulder bag and advice, Perseus succeeded in slaying Medusa because he knew he could look at her reflected in his shiny shield, and know where to aim the killing blow. On his way back from this adventure, he discovered the lovely Libyan princess Andromeda who had been chained to a rock awaiting death from a whale-like sea monster, Cetus. He saved her and married her. Libyan princesses figure frequently in Greek myth - Io and Europa were also believed to be from the coast of Libya, which was just far enough away to be exotic to the Greeks.

Interesting Fact: Perseus may be based on a real person; he is said to be the founder of the Perseid dynasty of the Myceneans and early Greek writers treated him as a historic personage, not a god or demigod.

In the "Clash of the Titans" movie, the Cetus has been replaced by the non-Greek Kraken.

Perseus reappears in the sequel, Wrath of the Titans.

More Fast Facts on Greek Gods and Goddesses:

The 12 Olympians - Gods and Goddesses - Greek Gods and Goddesses - Temple Sites - The Titans - Aphrodite - Apollo - Ares - Artemis - Atalanta - Athena - Centaurs - Cyclopes - Demeter- Dionysos - Eros - Gaia - Hades - Helios - Hephaestus - Hera - Hercules - Hermes - Kronos - The Kraken - Medusa - Nike - Pan- Pandora - Pegasus - Persephone - Poseidon - Rhea - Selene - Zeus.

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