Perseus: The first of the heroes of Greek mythology
Perseus was the son of Zeus and Danae the only child of Achrisius King of Argos. Achrisius longed for a son to succeed him so he consulted the oracle of the Delphi seeking a resolution. The oracle foresaw that he would be killed by his own daughter’s son. Fearful of the prophecy, he sought to relieve his daughter from the “burden of labor” and imprisoned her in a bronze chamber open only at the sky.
His decision proved to be a wrong one, because the sky is Zeus’s realm and Danae was beautiful. Tempting a legendary womanizer like Zeus was an accident waiting to happen… and it happened. When Danae gave birth to Perseus Achrisius put them in a box and threw them at the sea. The sea waves carried them to the island of Seriphos were they were hosted by the King Diktes.
They lived there for many years until Perseus came of age and Polydiktes, the older son of King Diktes asked Perseus to perform his first great feat. He asked Perseus to defeat Medusa and bring him her head, but there was more to his intentions. He secretly craved to marry his mother Danae and to remove him from her side. He neglected to tell Perseus what happens to those who dare look medusa in the eyes… Athena and Hermes instructed him to find Medusas sisters, the Hesperides, because only they knew how she could be defeated. He soon reached the land of the Graeae, the three old women who only had one eye and one tooth to share between them and asked them were he could find the Gorgons. They were not that willing to reveal their secrets to him so he used his resourcefulness. As the women passed the eye from one to the other, Perseus snatched it from them, held it ransom in return for the location of the Hesperides. They could not refuse…
From the Hesperides he received a bronze shield an adamantine sword and Hade’s invisibility cloak. When he reached their cave, Stheno, Euryale and Medusa were fast asleep. He knew that all that dared to look in her eyes were petrified, so using her reflection in the shield, he approached her and cut of her head with his sword. He then used the cloak to escape her sisters. It is said that from Medusas head sprang Pegasus the winged horse.
In his return he passed through Ethiopia were he found Andromeda, the daughter of King Cipheas and Cassiopeia. She was tied on a rock, left to be slaughtered by the monster Cetus. Perseus slew the monster and set her free claiming her as his wife. They had three sons, Persies, Electryon, Sthenelus and one daughter, Gorgophone. When he came back in Greece he produced Medusas head to the treacherous Polydikes who was instantly petrified.
No one escaped a prophecy
He later returned to Argos to see his Grandfather, but Archisius fled to Larisa to evade any fatal contact. To his bad luck Perseus was there and competed in discus throwing in athletic games organized by the king. Archisius was killed by a misdirected throw of Perseus discus thus making the prophecy true. Perseus inherited the kingdom of Argos and exchanged it with the kingdom of Tirinth owned by his cousin Megapenthes. He later founded the kingdom of Mithea and Mycenae.
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Jason and the Argonauts
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