Study Guide

Perseus and Medusa Context

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The tale of Perseus is one of the most famous in all Greek mythology. He is thought to be the oldest of all the Greek heroes, coming before Theseus, Heracles, Odysseus, and the rest. His story was recorded by many major Greek historians like Apollodorus and Pausanias. The Roman poet, Ovid, also included a version of Perseus' tale in his famous epic poem The Metamorphoses.

Fascination with Perseus' battle with Medusa continued long after ancient Greek and Roman times. Over the years, many famous artists have taken on the subject. Antonio Canova, Benvenuto Cellini, Edward Burne Jones, Paul Reubens, and more have created paintings or sculptures based on the story of Perseus and Medusa. (Psst. Check out our Photos tab for some examples.)

The story has continued to be popular even today. In 1981, it was turned into a movie called Clash of the Titans, which featured the amazing stop-motion animation of special effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen. Clash of the Titans was remade in 2010 starring Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, and Gemma Arterton, among other Hollywood stars.

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