Chief of the Gorgons. Her head was cut off by Perseus (2 syl.),
and Minerva placed it in her aegis. Everyone who looked on this head
was instantly changed into stone.
The tale is that Medusa, famous for her hair, presumed to set her
beauty above that of Minerva; so the jealous goddess converted her
rival's hair into snakes, which changed to stone anyone who looked
thereon. The most famous painting of Medusa is by Leonardo da Vinci; it
is called his chef d'oeuvre.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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