In Greek mythology Medusa was a Gorgon, a chthonic female monster & a daughter of Phorcys & Ceto. In a late version of the Medusa myth, related by the Roman poet Ovid, Medusa was originally a beautiful maiden, “the jealous aspiration of many suitors” & priestess in Athena’s temple. But because Poseidon raped her in Athena’s temple, the enraged Athena transformed Medusa’s beautiful hair to serpents & made her face so terrible to behold that the mere sight of it would turn men to stone.
In Greek mythology Medusa ("guardian, protectress") was a monster, a Gorgon, generally described as having the face of a hideous human female with living venomous snakes in place of hair. Gazing directly into her eyes would turn onlookers to stone. Most sources describe her as the daughter of Phorcys and Ceto, though the author Hyginus (Fabulae, 151) interposes a generation and gives Medusa another chthonic pair as parents.
Athene receives the head of Medousa from Perseus. The hero is depicted as a young man, wearing the winged boots of Hermes and the cap of darkness on his head. Athene holds the Gorgoneion (Gorgon head) by its snaky locks, its image reflecting in the mirror of the shield. ca 400 - 385 BC