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Perseus

Overview

The son of Zeus, Perseus belongs in the first rank of Greek heroes. Indeed to some he was a greater hero even than Heracles. With the help of Hermes and Athena he slew the Gorgon Medusa, conquered a mighty sea monster and won the hand of the beautiful princess Andromeda. This volume tells of his enduring myth, it's rendering in art and literature, and its reception through the Roman period and up to the modern day.

This is the first scholarly book in English devoted to Perseus' ...

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Perseus

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Overview

The son of Zeus, Perseus belongs in the first rank of Greek heroes. Indeed to some he was a greater hero even than Heracles. With the help of Hermes and Athena he slew the Gorgon Medusa, conquered a mighty sea monster and won the hand of the beautiful princess Andromeda. This volume tells of his enduring myth, it's rendering in art and literature, and its reception through the Roman period and up to the modern day.

This is the first scholarly book in English devoted to Perseus' myth in its entirety for over a century. With information drawn from a diverse range of sources as well as varied illustrations, the volume illuminates the importance of the Perseus myth throughout the ages.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Although this series is intended for the general reader, Ogden has collected so much detailed information in the original sources that his book will also be read by specialists. Particularly interesting is the comparative evidence he adduces in an attempt to understand the meaning and function of this hero." -Oxford Bibliographies Online
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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of illustrations and credits

Ancient authors and Fragments

Why Perseus? 1

1 Introducing Perseus 3

Key Themes 11

2 The Family Saga 13

The family saga on stage 13

The impregnation of Danae 18

The chest and its mythological comparanda 19

Acrisius' motivations and the feud with the line of Proetus 22

Perseus' childhood 24

Polydectes' trick 26

The war against Dionysus 28

The death of Perseus 32

Overview 33

3 Medusa and the Gorgons 34

The origins of the Gorgon-head and of the Medusa story 34

The development of the quest narrative: Aeschylus and Pherecydes 40

Perseus' equipment 43

Where did the Gorgons live? 47

Gorgon weaponry 50

The corruption and punishment of Medusa 55

The female groups: Gorgons, Graeae, Nymphs, Hesperides and Nereids 56

Athena, Perseus, Bellerophon and the dragons 60

Perseus and Jason: quest narratives and myths of maturation 63

Overview 65

4 Andromeda and the Sea-Monster 67

The origins of the Andromeda tale 67

The tragic Andromeda 69

The imperial Andromeda 72

The catasterisms 74

Eros and eroticism 77

From Arcadia to India: Black Andromeda? 82

The ketos: a natural history 87

The Andromeda tale in context: Hesione and the dragons 93

Folktale comparanda 97

Overview 99

5 The Use and Abuse of Perseus 100

Perseus in the Argolid 100

Perseus in Seriphos and Larissa 105

Perseus in Athens and Sparta 106

Perseus in Persia 109

Perseus in Egypt 113

Perseus in the Macedonian and Hellenistic dynasties 114

Perseus in Rome and Italy 118

Perseus in Roman Asia Minor 119

Perseus rationalised 121

Overview 126

Perseus Afterwards 129

6 Perseus After Antiquity 131

FromFulgentius to Freud: three ages in the allegorisation of the Medusa tale 131

The Christian Perseus: St George and Princess Sabra, Roger and Angelica 136

Burne-Jones' Perseus Series 138

Overview 143

Conclusion: The Personality of Perseus 145

Appendices 147

Literary sources for the Perseus cycle 149

Family tree 153

Notes 154

Further reading 167

Bibliography 169

Index 183

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