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Perseus was one of the greatest and oldest pan-Hellenicheroes of Greek mythology. He famously slew the dreaded Gorgon Medusa whose gaze could turn men to stone, an exploit he swiftly followed up with the daring rescue of the princess Andromeda from a monstrous sea-creature sent by Poseidon to terrorize the kingdom of Ethiopia.

Perseus is perhaps the oldest of the Greek heroes with depictions of his beheading of the Gorgon Medusa being amongst the earliest scenes from mythology appearing in art. Even in mythology he is believed to have lived three generations before that other great hero Hercules, who was himself one generation before the Trojan War. Perseus’ mortal father was Danaos and his mother was Danae, the daughter of Akrisios (or Acrisius), the king of Argos. However, Perseus, as with other Greek heroes, was believed to have had divine parentage, something which helped to explain how they could achieve such fantastic feats of derring-do, providing a link between men and gods and fullfilling their function as role models.

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