Perseus armed with a sickle has a well established iconography in Greek mythology:

From Theoi.com:

Perseus decapitates the Gorgon Medusa

But why does Perseus carry this "weapon" instead of a proper sword, like it is shown in later depictions?

The obvious answer is because the Gods gave it to him and it was magical. About who exactly gave him this weapon, Theoi.com has sources for Athena and Hermes, while Wikipedia says it was Zeus in two articles: Perseus and harpe).

But is there any meaning to it?

Like an agricultural link, or maybe a clue pointing to a possible foreign origin of this myth?

And, if it was really Zeus the god who gave the sickle to Perseus, does that mean it could be the same sickle used by Cronus against his father Uranus?

  • Jocelyn M. Woodward, Perseus: A Study in Greek Art and Legend, (1937/ Cambr.), is a short study relating various versions of the Perseus story and commenting representations: "Harpe, the sword with which Perseus slew medusa. Greek art shows it first straight, then sickle-shaped and finally a mixture of both." (p.98) And perhaps answering the question "if" that continues by "could that mean" is not really interesting.
    – sand1
    Commented Jun 1, 2018 at 21:09
  • @sand1 Quote from the web mythology.net: "Hermes gave Perseus his winged sandals for speed and the sickle that had been used by Cronus to castrate his father." The link is to Google cache, as I get the "This site can't provide a secure connection" error.
    – Rodia
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 18:22
  • @sand1 This detail of the story seems to be being copied and pasted around. Quick example from the Malta Classics Association: "Hermes gave him a pair of winged sandals and the scythe that Cronus used to liberate certain appendages from his father."
    – Rodia
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 18:22
  • @sand1 There's also a mention about both sickles being the same in The Origin of Pagan Idolatry ascertained from Historical Testimony and Circumstantial Evidence, vol. II, by XIX century theologian George Stanley Faber.
    – Rodia
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 18:22
  • @sand1 I also want to point that both sickles are adamantine, and from using them 1) Aphrodite and 2) Pegasus and Chrysaor were born. There's also a direct family link between Cronus and Perseus.
    – Rodia
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 18:23

1 Answer 1


I believe that it was to show how like Cronus, Perseus, was killing a monster for power. In Cronus's case he became king of the Titans and in Perseus's case he eventually became king of his true homeland. Also the sickle was a buried gift of the gods which was prophesied that would be used to kill Medusa.
This is just my opinion.

  • 1
    Hi Evan and welcome to the site! Stackexchange sites aren't like regular forums where members simply state their views. These sites are intended to be community-based Q&A sites, with (if possible) sourced answers and not presentation of opinions. I recommend taking the tour to understand how things work around here.
    – Harel13
    Commented Apr 5, 2022 at 3:13
  • While opinion and interpretation can be valuable, this would be improved by giving a stronger basis for your opinion.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Apr 5, 2022 at 7:37

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