Medusa and her two triplet Gorgon sisters, Sthenno and Euryale, are monsters from Greek and Roman mythology notorious for their ability to turn whoever looked upon them (or directly into their faces) into stone.

Is there any ancient (or even mediaeval) source that happens to go into the detail of whether one's accoutrements—clothing, footwear, armour, weaponry in hand, a bag slung over one's shoulder, and such the like—would get turned to stone along with the individual who is getting petrified by a Gorgon?

The closest to such a thing that I've come across is at two different points of the battle scene at the wedding of Perseus and Andromeda described in Ovid's Metamorphoses Book 5.

In Line 235, Phineus, Perseus' main opponent in the battle, is portrayed as having tears which harden into stone together with the rest of him once he sees the face of Medusa. However, since tears are a natural part of a person, it seems quite logical for every part of his body itself to undergo this change.

Earlier on in the fight (Lines 196-199), Eryx, an ally of Phineus, is also lithified, and depending on the translation, it seems as though both his armour and weapons are also transformed into stone at the same time as he is, but I am uncertain as to whether it is all that explicit on the matter.

According to A.D. Melville's 1986 translation, he became "a man in armour turned to stone." In Brookes More's 1922 version "he stood, complete with arms, a statue." According to A.S. Kline, via his Poetry in Translation website, Eryx became "unmoving stone, a fully-armed statue."

Would it be an accurate assessment to deduce from this that Ovid means that Eryx and everything he was wearing and carrying was petrified? Moreover, does this indicate a principle that this is the default result? Might any other source say something additional on the issue, perhaps less ambiguous?

Related: Does the cap of Hades keep one's accessories hidden?


1 Answer 1


I would like to refer to a contemporary version of the myth - Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.

Where victims and all of their possessions are turned into stone.

Secondly, consider the following link, with Latin version (translated to English using Google Chrome Translate extension): https://latin.packhum.org/author/959 - though I couldn't find any reference, maybe you'll find a reference to this particular aspect of your question.

Translated version, and book 4 and 5: http://classics.mit.edu/Ovid/metam.html.

Moreover, considering that Perseus used the head of Medusa to turn Atlas into the Atlas Mountain, but this did not include the celestial heavens that Atlas was cursed to hold up for eternity - we might conclude that Medusa's stare could turn any creature, including Titans such as Atlas, to stone - including extremities and clothing and possessions, but that Medusa could not turn anything belonging to Zeus or Athena to entombed stone, since Zeus and Athena could not be turned into stone by Medusa - thus Atlas was transformed into the Atlas mountains, while his burden imposed by Zeus came to symbolise the hard and enduring mountain.

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