43

It was looking directly into Medusa's eyes that would turn a mortal to stone, not the whole of her face. Using the shield as a mirror meant that even if Medusa's gaze fell upon Perseus, it would be at an angle. Not that it mattered in the end, as Perseus was lucky enough to catch Medusa and her sisters sleeping: But the Gorgons had heads twined about with ...


33

In Greek Mythology, the Minotaur was a singular creature, the man/bull hybrid offspring of King Minos' wife. Minotaur is a proper noun meaning "bull of Minos", while the creature itself was known as Asterion in its native Crete. The use of Minotaur as a species name, and the idea that more of these creatures exist, is a purely 20th Century concept, ...


28

The Minotaur was a lone creature, the first and only of it's kind. The unfortunate result of a Greek God loosing his temper. Shortly after King Minos (or Minos The King) ascended to the throne of the island of Crete, he began to pray to Poseidon for a sign of his right to sit on said throne. Poseidon sent a snow-white bull, the Cretan Bull, out of the sea ...


24

Giants are said to be element-based creatures. Giants are extremely strong and are associated with cold and frost.[1] One giant is supposed to bring about the wind (Hræsvelgr), while another is associated with the sea (Ægir) and yet another with fire (Logi). source: http://www.germanicmythology.com/original/cosmology4.html [1]: Vafthrüthnismal ...


22

Sumer, sometime in the 4th or 3rd millennium B.C. My first instinct was to check out the Wikipedia article again. One interesting quote was The presence of dragons within Chinese culture dates back several thousands of years with the discovery of a dragon statue dating back to the fifth millennium BC from the Yangshao culture in Henan in 1987, and jade ...


21

Many early Celtic legends apply male and female characteristics to geographical features. If you take Mary Caine's works on the areas around the Isle of Avalon, the hills of Glastonbury, then the location of the lake is female. Where the Michael ley line (red male energy) intersects the much shorter Mary ley line (white female energy) at Glastonbury Tor, ...


18

They are not really the same. In fact, they are not both fox spirits with nine tails. Left: A nine-tailed fox depicted in the ancient Chinese bestiary Classic of Mountains and Seas (山海經) | Right: A distinctly single tailed kitsune depicted in the Japanese almanac kin mou zui (訓蒙図彙) The fox spirits of later Chinese traditions do not necessarily have nine ...


17

In pseudo-Apollodorus' version, Medusa's sisters sought revenge on Perseus, who escaped them by using the Cap of Hades (which rendered its wearer invisible): So Perseus put the head of Medusa in the wallet (kibisis) and went back again; but the Gorgons started up from their slumber and pursued Perseus: but they could not see him on account of the cap, ...


17

The myths themselves are not going to give a technical explanation of this, so we are setting off on the wrong foot if we are seeking an answer at such a level, which is that of our modern technological mind. An initial observation to make is that the myth does not always include a shield, as Yannis notes in the case of Hesiod's account. We can also turn to ...


17

I don't really consider that a particularly good source. Virgil says that Cacus was Half Human, in the Aeneid, Book VIII: There was a cave here, receding to vast depths, untouched by the sun’s rays, inhabited by the fell shape of Cacus, the half-human, and the ground was always warm with fresh blood, and the heads of men, insolently ...


17

The Pomola is a snow bird spirit in Native American mythology, it lived on Mt Katahdin and caused cold weather In Penobscot folklore, the Pomola was a bird spirit that lived on Mt Katahdin. It was associated with night, wind, snow, and storms. Apparently it had a moose's head according to some legends. The Penobscots and Abenakis avoided climbing to the ...


16

It was an especially cruel and specific punishment for Medusa as she was known for her beautiful golden hair Medusa's transformation from a beautiful golden haired priestess of Athena to not-so-beautiful Gorgon snake-lady was not instant, is was a gradual and drawn out punishment: She was originally a golden-haired, fair maiden, who, as a priestess of ...


15

The following quotes are taken from Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns and Goblins - An Encyclopedia, by Carol Rose (highly recommended). In the entry for Brownies: Families were proud of their Brownies as they brought good fortune; to lose one was disastrous. [...] In general, the Brownie was the most industrious of the household spirits, ploughing, ...


15

When the Argonauts reached Crete, Talos - the bronze guardian of Europa - managed to push them back to the sea with ease. The Argonauts were desperate for food and water, and Medea decided to use her magic to kill Talos. She "sent forth baneful phantoms" and as Talos was trying to stop them from reaching Dikti (Europa's hideout), he accidentaly "grazed his ...


15

In Greek mythology, the giant Alcyoneus had seven daughters: Phthonia, Anthe, Methone, Alcippe, Pallene, Drimo, and Asteria. When their father was slain by Heracles, they threw themselves into the sea, and were changed into ice-birds. To be more specific, the species they transformed into was the kingfisher. source: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/...


15

There's a wolf transformation in the Epic of Gilgamesh, and as written texts go they don't come any earlier. Although in this case it was a spell cast upon him and he never had a chance to transform back into human form. There may of course be earlier oral mythology.


14

The World Turtle (Wikipedia) This motif is very well known. Not a god per se, but close enough. (Btw: I think it represents a ship). Rainbow Serpent (Wikipedia) The Rainbow Serpent or Rainbow Snake is a common deity, often a creator god, in the mythology and a common motif in the art of Aboriginal Australia. It is named for the obvious ...


13

TLDR This belief doesn't come from a myth it first appeared in Wizard of Oz. I think the first time this belief was stated was in the the Wizard of Oz rather than in any myths. The belief probably comes from older myths/customs surroundin witches that were drawn upon to create this idea for the Wizard of Oz. 1) Water used to find witches. This took 2 forms....


12

The excellent answer by HDE mentions the Chinese dragon from 4700-2900BC, but did not explore further. This answer will attempt to source the claim for the Chinese dragon, which is arguably older and more complete than the Sumerian dragon. A photo of the dragon, made from clams embedded within sandstone, can be found here: ...


11

There are a lot of different stories about the Sirens'nature, looks, number and parentage. One that keeps coming back is that initially they were indeed beautiful sea nymphs/ demi-godesses, able to lure seamen purely with the beauty of their song. They were also Persephone's handmaidens. When Persephone was abducted by Hades, Demeter gave them the bodies ...


11

Nereus was a fish-tailed deity. Anything needed to be said about Nereus is nicely expressed in this link, but I'll sum up some things. That Nereus is a sea-god of some antiquity is noted by the familiarity in which he appears in Hesiod, though that particular name might be later. In Homer, he is named instead something like "The Old Man of the Sea." He ...


11

I believe it may be the Tritons, but there are probably other part-fish, part-humans. Plus, there was a fish-headed god in antiquity (not greco-roman). A side note is that there were some mistranslations and some of the "sirens" in Greek tales were half-birds and not half-fish (i.e., harpies and not mermaids). "In Greek mythology, the Sirens were three ...


11

The Kraken is a single entity. However in modern times it became a more loose term having sailors during the 1500-1700s calling giant squids "Krakens". The possibility of so many sightings led people to believe that this was a race. The Norse mythology named the beast Kraken based on the word Krake means "a twisted animal" while Krake in German means "...


11

The underwater panther is indeed a very widespread figure. Ancient Objects and Sacred Realms: Interpretations of Mississippian Iconography has a section titled "The Forms of the Underwater Powers", which gives brief descriptions of records of similar traditions from peoples spanning the Plains, Mississippi river, Great Lakes, and Southeastern United States. ...


11

Coyote! (A key figure in Navajo mythology.) Also Iktomi in Lakota mythology.


11

Most sources I know of simply use some form of "ὄφις" (snake) when describing Medusa or her sisters. That's not particularly helpful in identifying the species of the snakes. One source that uses a different word is Nonnus, who describes Medusa's head as "εχιδνοκόμοιο" (Dionysiaca Book 30, 264 ff). Now, this could be translated as "viper hair", but could ...


10

This is a physicist's answer , commenting on the quotes in the checked answer: "by which they flew; and they turned to stone such as beheld them." There is no indication of direct gaze in the eyes in this passage. It seems a passive evil. My impression is that the use of the shield is based on the analogy with seeing the image of the sun in water or the ...


10

The Flying Spaghetti Monster! The Flying spaghetti monster is a piece of Spaghetti, which is obviously not human.


10

Raven (Xu'uya) is the creator god in the Haida stories (from islands off the West Coast of Canada). This is one of the main cultures that used totem poles. Although many of the stories from Haida have been lost, you can find much amazing artwork, and there are anthologies written up. Raven found the first men in a clam shell (you can find a related ...


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