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Old 11-06-2017, 07:48 AM
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CalMeacham is offline
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Join Date: May 2000
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 44,646
The Gorgon started off as a hideous monster with oversized staring eyes, wild hair*, and a protruding tongue. It was always depicted looking out at the "audience". Later on, it got a backstory (one of three monstrous sisters, the daughters of Ketos the Sea Monster and Phorkys, the Old Man of the Sea) and developed other characteristics, not always consistent (wings, hairy bodies, wearing snakes, sometimes a horse body, sometimes an eagle's body), then another pedigree (priestess who slept in Poseidon's temple, got changed into monster). Then they started depicting her as not so ugly, and not always looking out at you. Then she got downright good-looking, often with a pudgy face.

Then in the REnaissance she was really ugly again, with snakes for hair. But the Beautiful Gorgon came back into vogue (only with those snakes in her hair), and that's been the prevailing image, although some ugly ones remained.

More recently, we got variations on all of this (Ray Harryhausen seems to be the inventor of the snake-bodied Gorgon in Clash of the Titans, which has been much copied), including a bevy of "sexy" gorgons. If you look on internet websites you'll see sexy and downright pornographic gorgons. I haven't yet seen one with snakes for pubic hair, but it's only a matter of time.

*Archaic gorgons might have had snakes entwined in their hair, but having snakes in place of hair was exceedingly rare, and almost invariably appears only in a few relatively late pieces. 90% of Gorgons don't have any obvious snakes nearby, and can only be identified as "gorgons" by the stare and the protruding tongue, especially those on coins.
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