The character of Medusa there leads to evoke the legends of Greek mythology. After all, the Hellenic culture exerted a strong influence not only on the city of Taranto, as a Spartan colony, but on the whole of Puglia.
Medusa was one of the three Gorgons, creatures born from the union of two marine gods, Phorcys and Ceto. Originally, her appearance was very pleasant. So much so that Poseidon, the god of the seas, decided to conquer her. Seized by a fit of jealousy, the goddess of reason Athena wanted to punish her for this gesture, transforming her into a creature with a monstrous appearance.
From that moment, Medusa took on the characteristics that we all know today: a tangle of snakes like hair and a look capable of turning into stone theri enemies .
The strength of Medusa's look was so intense that even Athena, after helping the hero Perseus to behead her, chose to place the Gorgon's head in the center of her shield, in order to increase its power.
Therefore, it is no coincidence that his face is depicted with a certain recurrence in the antefixes. These are terracotta decorations, which were usually placed at the entrance to temples and tombs. Medusa's expression, made even more marked by the presence of large fangs and a huge tongue, had an aprotopaic function: it was believed
that it could ward off evil spirits and cancel their influence.
Today there is the possibility to admire the antefixes at the archaeological museum of Taranto, without running the risk ... of being petrified.
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