THE GORGONES (or Gorgons) were three powerful, winged daemons named Medousa (Medusa), Sthenno and Euryale. Of the three sisters only Medousa was mortal, and so it was her head which King Polydektes of Seriphos commanded the young hero Perseus to fetch. He accomplished this with the help of the gods who equipped him with a reflective shield, curved sword, winged boots and helm of invisibility. When he fell upon Medousa and decapitated her, two creatures sprang forth from the wound - the winged horse Pegasos and the giant Khrysaor. Perseus fled with the monster's head in a sack, and with her two angry sisters following close upon his heels.
According to late classical poets, Medousa was once a beautiful maiden who was transformed by Athena into a monster as punishment for lying with Poseidon in her shrine. However, early Greek writers, simply described her as a monster born into a monstrous family.