A monstrous female being whose glance would turn the beholder into stone.

Homer knows only one Gorgo, who, according to the Odyssey,1 was one of the frightful phantoms in Hades: in the Iliad,2 the aegis of Athena contains the head of Gorgo, the terror of her enemies. Euripides3 still speaks of only one Gorgo, although Hesiod4 had mentioned three Gorgones, the daughters of Phorcys and Ceto, whence they are sometimes called Phorcides or Phorcydes.5

The names of the three Gorgones are Stheno (Stheino or Stenusa), Euryale, and Medusa,6

A Gorgon head (gorgoneion) was said to have apotropaic powers, which is why it was found on weapons and armor.


The horrendous face of Gorgo was depicted on the aegis. On Greek vases, as well as on the shields of warrior, the head was shown with snakes for hair, sometimes also with fangs and a protruding tongue. The head can also be found on ancient Athenian coins, gem stones, murals, and temple fixtures.

For more descriptions, see Medusa.



  1. xii, 633.
  2. v, 741; viii, 349; xii, 36; comp. Virgil. Aeneid vi, 289.
  3. Ion, 989.
  4. Theogony, 278.
  5. Aeschylus. Prometheus Bound, 793, 797; Pindar. Pythian Odes xii, 24; Ovid. Metamorphoses v, 230.
  6. Hesiod, l.c.; Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library ii, 4.2.


  • Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.

This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.