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PERSEUS
Son of Zeus and Danae, grandson of Acrisius (q.v.). An oracle had declared that Danae, the daughter of Acrisius, would give birth to a son who would kill his grandfather. Acrisius committed Perseus with his mother to the sea in a wooden box, which was carried by the waves to the isle of Seriphus. Here the honest fisherman Dictys son of Magnes (See AeOLUS, 1) brought it to land with his net, and took care of mother and child. Dictys' brother Polydectes, however, the king of the island, conceived a passion for the fair Danae, and finding the son in the way, betrayed the young Perseus, who was now grown out of boyhood, into promising, on the occasion of a banquet, to do anything for him, even should he order the head of Medusa, and held him to his word. Encouraged and assisted by Athene and Hermes, Perseus reached the Graiae (q.v.), in the farthest part of Libya; and by capturing the single eye and tooth which they possessed in common, compelled them to show him the way to their sisters the Gorgons (q.v.). He also made them equip him for the undertaking with the winged sandals, the magic bag, and the helmet of Hades, which made the wearer invisible. Hermes added to these a sharp sword shaped like a sickle. Thus provided, he flew to the Gorgons on the shores of Oceanus, found them asleep, and, since their glance turned the beholder to stone, with face averted smote and cut off Medusa's head, which Athens showed him in the mirror of her shield, while she guided his hand for the blow. He thrust it quickly into his bag, and flew off through the air, pursued by the other two Gorgons; but, by virtue of his helmet, he escaped them, and came in his flight to Aethiopia. Here he rescued Andromeda (q.v.), and won her as his bride. Returning with her to Seriphus, he avenged his mother for the importunities of Polydectes by turning the king and his friends into stone by the sight of Medusa's head; set Dictys on the throne of the island; gave up the presents of the, Graiae to Hermes, who restored them; and presented the Gorgon's head to Athene, who set it in the middle of her shield or breastplate. Then he returned with his mother and wife to Argos. But before his arrival Acrisius bad gone away to Larissa in Thessaly, and here Perseus unwittingly killed him with a discus at the funeral games held in honour of the king of that country. He duly buried the body of his grandfather, but, being unwilling to succeed to his inheritance, effected an exchange with Megapenthes, his uncle Proetus' son, took Tiryns in exchange for Argos and built Midea and Mycenae. By Andromeda he had one daughter, Gorgophone, and six sons. The eldest, Perses, was regarded as the ancestor of the Persians; Alcaeus, Sthenelus, and Electryon were the fathers respectively of Amphitryon, Eurystheus, and Alcmene, the mother of Heracles. Perseus had a shrine (heroon) on the road between Argos and Mycenae, and was worshipped with divine honours in Seriphus and Athens.

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PERSEPHONE, HADES, AND CERBERUS. (Rome, Vatican)
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