Medusa and the Artemis Temple of Corfu

Michael Lahanas

Archaische Griechische Kunst : Medusa und der Artemis Tempel von Korfu

And to Phorkys Keto bore the Graiai .. and the Gorgones who, beyond the famous stream of Okeanos, live in the utmost place toward night, by the singing Hesperides: they are Sthenno (Strong one), Euryale (Wide-Stepping), and Medousa (The Guardian), whose fate is a sad one, for she (Medousa) was mortal, but the other two immortal and ageless both alike... But when Perseus had cut off the head of Medousa there sprang from her blood great Khrysaor and the horse Pegasos so named from the springs (pegai) of Okeanos, where she was born... Hesiod Theogony

As Medousa was slain [by Perseus], the neck was delivered of its twin birth, the Horse [Pegasos] and the Boy [Khrysaor] with the golden sword.” –Nonnos Dionysiaca


Temple of Artemis on the island of Corfu (c. 580 BC), excavated in 1911 near the monastery of Agioi Theodoroi, probably the oldest limestone-pediment of an ancient Greek temple. (Higher Resolution Image)


Archaeological Museum Corfu, Greece.
Gorgon Medusa (or Medousa) the central figure in the Knielauf ( "kneeling-running") position between two panthers, and offspring of Medusa--the winged horse Pegasos (or Pegasus) (relief destroyed or lost) and the boy Chrysaor "Golden Sword" (next to her). This is chronological impossible as Medusa's children were produced when after she was killed by Perseus. At the corners the enemies of the Greeks, the Trojans and the Giants (who represent the uncivilized world). A rather strange composition of different stories and figures with different sizes in order to fill the triangular area. The Medusa is even so large thet she does not fit in the borders of the triangular structure. The Pediment sculptures of the Artemis Temple in Corfu, of the Aphaia Temple, of the Temple of Zeus in Olympia and of the Parthenon demonstrate the evolution of Greek Art.

Image of a reconstruction of Medusa from http://island.korfu-service.com/Korfu/Kunst/AT_Westgiebel/at_westgiebel.html (German)

A similar version with Pegasos and Chrysaor was found in Italy. See: http://www.clevelandart.org/exhibcef/mg/html/9222217.html


A dead

The killing of Troy’s king Priam, seated on his throne, by Neoptolemos the son of Achilles in front (Part which was lost or destroyed). Some think that another pair is shown namely Poseidon attacking his mother Rhea.


Medusa original and my colored version (some evidence exists of a red color used for her dress). Not shown are the wings of Medusa that are partly destroyed). Medusa once a beautiful girl was transformed into a Monster by Athena when she considered herself more beautiful than Athena. Sigmund Freund in "Medusa's Head" provides a psychological explanation of the terror of Medusa, as a fear of castration linked to the sight of the female genitals surrounded by hair in which the spectator becomes "stiff with terror,"...

The Medusa and parts of the perdiment as discovered in parts

The Gorgon at Corfu Museum, today

The Gorgon was a maiden bold
Who turned to stone the Greeks of old
That looked upon her awful brow.
We dig them out of ruins now,
And swear that workmanship so bad
Proves all the ancient sculptors mad.

Ambrose Bierce - GORGON : Devil's Dictionary


Chrysaor, “Golden Sword” , Medusa's child and the brother of the winged horse Pegasus from the west pediment of the Temple of Artemis on Corcyra (Corfu)


One of the two “lion-like panthers” and a closer look of the panther head


Zeus with a thunderbolt against a giant

Medusa and Perseus, Trauma and Felt Sense in Mythology by John Chitty

Medusa = Traumatic events
The snakes= Reptilian response = core registration of event
Turning people into stone = Immobilization/freezing
Perseus= Heroic warrior = Noble self seeking harmony & order
Shield= the physical body = divine gift for defeating trauma
Looking at Medusa through the reflection of the shield= Developing the “felt sense”
Reflecting Medusa into itself = Slaying the trauma demon with its own process
Pegasus= Flight to freedom = Successful resolution, Resources
Chrysaor= Warrior with the Golden Sword= Clarity & Copability= “Resources”
John Chitty,
New Insights into Trauma Therapy

The Artemis Temple Information (German) about the history and its discovery

The Medusa Rondanini

Clash of the Titans a Film with Medusa

British Horrorfilms. The Gorgon

A Medusa Poem

Greek Sculpture: The Archaic Period (World of Art) John Boardman ( June 1985)

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