Before she was vilified as the snake-haired nemesis of the Greek hero Perseus, Medusa was a solar divinity, from Libya or Anatolia, where her priestesses personified her by wearing masks in her image.
The name Medusa is variously translated as "guardian, protector," "female wisdom" or "ruler of humanity." Her sisters were "Forceful" and "Far-roaming."
Taken together, the three sisters may have been a triple goddess. In her death aspect, Medusa would have turned people "to stone" or into funerary statues.
In later myth, Medusa's severed head was displayed on Athena's shield. Athena herself likely originated in Libya as Anath or Ath-enna, another aspect of the Medusa sun-goddess trinity.
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