PER'SEUS (Lat., from Gk. Ilepackl. In Grecian legend, the son of Zeus and Danae (q.v.l. and grandson of Ac•risiu.s. King of Argos. As his grandfather had been warned that he would per ish by the hand of Danae's son. he inclosed moth er and child in a chest and cast them into the sea. They drifted to the island of Seriphos, where they were cared for by Dictys, brother of the Kim', Polydectes. The latter fell in love with Danae, and as Perseus. now grown to man hood, interfered with his plans. he sent him to bring the head of Medusa, the Gorgon. Guided by Athena, he found the Greece. old women with but one eye and one tooth between them, who directed him to the nymphs, from whom he re ceived winged sandals, a pouch. and the cap of Hades, which, like the Tarnhelm of Teutonic story. made the wearer invisible. Hermes pro vided him with a harpe (iiprn) o• scimitar, and Athena with a bronze shield. in which as a mirror he could see the face of Medusa without encountering her glance, which turned all living things to stone. After a long journey, which the poets gradually tilled with adventures, he reached the distant home of the Gorgons, found them asleep, identified _Medusa, cut off her head, and escaped by the aid of his magic helmet. On his return he rescued Andromeda (q.v.), daughter of King Cepheus of Ethiopia (variously localized in this story), and took her with him to Seri plies, where he found his mother and Dictys suppliants at the altar, for Polydectes had resorted to vio lence. Medusa's head turned Polydectes and his
followers to stone, and Perseus sent his magic weapons to the nymphs by Hermes, and gave the head to Athena, who placed it on her aegis, Perseus with his wife and mother then returned to Argos, and found that Aerisius had fled to Larissa, in Thessaly. Perseus followed, and acci dentally killed his grandfather while throwing the discus during some games. Returning, he ex changed the rule of Argos for that of Tiryns and later founded Midea and Mycelia, Perseus is or iginally the local deity of the spring Perscia, \lycenar, as Danae is the ancestor of the Danaans of Argolis. The slaying of Medusa and the rescue of Andromeda were favorite subjects of ancient art, and are found on early vases and Pompeian wall-paintings, as well as in sculpture. They arc catalogued and discussed by Knatz, Quomodo Persei Tabulam Artifices Graci ct Ro mani Tractarerint (Bonn. 1893). For the study freely told in English, consult Willian Morris. "The Doom of King Acrisius," in The Earthly Paradise (London, 1868).