Perseus and Andromeda

Part 3/3

So here comes the love story part: Perseus and Andromeda!

We have left our hero while he was crossing Africa (which the ancient Greeks called Libya) with his winged sandals.

When he arrived in Aethiopia, he saw a beautiful girl tied with chains to a rock. He found out that she was the daughter of Cepheus, king of Aethiopia, and of his wife, Cassiopeia. Her parents and their servants were standing nearby and crying.

All this had happened because Cassiopeia had boasted that both her and her daughter were more beautiful than the Nereids. The sea nymphs complained to Poseidon, who sent a sea monster, Cetus (which some say was a whale), to plague the country. The king and queen consulted an oracle, who told them to sacrifice their daughter to the monster, in order to save the kingdom.

That's when Perseus appeared. He instantly fell in love with Andromeda and told her parents that he wanted to save her and make her his wife. Cepheus and Cassiopeia quickly agreed, because they saw the monster approaching.

Some say that Perseus used Medusa's head to turn the monster into stone, and that was the end of it. Others, though, narrate the whole fight between Perseus and the monster. He managed to hurt Cetus with his crooked sword, but the wings on the sandals were wet because the monster was spouting water. Pereus managed to land on a rock and with his last forces he killed the monster. The water was so red because of all that blood and it remained

After that, he went to the shore. He made a bed of algae, put Medusa's head on them and covered it, so as to prevent the others from seeing it and being turned into stone. He noticed that the algae absorbed the poison from the snakes on the head and turned into stone. The sea nymphs saw this and they tried to do it, too, succesfully. That's why when plants from the see come into contact with the air, they transform into coral. (At least that was Ovid's scientific explanation for coral, in his Metamorphoses).

The hero made three altars, dedicated to the gods who had helped him: Athena, Hermes and Zeus. Everybody was happy, so Perseus and Andromeda wed immediately after that. During the banquet, the guests asked him to tell them about his adventures.

All of a sudden, a big noise is heard from the entrance. It was Phineus, Cepheus' brother and Andromeda's first fiance. He protested that it was not fair for Perseus to marry her. Cepheus said that Phineus should have done something when Andromeda was tied to the rock, instead of just disappearing and coming back when everything was solved.

Perseus tried to avoid the fight, but Phineus and his men started to throw javelins at Perseus and the other guests. The hero had no choice but to react. Many of his friends were wounded and killed, and when he saw more of Phineus' men coming, he took Medusa's head and warned his friends to cover their eyes. All his enemies were turned into marble statues - and one of his men, too, because he didn't look away in time.

Phineus was looking at his men and he was trying to encourage them to continue their fight. When he saw that they had all become statues, in strange positions, he was afraid to look at Perseus. He begged the hero to spare his life and leave all this behind them, as they didn't fight because of hatred, but because of a woman (sure, always blame the woman!) Perseus promised that his sword would not touch Phineus, on the contrary, Phineus would remain as monument so that Andromeda could also see her first betrothed. When Phineus turned his teary eyes towards Perseus, the hero showed him Medusa's head and turned him into a statue.

Perseus and Andromeda returned to Seriphos. In the end they had many children together, the Perseides: sons Perses, Alcaeus, Sthenelus, Heleus, Mestor, Electryon, and one daughter, Gorgophone. But the story is not finished yet!

Click here for the first part of the story of Perseus.

Click here for story of Perseus and Medusa.

Here you can see pictures of Perseus slaying Medusa.