One of Greek mythology’s most notorious monsters, Medusa, was so horrible that looking at her turned people to stone. But she wasn’t always hideous. Medusa was born the beautiful daughter of two gods. A victim of Poseidon’s whim, she incurred the wrath of the goddess Athena, who punished her by turning her into a monster. Then Athena doomed her to die at the hands of the hero Perseus. Even though Medusa is a minor character in the Greek stories, she has captured people’s imaginations for thousands of years. On the surface her story is a cautionary tale about the dangers of vanity and pride. Looking closer, the story reveals intriguing glimpses into ancient Greek culture and the role women played in society.