Birth of the Greek Mythological Hero Perseus

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Like many tales of Greek mythology, Perseus’s story contains elements that helped the people of Ancient Greece explain their world. The people loved to celebrate their heroes, and they often made them sound even more grand with each telling. The allure of Perseus has stayed with us through the ages, and the stories that remain about him are truly grand. Here’s a look at who Perseus was and what he was most known for:

Perseus Birth and the Oracle of Delphi

Perseus was the son of the king of the gods, Zeus, as we as Danae, the daughter of Acrisius, who was the King of Argos. The fact that he had semi-divine origins was perhaps designed to explain why his actions as one of the first heroes of Greek mythology. However, Perseus’ story actually begins with Acrisius long before Perseus was born. Acrisius had been trying to have a son and decided to consult the Oracle of Delphi about this. Instead of console him that things would work out, the Oracle explained to him that his grandson would one-day kill him.

Danae is Imprisoned By Her Father

Naturally, Acrisius, Danae’s father, didn’t want to be slain by his daughter’s child.  To prevent this from happening, he imprisoned her in a cage of bronze that had an open top. Zeus came to her in her prison as a shower of gold and impregnated her with the future hero and the king’s future killer. When he learned that Danae was pregnant and had a child, whom she named Perseus, he was struck with a feeling of dread and fear. He didn’t want to anger the gods, but he also didn’t want to keep Danae and her newborn son in close proximity so that the Oracle’s prediction could come true.

Acrisius Throws Perseus and Danae Into the Ocean

His solution was to get rid of Danae and her newborn son by throwing them in a wooden crate and casting them into the ocean. In his mind, this solved his problem. He didn’t need to actually murder them himself – he figured he’d let nature take care of the problem. What he didn’t realize is that it was a combination of this very act and the fact that he had imprisoned Danae in the first place that caused Perseus to eventually loathe him and would later prove to cause Acrisius’s demise.

Danae Prays Out of Fear for Her Life for a Rescue

While locked in the wooden crate that was floating in the ocean, Danae prayed. Simonides of Ceos forever captured her powerful words in one of his poems. He wrote in his work that is called, Danae’s Lament:

“And grant, O father Zeus, some respite come

Out of they mercy. Nay, too bold I know

This boon I as, past justice to bestow:

I pray thee, pardon me, my lips are dumb”

Because Perseus grew up to be a strong, heroic man, we do know that he got rescued. They survived their journey in the wooden chest, where they eventually washed ashore the island of Serifos, where they were rescued by a fisherman.


Wikipedia – Perseus

Wikipedia – Simonides of Ceos

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This post was written by Greek Boston

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