In Greek mythology, the Gorgon was a terrifying female creature. The name derives from the Greek word gorgs, which means 'dreadful.' While descriptions of Gorgons vary across Greek literature and occurs in the earliest examples of Greek literature, the term commonly refers to any of three sisters who had hair of living, venomous snakes, and a horrifying visage that turned those who beheld her to stone. Traditionally, while two of the Gorgons were immortal, Stheno and Euryale, their sister Medusa was not, and she was slain by the mythical demigod and hero Perseus. Gorgons were a popular image in Greek mythology, appearing in the earliest of written records of Ancient Greek religious beliefs such as those of Homer, which may date to as early as 1194_1184 BC. Because of their legendary and powerful gaze that could turn one to stone, images of the Gorgons were put upon objects and buildings for protection.
Contributions by TAnthony, Dr.K., and Wetman.