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Róheim, G. (1952). The Evil Eye. Am. Imago, 9(3-4):351-363.

(1952). American Imago, 9(3-4):351-363

The Evil Eye

Géza Róheim

Perseus is sent out in true folk-tale style by the king who wants him to to perish, to get the head of the monster with the petrifying glance, the Medusa. Her glance suffices to petrify any mortal. The origin and affiliations of Medusa are given by Hesiod as follows.

“And again Ceto bore to Phorcys the fair-cheeked Graiae, sisters grey from their birth: and both deathless gods and men who walk on earth call them Graiae, Pemphredo, well-clad, and saphron-robed Enyo, and the Gorgons who dwell beyond glorious Ocean in the frontier land towards Night where are the clear-voiced Hesperides, Sthenno and Euryale and Medusa who suffered a woeful fate: she was mortal, but the two were undying and grew not old. With her lay the Dark-haired One () in a soft meadow amid spring flowers. And when Perseus cut off her head there sprang forth great Chrysaor and the horse Pegasus who is so called because he was born near the springs (pegae) of Ocean; and the other because he held a golden blade (aor) in his hands.

Now Pegasus flew away and left the earth, the mother of flocks, and came to the deathless gods; and he dwells in the house of Zeus and brings to wise Zeus thunder and lightning. ()

There are three Gorgons and one of them is Medusa with the glance that kills. Gruppe regards Medusa as an abbrevaited form of Eury medusa, the wife of Poseidon or Eurymedon ‘he who rulse far and wides.” Her other name is Gorgopis, “She whose glance is awful.”

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