Site hosted by Angelfire.com: Build your free website today!

PERSEUS

Real Name: Perseus

Occupation: King of Mycenae and Tiryns (c. 1290 – 1275 BC), Adventurer, former Heir to Argos

Legal Status: Citizen of Argolis

Identity: The general populace of Earth is unaware of Perseus’s existence except as a legendary figure of mythological origin.

Other Aliases: Eurymedon, Slayer of the Gorgon

Place of Birth: Argos (now part of modern Greece)

Place of Death: Mycenae (now part of modern Greece)

Marital Status: Married

Known Relatives: Zeus (father), Danae (mother), Rutulus (half-brother), Enarete (aunt), Oenomaus (uncle), Hippodameia, Megapenthes, (cousins) Acrisius (grandfather, deceased), Proetus (grand-uncle), Polydectes (foster-father), Apollo, Ares, Hephaestus, Hermes, Dionysus (half-brothers), Artemis, Athena, Aphrodite, Eileithyia, Hebe, Discord (half-sisters), Andromeda (wife), Cepheus (father-in-law), Cassiopeia (mother-in-law), Electryon, Sthenelus, Alcaeus, Mestor, Perses (sons), Gorgophone (daughter), Hercules, Helen of Troy, Castor, Pollux (descendants), Inachos (ancestor), Danaus, Lynceus (ancestors, deceased)

Group Affiliations: None

Base of Operations: Mycenae, formerly Mobile (13th Century BC)

First Appearance:  Supergirl II #8

Origin: Clash of the Titans (1981)

History: Perseus is the son of Zeus, Ruler of the Olympian Gods, and Danae, an Argive princess. Danae was the youngest daughter of Acrisius, King of Argos, who had heard from an oracle that any son born to Danae would live to overthrow him. Acrisius had Danae sealed up in a tower to assure she would never marry or be courted by suitors, by Zeus fell in love with her after realizing her plight. He visited her by assuming the form of a shower of gold to invade her tower and romanced her. She gave birth to Perseus shortly thereafter, and after servants delivering her meals discovered her with a child, Acrisius had Danae and Perseus sealed in a great chest resembling a coffin and cast her out to sea.

Zeus instructed Poseidon to protect the chest, and he allowed it to drift all the way to the island of Seriphos with birds and creatures of the sea tending to Danae and her son’s needs. Dictys, a fisherman and former heir to the throne of Seriphos discovered them and raised them in his home. Danae re-named Perseus with the name Eurymedon to protect his identity as heir to Argos, but Dictys’s brother, Polydectes, the king of Seriphos, instead became enamored of Danae and saw her as his way of becoming heir to Argos. Danae was an unwilling participant to this marriage, and Perseus was eager to side with his mother to prevent this marriage. Comparing himself to Danae’s brother-in-law, King Oenomaus of Pisa who owned a collection of prize horses, Polydectes instead claimed he would sue for the hand of Oenomaus’a daughter, Hippodameia, and called upon his subjects to contribute horses toward the bride gift. This plan, however, was actually a ruse to place Perseus in a place where Oenomaus wanted him. Not owning any horses to contribute, Perseus promised Polydectes to name something he could contribute to the bride gift. Polydectes then called on him to bring him the head of Medusa the Gorgon knowing full well that anyone who saw Medusa was transformed to stone. In fact, no one had ever returned alive from an encounter with the Gorgons.   

Faced with the undaunted task, Perseus faced Athena in her temple for guidance since it was she who had levied the curse on the Gorgons. She told him to seek out the Hesperides for weapons powerful enough to face Medusa although she herself was not allowed to reveal the location of the Hesperides, the goddesses who protected Hera’s sacred garden, to even him. Perseus then traveled to Libya to confront the Graiae, the sisters of the Gorgons, on where to locate the Hesperides without telling them his intentions to use their weapons against their sisters. The Graiae, themselves exiled citizens from Olympus for covering for their sister’s covert activities, had no reason to honor any reason to conceal the location of the garden, but Perseus still held captive their crystal ball, a mystic eye used in their abilities to make premonitions, to force them to reveal the location. After being told where to locate the garden, Perseus returned their mystic eye and continued on his way. 

The Hesperides welcomed Perseus readily and gave him several gifts such as a wallet protected from Medusa’s power and a sword of enchanted adamantine that could slice through any substance. The god Hermes loaned Perseus his talaria, winged sandals that allowed him to fly through the air and a cap of darkness that rendered him invisible because he wanted to protect him. He then informed Perseus where to locate Medusa and the Gorgons.

Perseus located the Gorgons on the Libyan coast surrounded by the statues of their victims and crept among them invisibly while they were asleep. Using the interior of his sword as a mirror to avoid looking at them directly, he successfully slew Medusa and claimed her head; in the fracas, her offspring by the god Poseidon tore from her body in the form of the winged horse Pegasus. Stheno and Euryale, Medusa’s sisters, rose up into the air to confront their sister’s attacker, but being unable to follow Perseus in his invisible state, they returned to mourn their sister.

Before returning home, Perseus stayed the night with the Hesperides as part of a promise to return to them. His revelry grew so loud that he attracted the attention of their father, the Titan known as Atlas. When Atlas learned that Perseus was the son of Zeus, Atlas recalled upon a prophecy that he would be slain by a son of Zeus and reacted to forcibly eject Perseus from the garden. The prophecy actually referred to another son of Zeus, and Perseus used the head of Medusa to protect him. Temporarily transforming Atlas to stone, Perseus then made his escape, but Atlas revived believing he had survived his fate; thus, leaving him unprepared to confront Hercules, Perseus’s great grandson, the true son of Zeus connected to his prophecy.

Briefly staying in Chemmis, the home of his ancestors Danaus and Lynceus, Perseus learned of the serpent named Delphyne, the sister of Typhon, who terrorized the region. King Cepheus of Ethiopia had been commanded to serve his daughter, Andromeda, to the serpent as punishment from Poseidon for his wife, Cassiopeia, claiming to be more beautiful that any of the sea-goddesses known as the Nereids. Using Medusa’s head, Perseus turned Delphyne to stone, but he also claimed his right to claim Andromeda as his wife as a reward. In his eagerness to save his daughter, Cepheus forgot that he had promised the hand of Andromeda to his brother, Phineus. During a great banquet in Perseus’s honor, Perseus and Phineus clashed against one another and Perseus again used the head to turn his enemies to stone.

Perseus stayed in Ethiopia only until the birth of his son Perses by Andromeda; the youth became Cepheus’s heir and later conquered the tribes East, calling them Persians after himself. Rushing back to Seriphos, Perseus discovered his mother had been delaying the marital advances of Polydectes until his return. Using Medusa’s head one last time, he transformed the dishonorable ruler and his allies to stone and placed Dictys to the throne. He later returned the sandals and cap to Hermes and turned the head of Medusa over to Athena. Andromeda came to join him and they had several sons and heirs.

While attending the funeral games held in honor of King Teutamides of Larissa, Perseus was reunited with his grandfather, Acrisius. Bearing the old man no ill will, his reconciliation with him was masterminded by King Teutamides. While Perseus was showing off his skill with a discus, however, a breeze turned the discus off course and its blow killed Acrisius, forcing the oracle to come true. Refusing to accept Argos under such conditions, Perseus gave the throne to his cousin, Megepenthes of Tiryns, whose father, Proetus, had convinced Acrisius to attend the games hoping for his death. Perseus instead located and fortified the ruins of Mycenae, named for Mycene, the daughter of his ancestor, the river-god, Inachos.  Several of his sons married daughters of Pelops, who had usurped rule of Pisa from Perseus’s uncle, King Oenomaus. His daughter, Gorgophone, became the mother of the Spartan King, Tyndareus, grandfather of Helen of Troy. His mother had another son by Dictys named Rutulus, eponym of the Rutulian tribes near Latium, an ancestor of Turnus, an antagonist of the hero Aeneas.

As King of Mycenae, Perseus entered into conflict with supporters of the god, Dionysus, but eventually came to a truce and honored sanctuary to him. Four of Perseus’s sons, Electryon, Alcaeus, Sthenelus and Mestor, shared rule of Argos after his death. Electryon’s daughter, Alcmene, was married to Alcaeus’s son, Amphitryon, and hence, any son between them would be the true heir to Argos. Alcmene, however, was seduced by Zeus, and the birth of their son, Hercules, was delayed by Hera, Queen of The Olympian Gods, so that his cousin, Eurystheus, son of Sthenelus, would instead inherit the throne. After Eurystheus’s death, the throne of Mycenae was taken by Atreus, son of Pelops, and brother-in-law to Sthenelus, thus ending the Dynasty of Perseus in Argos. Athena commemorated images she saw in the heavens in their names that the adventures and characters in Perseus would never be forgotten. (Some accounts claim that she actually placed their likenesses in the heavens or that she created their likenesses out of the stars, but modern knowledge of astronomy and meteorology would make these claims unlikely.)

Generations afterward, Medusa’s spirit continued to exist taking on mortal bodies and transforming into duplicates of her own, but Athena’s curse on her continued to make these bodies duplicates of Medusa’s later hideous form rather than her original likeness as a goddess. In one form, she encountered Hercules and the Argonauts the Isle of Fear, on the Black Sea. Offered to be an immortal on Olympus by the side of Zeus, Perseus instead traveled the earth in spirit form seeking and slaying Medusa in every form she took. At one point, he turned her gaze on herself and turned her into stone. A chard of this statue later turned up in the possession of Twentieth Century warlock Lewis Vendredi. Medusa eventually tried taking possession of the original Supergirl hoping to add her own Kryptonian power to her own as protection against Perseus. Clashing with the Justice League as a result and transforming them to stone, Supergirl retained her mind and body through force of will long enough to get Perseus’s help in defeating Medusa and restoring her victims to normal.  

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 210 lbs.

Eyes:  Brown

Hair: Brown

Strength Level: Perseus possessed the normal human strength level of a man of his size, height and build who engaged in extensive physical activities.

Known Superhuman Powers: None

Abilities: Perseus is an accomplished combatant in both armed and unarmed combat. He is quite adept with a sword. An Olympic-class athlete, he is quite proficient with a discus.

Weapons: Perseus usually carries a sword, but for a brief time, he employed a number of objects with mystical powers. A sword given him from the Hesperides was enchanted to cut through any substance and the wallet he received with it was enchanted to protect him from the head of Medusa, the use of the head even after Medusa’s death could turn anything caught in its glare to stone. Perseus also used a cap and sandals belonging to Hermes. Wearing the cap rendered him invisible to human senses, and the winged sandals, called talaria, enabled him to levitate into the air and fly great distances. The height and distance capable by the sandals is unrevealed. 

Pets: Some accounts erroneously depict Perseus as having tamed the Pegasus, but with his having mastered use of Hermes’ winged sandals, these accounts are debatable.