Italian (Florence, Italy 1555 - 1630 Rome, Italy)
Perseus Killing Medusa, 1606Series: Illustrations to Ovid’s “Metamorphoses”
10.5 x 12 cm (4 1/8 x 4 3/4 in.)
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum
Stheno (Greek: Σθεννώ, English translation: “forceful”), in Greek mythology, was the eldest of the Gorgons, vicious female monsters with brass hands, sharp fangs and “hair” made of living venomous snakes of the python family along with its Euria to him brothers and Medusa, and was characterized by its enormous force. According to the legend, Estheno like their brothers were born from the marine Gods Forcis and Ceto, although other sources says that of Poseidón and Equidna. Like her Euria to him sister is immortal, unlike Medusa, whose neck was cut by Perseo. Estheno was most independent and wild of the Gorgon sisters, being the one that more deaths it caused to the humans. Not even she was surpassed by the feared Medusa, to that was granted him the petrifying glance like protection by not being immortal. Estheno owns a great physical and mental force: it has the ability to concentrate his mental energy in the glance, being done it able to around catch the energies near his hypnotizing to his aggressors and stopping them in the act. Its work was to protect several oracles with pitias, snake charmers, that represented the force and not it divination. In honor to Esteno and Euria to him sacrifices became, that consisted of filling with ritual blood the foundations of corners, pillars and walls of temples to grant stability and force to them. The same blood of Estheno, owns the qualities to give life (if she were obtained of the right flank) or the death (if she were obtained of the left flank). In religious terms Estheno, characterized by the serpentine letter ” S” , it represented the infinite force, the dimensional time (often he was represented with two faces, watching at the past and the future at the same time), and doors to the kingdom of the death.