Chief of the Gorgons, Medusa was the serpent-headed monster of Greek mythology whose hideous appearance turned men into stone. Originally a fair maiden, she was violated by Poseidon in a temple of the goddess Athena, who then punished her by transforming her into an ugly monster with snakes for hair. Perseus, with the help of the Hermes and Athena, was able to lop off Medusa's head by looking only at her reflection during his attack. Perseus then toted Medusa's still-lethal head along on his other heroic adventures, brandishing it against foes until finally returning the prize to Athena, who affixed it to her shield. The blood from her head also had magical powers, and was said to be the seed from which Pegasus sprang, as well as the origin of poisonous snakes in Africa.