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Mythical gorgons

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)


According to Ulpian, the great Roman jurist, the mythical gorgons – dangerous sisters with a terrifying appearance, who were depicted as winged figures with claws, sharp fangs and hair in the form of poisonous snakes – inhabited Africa.

They killed every person they met with the force of a blast from their mouth or a glance. According to Ulpian, the Romans had contact with these mysterious creatures during the war with Jugurtha, king of Numidia in the years 107-106 BCE.

Some soldiers, trying to kill one of them by charging with a sword in hand, were killed by the gorgon’s killing gaze. This situation repeated itself until one of the Numidian riders killed the creature with a javelin. Then the victorious horseman brought the body of the gorgon to his general Marius.

  • McKeown J. C., A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities: Strange Tales and Surprising Facts from the World’s Greatest Empire, 2010

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