The Gorgons Stheno Medusa and Eryale

Before gargoyles protected the buildings of Europe, the fearsome Gorgons served a similar purpose. The Gorgons were monsters, whose faces turned those who saw them to stone. They protected Greek buildings, as carvings or mosaics, and in smaller versions, they served as protective amulets.

The three Gorgons, Stheno, Euryale, and Medusa, were sisters, but only two were immortal. Medusa could be killed, and was, by the hero Perseus, a son of the great god Zeus. 

All three terrible sisters had brass hands, fangs, golden wings, and sometimes serpent skin or even serpent bodies. Their hair was all snakes, or else snakes twined and hissed among their hair. Their glare, of course, was deadly.

They were born in the caverns beneath Mount Olympus (except Medusa perhaps). Their father was Phorcys, a primordial merman-seagod. Their mother was Ceto, a sea monster after whom the Cetaceans, the whales and their kin, are named. Both parents were the children of Gaia, the earth, and Pontus, the encircling sea.

A Gorgon head on the outside of each of the Vix-krater's three handles, from the grave of the Celtic Lady of Vix, 510 BC