More Athena and the Aegis

Athena often helped heroes, like Jason and Perseus. She wore an aegis, a goatskin shield which had a fringe of snakes. When Perseus killed the gorgon Medusa, whose face turned men to stone, he gave the gorgon head to Athena, and the goddess placed it on her aegis.

Athena wearing her aegis, with its snake-fringe and gorgon head
Toledo 1963.26, Attic black figure calyx krater, c. 520-515 B.C.

Athena depicted on an Attic red figure amphora from ca. 525 BC. Her aegis is positioned over her right shoulder so that the Gorgon head—the head of serpents—is seen in full frontal-face. The look of the Gorgon Medusa had the power to turn men to stone. The glare of Medusa still mesmerizes those who don’t look away to Genesis to discern Athena’s true identity.