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VITAL GORGON

Greave, Greece, ca. 400 BCE, bronze, 15 3/4 × 4 7⁄8".

ONE OF THE OLDEST #MeToo episodes dates back more than two thousand years, and would have entered the canon of great Greek tragedy had the forefathers of Western patriarchy deigned to give it the appropriate status. But they did not—instead, they rewrote the main character’s story. For Medusa, she of the serpent mane and petrifying fame, is an interpretation of the Gorgoneion, or “Gorgon head” (gorgós being Greek for “dreadful”), an archaic protective emblem that was plastered on pottery, architectural and carriage ornaments, coins, and protective armor throughout Asia Minor and the Mediterranean from the seventh century BCE through the sixth century CE. “Dangerous Beauty: Medusa in Classical Art,” an exhibition now on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, offers a fascinating glimpse of the Gorgoneion’s evolution.

Enthralled by this winged creature with exorbitant eyes,

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