In Greek mythology, a Gorgon is a mythical creature portrayed in ancient literature. While descriptions of Gorgons vary and occur in the earliest examples of Greek literature, the term refers to any of three sisters who had hair made of living, venomous snakes, as well as a horrifying visage that turned those who beheld her to stone. Traditionally, two of the Gorgons and Euryale, were immortal but their sister Medusa was not and she was slain by the demigod and hero Perseus; the name derives from the ancient Greek word γοργός gorgós, which means "grim, dreadful", appears to come from the same root as the Sanskrit: गर्जन, defined as a guttural sound, similar to the growling of a beast, thus originating as an onomatopoeia. Gorgons were a popular image in Greek mythology, appearing in the earliest of written records of Ancient Greek religious beliefs such as those of Homer, which may date to as early as 1194–1184 BC; because of their legendary and powerful gaze that could turn one to stone, images of the Gorgons were put upon objects and buildings for protection.

An image of a Gorgon holds the primary location at the pediment of the temple at Corfu, the oldest stone pediment in Greece, is dated to c. 600 BC. A marble statue of Gorgon, 1.35 m high intact, belonging to a temple, was found in an ancient public building in Parikia, Paros capital, Greece. The concept of the Gorgon is at least as old in classical Greek mythology as Zeus; the name is being derived from "gorgos" and translating as terrible or dreadful. Gorgoneia first appear in Greek art at the turn of the eighth century BC. One of the earliest representations is on an electrum stater discovered during excavations at Parium. Other early eighth-century examples were found at Tiryns. Going further back into history, there is a similar image from the Knossos palace, datable to the fifteenth century BC. Marija Gimbutas argues that "the Gorgon extends back to at least 6000 BC, as a ceramic mask from the Sesklo culture...". In her book, Language of the Goddess, she identifies the prototype of the Gorgoneion in Neolithic art motifs in anthropomorphic vases and terracotta masks inlaid with gold.

The large Gorgon eyes, as well as Athena's "flashing" eyes, are symbols termed "the divine eyes" by Gimbutas. They may be represented by spirals, concentric circles, swastikas and other images; the awkward stance of the gorgon, with arms and legs at angles is associated with these symbols as well. Some Gorgons are shown with broad, round heads, serpentine locks of hair, large staring eyes, wide mouths, tongues lolling, the tusks of swine, large projecting teeth, flared nostrils, sometimes short, coarse beards. In some cruder representations, stylized hair or blood flowing under the severed head of the Gorgon has been mistaken for a beard or wings; some reptilian attributes such as a belt made of snakes and snakes emanating from the head or entwined in the hair, as in the temple of Artemis in Corfu, are symbols derived from the guardians associated with early Greek religious concepts at the centers such as Delphi where the dragon Delphyne lived and the priestess Pythia delivered oracles. The skin of the dragon was said to be made of impenetrable scales.

While seeking origins others have suggested examination of some similarities to the Babylonian creature, Humbaba, in the Gilgamesh epic. A number of early classics scholars interpreted the myth of the Medusa as a quasi-historical, or "sublimated", memory of an actual invasion. Transitions in religious traditions over such long periods of time may make some strange turns. Gorgons are depicted as having wings, brazen claws, the tusks of boars, scaly skin; the oldest oracles were said to be protected by serpents and a Gorgon image was associated with those temples. Lionesses or sphinxes are associated with the Gorgon as well; the powerful image of the Gorgon was adopted for the classical images and myths of Athena and Zeus being worn in continuation of a more ancient religious imagery. In late myths, the Gorgons were said to be the daughters of sea deities, Ceto the sea monster and Phorcys. Homer, the author of the oldest known work of European literature, speaks only of one Gorgon, whose head is represented in the Iliad as fixed in the centre of the aegis of Athena: About her shoulders she flung the tasselled aegis, fraught with terror... and therein is the head of the dread monster, the Gorgon and awful...

Its earthly counterpart is a device on the shield of Agamemnon:...and therein was set as a crown the Gorgon, grim of aspect and about her were Terror and Rout. In the Odyssey, the Gorgon is a monster of the underworld into which the earliest Greek deities were cast:...and pale fear seized me, lest august Persephone might send forth upon me from out of the house of Hades the head of the Gorgon, that awful monster... Around 700 BC, Hesiod imagines the Gorgons as sea daemons and increases the number of them to three – Stheno and Medusa, makes them the daughters of the sea deities Keto and Phorcys, their home is on the farthest side of the western ocean. Ancient Libya is identified as a possible source of the deity, a creation deity in Ancient Egypt and, when the Greeks occupied Egypt, they said that Neith was called Athene in Greece; the Attic tradition, re


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Iceworld is a science fiction novel by American writer Hal Clement. It was published in 1953 by Gnome Press in an edition of 4,000 copies; the novel was serialized in the magazine Astounding in 1951. The novel concerns an interplanetary narcotics agent, forced to work on an cold world — so cold that the atmosphere he breathes, sulfur, is a yellow solid; the planet is in fact Earth, he teams up with natives of the alien planet, humans, in his attempt to stop the smuggling of a dangerous drug to Sirius. Although the story involves both aliens and humans, it is told from an alien perspective. Galaxy reviewer Groff Conklin characterized Iceworld as "believable and satisfying." Boucher and McComas gave the novel a mixed review, saying that while it was "thinly plotted and characterized hardly stirs wonder or any other emotion of good fiction," that Clement had "never done a better job of making plausible and scientifically convincing every detail of the physiology and technology of an alien race... so absorbingly created and described that you may well put up with an unfair amount of novelistic tedium."

P. Schuyler Miller reported that "As an intellectual puzzle, it's top-rank stuff," but concluded that the difficulty in identifying with the alien protagonist would limit the novel's appeal." Chalker, Jack L.. The Science-Fantasy Publishers: A Bibliographic History, 1923-1998. Westminster, MD and Baltimore: Mirage Press, Ltd. p. 302. Tuck, Donald H.. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Chicago: Advent. P. 412. ISBN 0-911682-22-8. Iceworld title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database