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Medusa began life as a girl so lovely that she made Athena jealous. Such beauty turned Poseidon's head. Unfortunately, he seduced the girl in one of Athena's temples. Such an affront to Athena would not go unpunished particularly by one already in ill favor. So Medusa was turned by Athena into a Gorgon. Since she started as human she remained mortal. As if this were not punishment enough, Athena later helped Perseus' hunt her down and kill her.

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