Perhaps the most famous classical sculpture remaining in Turkey, this magnificent Gorgon has appeared on countless tourist brochures and souvenirs as the epitome of the country's classical treasures.
Medusa guarding The Temple of Apollo at Didyma. In Greek mythology, Medusa is one of the three gorgons. The gorgons were vicious female monsters with brass hands, sharp fangs and hair of living, venomous snakes. They turned to stone those who beheld them.
Medusa underwent a transformation in her representations throughout the classical period; 6th century BC archaic sculptures represent her as a monstrous figure with terror inducing stare, fangs and protruding tongue, the idea being the onlooker was quite literally petrified! By the 3rd century she was far more commonly portrayed as a beautiful woman, or at least human as she is here. The expression is normally somewhat melancholy, as if she had been transformed from a monster to be feared to a tragic figure to be pitied.
It is certainly the finest surviving example of a series that once decorated the architrave of the Temple of Apollo at Didyma, one of the largest Ionic temples ever built.