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Danaë

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Danae gold shower Louvre CA925

Danaë reclining with Zeus as the shower of gold depicted on a vase 450-425 BCE.

In Greek mythology, Danaë (Ancient Greek: Δανάη) was a daughter of King Acrisius of Argos and his wife Queen Eurydice. She was the mother of Perseus by Zeus. She was sometimes credited with founding the city of Ardea in Latium.

Disappointed by his lack of male heirs, Acrisius asked an oracle if this would change. The oracle told him that he would be killed by his daughter's son. She was childless and, meaning to keep her so, he shut her up in a bronze tower or cave. But Zeus came to her in the form of golden rain, and impregnated her. Soon after, their child Perseus was born.

Unwilling to provoke the wrath of the gods by killing his offspring, Acrisius cast Danaë and Perseus into the sea in a wooden chest. The sea was calmed by Poseidon and at the request of Zeus the pair survived. They washed ashore on the island of Seriphos, where they were taken in by Dictys - the brother of King Polydectes - who raised Perseus to manhood. The King, charmed by the disinterested Danaë, agreed not to marry her only if her son could travel to the foreign land of the Grey Ladies and slay the hideous Gorgon Medusa. With the use of Athena's shield, he was able to evade her gaze and eventually kill her.

Later, after Perseus killed Medusa and rescued Andromeda, the oracle's prophecy came true. He started for Argos, but learning of the prophecy instead went to Larissa, where athletic games were being held. By chance, an aging Acrisius was there and Perseus accidentally struck him on the head with his javelin (or discus), fulfilling the prophecy. Too shamed to return to Argos he then gave the kingdom to Megapenthes, son of Proetus (Acrisius's brother) and took over his kingdom of Tiryns, also founding Mycenae and Midea there.

Another version states that, angry that his grandfather tried to kill him and his mother, Perseus returned home and challenged Acrisius in his court. He took out Medusa's head from a sack and turned Acrisius and his court to stone.

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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Danaë. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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