Perseus was the son of Jupiter and Danăe, daughter of Acrisius king of Argos. When Perseus was grown up, Polydectes, who was enamored of his mother, finding him an obstacle to their union, contrived to send him on an exploit, which he hoped would be fatal to him. This was to bring him the head of Medūsa, one of the Gorgons. In his expedition Perseus was favored by the gods; Mercury equipped him with a scymetar, and the wings from his heels; Pallas lent him a shield which reflected objects like a mirror; and Pluto granted him his helmet, which rendered him invisible. In this manner he flew to Tartessus in Spain, where, directed by the reflection of Medūsa in his mirror, he cut off her head, and brought it to Pallas. From the blood arose the winged horse Pegăsus.
After this the hero passed into Mauritania, where repairing to the court of Atlas, that monarch ordered him to retire, with menaces, in case of disobedience; but Perseus, presenting his shield, with the dreadful head of Medūsa, changed him into the mountain which still bears his name. In his return to Greece he visited Ethiopia, mounted on Pegăsus, and delivered Andromĕda, daughter of Cepheus, (who was exposed on a rock of that coast to be devoured by a monster of the deep) on condition he might make her his wife: but Phineas, her uncle, sought to prevent him, by attempting, with a party, to carry off the bride. The attempt, notwithstanding, was rendered abortive; for the hero, by showing them the head of the Gorgon, at once turned them to stone.
Perseus having completed these exploits, was desirous of revisiting home, and accordingly set off for that purpose with his wife and his mother. Arriving on the coast of Peloponnesus, and learning that Teutamias, king of Larissa, was then celebrating games in honor of his father, Perseus, wishing to exhibit his skill at the quoit, of which he has been deemed the inventor, resolved to go thither. In this contest, however, he was so unfortunate as to kill Acrisius, the father of his mother, who, on the report that Perseus was returning to the place of his nativity, had fled to the court of Teutamias his friend, to avoid the denunciation of the oracle, which had induced him to exercise such cruelty on his offspring. At what time Perseus died is unknown; but all agree that divine honors were paid him. He had statues at Mycēnæ and in Seriphos. A temple was erected to him in Athens, and an altar in it consecrated to Dictys.