Basilica Cistern, Constantinople

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Illustration

by Rob Hutton
published on 09 April 2013

One of two monumental Medusa carvings which hold up columns in the Basilica Cistern of Istanbul (formerly Constantinople). The cistern was constructed in the 6th century BCE reusing the Medusa blocks from an earlier Roman building. One Medusa head is placed on its side whilst the other is upside down, perhaps in an attempt to negate the power of the Gorgon's gaze which could turn men to stone in Greek mythology.

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