Sonia Halliday

Her soulful eyes and snake-like tresses still arresting after 1,800 years, this Medusa from Leptis Magna’s Severan forum wasn’t meant to turn beholders to stone. Unlike earlier, demon-like portrayals of the mythical monster decapitated by Perseus, Hellenistic and Roman artists often represented the Medusa as a beautiful, dying maiden. A number of similar Medusa carvings were installed on the green marble portico that enclosed much of the city’s new 330- by 200-foot forum.