In Book 2 of his Bibliotheca, a compendium of Greek myths compiled in either the first or second century A.D., the Athenian writer Apollodorus tells the story of the hero Perseus. In this passage, translated by J.G. Frazer (Loeb Classical Library, 1960), Polydectes, the king of the island of Seriphus, orders Perseus to slay the gorgon Medusa and return with her head—a daunting task only a son of Zeus could accomplish. But first, he must contend with the Phorcides, the gorgons’ three sisters:

“So under the guidance of Hermes and Athena [Perseus] made his way to … Enyo, Pephredo, and Dino … sisters of the Gorgons, and old women from their birth. The three had but one eye and one tooth, and these they passed to each other in turn. Perseus got possession of the eye and the tooth, and when they asked them back, he said he would give them up if they would show him the way to the nymphs. Now these nymphs had winged sandals and the kibisis, which they say was a wallet.

The kibisis is so called because dress and food are deposited in it. [The nymphs] had also the cap of Hades. When the Phorcides had shown him the way, he gave them back the tooth and the eye, and coming to the nymphs got what he wanted. So he slung the wallet (kibisis) about him, fitted the sandals to his ankles, and put the cap on his head. Wearing it, he saw whom he pleased, but was not seen by others. And having received also from Hermes an adamantine sickle he flew to the ocean and caught the Gorgons asleep. They were Stheno, Euryale, and Medusa. Now Medusa alone was mortal; for that reason Perseus was sent to fetch her head. But the Gorgons had heads twined about with the scales of dragons, and great tusks like swine’s, and brazen hands, and golden wings, by which they flew; and they turned to stone such as beheld them. So Perseus stood over them as they slept, and while Athena guided his hand and he looked with averted gaze on a brazen shield, in which he beheld the image of the Gorgon, he beheaded her.”