Serifos is an integral part of Greek mythology, since its name is associated with two of the most famous mythical heroes; Ulysses and Perseas. It was also thought that Cyclopes were living in the island’s numerous caves, while there are still remnants of the cyclopean walls. According to the legends, Serifos has mazy, interconnected mines underneath its wild, barren topsoil.
The most important myth is related to Perseas. Perseas was the son of Zeus and Danae’s, daughter of Akrissios, the king of Argos. After an unfavorable oracle, Akrissios put his daughter and her son in a wooden boat and left them drifting in the Aegean Sea. The boat reached Serifos and fishermen took Danae and Perseas to one of the island’s kings, Dyktis. The second king of Serifos, vicious Polydektis, fell in love with Danae. Aiming to get rid of Perseas, he send him to bring the head of mermaid Medusa, as a wedding gift (he was supposedly marrying Ippodameia, daughter of Inomaos). The horrible Medusa was notorious for one thing: whoever was staring at her would be petrified.
This is how Perseas’ long journey started. Initially, he was accompanied by Athena and Ermis, who gave him two important weapons: a copper shield and a sword. Perseas reached his first destination; the house of Enyo, Pefrido and Deino. The three sisters, who looked like old women, were sharing one tooth and one eye and were the only ones who knew where the Mermaids –their sisters- were living. Perseas had to find a way to make them share this information with him and this is why he stole their eye and tooth and basically blackmailed them. The three old women agreed to take Perseas to the island Gorgoni, where the three Mermaids were living: Medusa, Stheno and Evriali.
According to the myth, Perseas – before his visit to the island of Gorgoni- went through the forest where the Nymphs were living. They gave him three valuable tools: Pluto’s helmet, which made him invisible, winged sandals, which would allow him to fly, and a back pack, which changed sizes according to its content. So, Perseas flew above the ocean, reached Gorgoni, where he used the shield to get a reflection of Medusa’s image so he can behead her without actually looking at her and put her head in his backpack. It’s said that from the blood drops that fell on the ground, Pegasus – Greek Mythology’s winged horse was born.
Perseas then came back to Serifos and showed Polydektis Medusa’s head. Polydektis got petrified and this is how Diktys became the island’s king. Then he took his wife, Andromeda and his mother Danae and returned to Argos, where he became the king. However, according to ancient testimonies, the Serifians were worshiping Perseas. Also, as it is commonly said, Hora resembles Medusa’s head.
According to the myth, Ulysses on his way back to Ithaca stopped in Serifos, where he faced Cyclop Polyfemos. Ulysses had to blind him with his spear, so that he and his companion would get away from his frenzy.
Finally, it was believed that there was a particular species of frogs in Serifos that made absolutely no sound at all. This species is mentioned in the documents of many ancient writers. Ancient coins found in Serifos, dated back in the 6th century BC, show Perseas, Medusa’s head and the Serifian frog Bufo.