It is named after a medieval instrument of torture called the breaking wheel, on which St. Catherine was supposed to have been martyred by the Romans in the early 4th century.
In Greek myth, Medusa was one of the three gorgon sisters -- Medusa, Stheno, and Euryale: female monsters that had serpents for hair, and whose direct gaze could turn a man to stone. Eventually, Perseus beheaded Medusa and used her head as a weapon before turning it over to the goddess Athena for use on her shield.
The painting of Medusa's decapitated head on the left is by the Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). The bronze statue of Perseus holding the gorgon's severed head on the right is by Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571) and stands in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy.
The 1964 cult classic film, “7 Faces of Dr. Lao,” in which Tony Randall stars as a mysterious and magical Chinese circus owner, 7,322 years old, includes a fairly convincing Medusa (with Tony Randall's face) as one of the show’s attractions.
Although the picture Mr. Halloway draws on the “bullet” is shortly to be revealed as symbolizing something else, a crescent moon has rich associations.
The word “crescent” comes from the Latin crescere, for “to grow,” so the crescent moon is waxing or increasing -- which is what is happening at this point in the story to Mr. Halloway’s power and stature against the evil circus.
Akkadians, Sumerians, early Turks and Persians used the crescent in their iconography.
The Battle of Jericho was the first battle fought by the Israelites during their conquest of Canaan, which would eventually become the Holy Land. It is described in the Book of Joshua (5:13-6:27). The story goes that the walls of the city collapsed after Joshua’s army marched around it and blew their trumpets. Although hailed in a traditional American spiritual, “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho,” stirringly recorded by Mahalia Jackson among others, historians and archaeologists have questioned the historical accuracy of the biblical account. Many believe that the city had been abandoned by the time of the Israelite conquest.
This image of Jericho's walls falling down as an Israelite priest blows his horn is from the 14th century Icelandic manuscript AM 227 fol. 71v. in the care of the Árni Magnússon Institute in Iceland.