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The History Of Greek Goddess Athena

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1117 words Published: 12th May 2017

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The history of Greece was filled with gods and goddesses. The greatest god was Zeus, and his daughter Athena showed to be nothing less of him. Athena carried with her the traits of a successor of the great Zeus. She was born right out of his head. Zeus at the time was married to Metis, and she was fated to give birth one of two children- a girl or a boy. If a boy, he would one day prove more powerful than Zeus (Gall and Gall 1). Zeus not wanting that threat, swallowed the pregnant Metis before she could give birth (Gall and Gall 2). Soon Zeus began complaining about headaches and ordered Hephaestus to open up his head. By doing this, Athena sprang from his head, fully grown and dressed in full armor (Gall and Gall 2). Her powers and skills gave her the title of being goddess of war, wisdom, and the practical arts.

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Even though Ares was the official god of war, she was considered the goddess of war. Unlike Ares, who was known for his madness and furry of war, Athena showed the people a new way of battle, a way being more strategic and intelligent (Gall and Gall 2). Athena’s known look depicts her wearing a helmet and carrying the aegis, a round shield or breastplate with Medusa’s head in the center (Gall and Gall 1) Besides her tactics, Athena also taught the people of Cyrene the art of taming horses, showed Erichthonius how to harness the first war chariots, and was present while Jason’s companions were building the first ship Argo (Athena, Greek Goddess of […]). Athena uses her abilities of battle to extend her protection not only to individuals but also to entire cities, and those cities in return, symbolize her using the Palladia or statues of herself which had, it was claimed, fallen from heaven (Athena, Greek Goddess of […]). Athena also participated in many of the Greek wars, taking part in the war against the giants, killing Pallas and hurling her chariot against Enceladus whom she crushed under the island of Sicily (Athena, Greek Goddess of […]). In another battle, she overthrows Ares. Also, in a battle against the titans, the titans threw a dragon at her, but with her mighty shield, flung the dragon into the skies, becoming the constellation Draco (Athena, Greek Goddess of […]). After she got armed, “Athena mounted on to the chariot of Diomedes, seized the whip and reins herself, and flung the horses against Ares, whom she stretched on the ground with a blow of her spear” (Athena, Greek Goddess of […]). The aggression of this goddess proved her to be manly. “She was the virgin goddess in a world that knew no original sin, no sinfulness sex, no Vestal Virgins” (Cavendish 165)

Another name Athena possessed was Goddess of Wisdom. In one of her well known stories, Athena’s wisdom outmatches Poseidon’s. Both of them wanted to be honored in the city of Athens, so they decided to compete for the people’s votes on who could give the city the best gift (Moulton 80). Poseidon caused a salt water spring to burst forth, while Athena planted an olive tree (Moulton 80). The people decided that Athena’s olive tree, providing both oil and fruits, was of more use to them than Poseidon’s water fountain (George). Athena is not only honored in one city, but in many others, such as at Elis (Cavendish 166). Even though Athena is honored in more than one city, Athens still remains the one that honors her the most. Inside the temple Parthenon, a 37- foot ivory and gold statue of the goddess Athena was built in her honor (Gall and Gall 5). And Pisistratus, ruler of Athens, put Athena’s head on the city’s coins, built her a new temple, and made the Great Panathenea more splendid (Cavendish 162). Almost every god or mortal respected Athena for her abilities, and wisdom was one of the most respected. A symbol representing her was the owl, and it symbolizes wisdom throughout the land (Gall and Gall 1). Besides the owl, the snake and olive branch were her symbols (George).

The last name Athena went by was the goddess of the practical arts. She was goddess of many of the arts such as agriculture, navigation, and the production of wool. This included spinning weaving, and needle work. Her excellence of arts inspired the construction of the world’s first ship and the Trojan horse. (Gall and Gall 1) Athena was also credited for the creation of the flute, but she denies it, calling the instrument neither powerful nor beautiful enough. (Athena, Greek Goddess […]) Although she was known for many of these arts, the one she excelled in the most was mainly weaving. The most famous story in which Athena shows her weaving and magic skills is Arachnid’s Challenge. A mortal human lady challenged Athena to a weaving contest, saying that her skills were better than Athena’s. At the end, Athena admitted the human lady’s skills equaled her own. After hearing this, the lady was so excited, bragging that she had beaten Athena in a weaving contest. Athena, furious, used her magic and transformed her into Arachnid, cursed to walk the earth weaving her beautiful threads (Athena, Greek Goddess […]).

Athena’s greatness in the Greek stories stood out among the other Gods. She ruled over victory, wisdom, arts, and commonly known as the war goddess. Athens for particular worshipped her. Though being honored in many other cities, Athens was considered her city, no one else’s. The Athenians built a temple, Parthenon, on the Acropolis to honor the goddess, which became one of the greatest shrines in Greek history (Moulton 80). Athena, lives on forever in their hearts, and what she contributed lasts us all an eternity. Modern Greek cities and small towns’ names derived from Athena. One of the biggest modern references is the great city of Athens.

Work Cited

“Athena, Greek Goddess of Wisdom & Craftsmanship.” Goddessgift.com. 07 Dec. 2008 .

Cavendish, Richard., ed. Man, Myth& Magic an illustrated encyclopedia of the supernatural. New York: Marshall Cavendish corporation, 1970.

Gall, Timothy, Susan Gall., ed. Greek& Roman Mythology. Cleveland, Ohio: The Lincoln Library Press, 2006.

George, Roy. “The Goddess Athena.” Goddess-Athena.org. 2001. 03 Dec. 2008 .

Moulton, Carroll., ed. Ancient Greece and Rome. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1998.


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