When heroes went on great quests or adventures they would pray to the Greek Goddess Athena for guidance and protection. Athena is the Goddess of Wisdom, Goddess of Victory, and Goddess of War. She is often drawn with an owl on her shoulder dressed in full battle armor. The Goddess has been mentioned in numerous mythology legends detailing of her helping heroes and getting revenge on the misguided.
A Goddess Created
Athena ‘s birth is unique in Greek lore. Zeus was complaining about a headache allowing Hephaestus the God of the Forge, to split his head open with an axe. Allowing Athena to leap free fully grown and covered in male warrior armor. She created the first olive tree during a contest against Poseidon the God of the Sea, earning a city to be named after her.
Leading to the city of Athena being created. The symbol associated with Athena is a white owl representing wisdom showing her intelligence. Both mortal and Gods seeks her council in times of war, knowing that her strategies will led them to victory.
A Woman’s Scorn
The Gods were known for their wraith against mortals that defied them, and Athena was no exception. In Greek lore, Athena is the creator of the spider and the gorgons. Arachne was a weaver under the tutelage of Athena. She boasted that her skills were unmatched and greater than the Goddess. Athena took the form of an old woman and challenged the girl to a weaving contest. Athena won the contest turning Arachne into a spider allowing her to weave webs for all eternity.
\Medusa was the priestess of the temple of Athena. There are two versions of this myth one is that Medusa was trapped by Poseidon who fancied the human and the other that Medusa took a lover to the temple asking her sister to be lookouts during the act. Athena was enraged by her temple being defiled and turned Medusa into a gorgon. A gorgon is a woman who has snakes for hair and turns those who see her to stone. This punishment was cast upon Medusa and her sisters as their punishment for helping her.
Heroes ventured on quests to make a name for themselves and to prove their worth to the Gods. Many heroes prayed to the Goddess and were assisted by her. Perseus was gifted a bronze shield by the Goddess to see Medusa’s reflection to avoid looking at her completely. This along with a scythe gifted to him by Hermes the God of Travelers, he beheaded the gorgon. The furies were fire bird like women who would murder those who killed a member of their own family.
Athena saves Orestes who was on trial for killing his mother. He was put on trial by the Gods who came to a split vote making Athena the tie breaker. Athena acquitted Orestes leading to this being the case for any future trials that ended in a tie decision. Athena is mentioned in the Odyssey by Homer. Athena appears to Odysseus in the form of a huntsmen. Shares a battle of wits with the mortal who wins. Impressed, the Goddess tells the King how to win back his kingdom.
Athena intrigues me because she is mentioned in numerous myths and legends. Many people show her as part of the council for Zeus during times of war and hard decisions that must be made. She is a born warrior, yet she was known for finding peaceful solutions instead of those that would lead to bloodshed. Athena represented those that were wise and seek wisdom regardless of gender a fact I can appreciate.
Furthermore, it’s clear that the Goddess was beloved by her people and respected by her fellow Gods. Athena earned their respect with her victories in war and the intellectual fields but also by her punishments on those who went against her. Athena is a Goddess you want on your side during a great journey but also one you must be careful around. For an immortal their gifts and curses can last for all eternity.
Now, shush, I’m trying to read,