Whether the feminine name "Pallas" especially accents the virginity of the divine Maiden cannot be stated with certainty. "Parthenos" and "Kore" also do not particularly stress this, but they certainly do refer to the girlishness of the Goddess concerned, whose characters are in turn indicated by particular mythologems, such as those of Hera Pais and Parthenos. In the case of the name Pallas, one has to associate with a masculine Pallas, with an extraction from androgynous unity; this would explain the androgyny of the Goddess. In fact, there are traces of an older mythologem, not contained in the classical mythology of the Greeks, which confirms the relationship of Pallas Athena to a masculine Pallas. The masculine partner of the Goddess usually bears this name and plays the role of father or teacher. Classical mythology knows of several Pallantes, undisguised Giants, all of whom can probably be traced back to a single paternal image such as Atlas or the Sumerian Enlil, a gigantically powerful God who holds heaven and earth apart.
According to the Homeric Hymn to Hermes,
Pallas, provided there with a father who is otherwise unknown, was the
father of the moon Goddess, Selene. Hesiod's Pallas is a son of the Titan
Crius, a brother of Astraius ("God of the stars"), and of the father of
the moon Goddess, Hecate, and himself the father of Zelos, Cratus, Bia,
and Nike. This last Goddess is also known as Athena Nike, but the remaining
siblings -- "Zeal," "Strength," and "Might" -- are also worthy of
relationship to the indefatigable battle Goddess. An archaic winged God
named Pallas -- with wings attached to the ankles, or winged like the archaic
winged Goddesses, among whom Athena herself may be numbered [Image: Winged
Athena] -- was according to one tradition the father of Pallas Athena.
In the war against the Giants [Image: Athena
overpowering the giant Enceladus] a certain Pallas confronted Athena
and was killed by her; she even tore off his skin. She did the same thing,
however, to her father Pallas, who bad lustfully seduced his own daughter.
The father-daughter mythologem is thus transmitted both through the masculine
and feminine Pallas, not in the form of a serpent wedding but in that of
a seduction scene between archaic Deities, probably two winged beings.
The setting in the form of a war against the Giants [Image: Athena
in Gigantomachy] is a dilution of this, suited to classical mythology.
The saga of Pallas, son of Lycaon and founder of the Arcadian town Pallantion,
represents a further dilution. At this level Pallas is seen only as the
teacher of Athena, yet also as father of Nike and Chryse, two manifestations
of the Goddess herself. At the same level of dilution the incest motif
appears again, behind the lightly disguised name of the Goddess, but in
the form of a consummated marriage between her and the "teacher." According
to the Boeotian saga, from the realm of Athena Alalcomene or Alalcomeneis,
the primal man Alalcomeneus reared Pallas Athena. His wife is also mentioned:
she was named Athenais.
Athena, Virgin and Mother in Greek Religion (1952)
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Copyright ©1999 Roy George