|T h e G o d d e s s
A t h e n a
The Statue of the Goddess Athena (c. 340 BCE),
at the Piraeus Museum, Athens, Greece.
Daughter of Zeus, and only by him, the Goddess
Athena was not generated by any woman. She leaped from the head of Zeus,
already adult, dressed with her armor.
But the mother is not completely
missing from the miraculous birth of Pallas Athena. According to Hesiod's
account of the weddings of Zeus, the King of the Gods chose Metis as his
first wife. She was of all beings "the most knowing" (as the word metis
is interpreted), or "of many counsels" as translated in the sense of the
Homeric epithet polymetis.
As she was about to give birth to
the Goddess Athena, Zeus deceived his pregnant wife with cunning words
and assimilated her into his own body. Mother Earth and Father Sky had
advised him to do this so as to prevent any of his descendants from robbing
him of his kingly rank. For it was destined that the most brilliant children
were to be born to the Goddess Metis: first, the daughter Athena, and later
a son, the future King of Gods and men.
In the most ancient account, the
Iliad, Athena is the Goddess of ferocious and implacable fight, but, wherever
she can be found, she only is a warrior to defend the State and the native
land against the enemies coming from outside.
She is, above all, the Goddess of
the City, the protectress of civilized life, of artesian activities, and
of agriculture. She also invented the horse-bit, which, for the first time,
tamed horses, allowing men to use them.
She is the favorite daughter of Zeus;
and that's why he let her use his insignia: the terrible shield, the aegis
and his devastating weapon, the ray.
The most used expression to describe
her is "the bright eyed". She is the first of the three virgin Goddesses,
also known as Maiden, Parthenos, and from this name was taken the name
to the most important Temple dedicated to her, the Parthenon.
In poetry she is the incarnation
of Wisdom, Reason and Purity.
Athens is her city; the olive tree,
created by her, is her tree; the owl, is the birth consecrated to her.
M Y T H O S
Back to the top
©1998-2001 Roy George