The oldest representations of Athena were the palladia. Originally the palladia were stones which were said to have fallen from the sky and to which protective power was attributed. Later these stones were replaced by statues in wood (xoana) which had the same celestial origin. In them the Goddess was depicted with her body sheathed in tight draperies, and in her hands she held a shield and spear. The most celebrated statue of the warrior Athena was that of the Parthenon, the work of Phidias. The Goddess, standing, wore a long chiton; her head was helmeted, her breast covered with the aegis, her right hand rested against a spear and in her left hand she held a winged victory.
Pausanias reports: On the altar are also Demeter, the Maid, Pluto, next to them Fates and Seasons, and with them Aphrodite, Athena and Artemis. They are carrying to heaven Hyacinthus and Polyboea, the sister, they say, of Hyacinthus, who died a maid. (Paus. 3.19.4)
Wrought on the altar is also Hercules; he too is being led to heaven by Athena and the other gods. (Paus. 3.19.5)
On the road from the city of Amyclae that leads to Therapne was a wooden image of Athena Alea.
Pausanias reports: ...on this road is a wooden image of Athena Alea. (Paus. 3.19.7)
Pausanias reports: They also worship Athena Alea, of whom they have a sanctuary and an image. (Paus. 8.9.6)
They also had a Temple of Hera, near the theater, with a standing image of Athena made by Praxiteles.
Pausanias reports: Near the theater I saw a temple of Hera.(Paus. 8.9.2) Praxiteles made the images Hera is sitting, while Athena and Hera's daughter Hebe are standing by her side. (Paus. 8.9.3)
Pausanias reports: On the top of the citadel is built a temple of Athena, with an image gilt except the hands and feet; these and the face are of ivory. There is another sanctuary built here, of Athena Victory, and yet a third of Athena Aeantis (Ajacian). About the last the Megarian guides have omitted to record anything, but I will write what I take to be the facts. Telamon the son of Aeacus married Periboea the daughter of Alcathous; so my opinion is that Ajax, who succeeded to the throne of Alcathous, made the statue of Athena. (Paus. 1.42.4)
Pausanias reports: The ancient image of Athena Alea, and with it the tusks of the Calydonian boar, were carried away by the Roman emperor Augustus after his defeat of Antonius and his allies, among whom were all the Arcadians except the Mantineans. (Paus. 8.46.1) The image of Athena Alea at Rome is as you enter the Forum made by Augustus. (Paus. 8.46.4)
The new image of Athena was made throughout of ivory.
Pausanias reports: Here then it has been set up, made throughout of ivory, the work of Endoeus. Those in charge of the curiosities say that one of the boar's tusks has broken off; the remaining one is kept in the gardens of the emperor, in a sanctuary of Dionysus, and is about half a fathom long. (Paus. 8.46.5)
The present image at Tegea was brought from the parish of Manthurenses, and among them it had the surname of Hippia (Goddess of Horses). According to their account, when the battle of the Gods and giants took place the Goddess drove the chariot and horses against Enceladus. Yet this Goddess too has come to receive the name of Alea among the Greeks generally and the Peloponnesians themselves. On one side of the image of Athena stands Asclepius, on the other Health, works of Scopas of Paros in Pentelic marble. (Paus. 8.47.1)
Copyright ©1998-1999 Roy George