Of the many derivations proposed for the name of Athena (or Athene) none is really satisfactory.
The Sanskrit vadh (to strike) and adh (hill) have been suggested, as well as the Greek for 'flower' and 'nurse'!
The catastrophic fire which destroyed definitively the palace of Cnossus arround 1375 BCE has burned also seriously the tables of clay from the archives, in such a way that now, after being deciphered, speak to us in the quality of documents of that last period. They are only lists which hold, essentially, names and numbers. Between the names, immediately calls our attention a series of Greek Gods who became later current. One of those tables (KN V52=Doc. nº 208) has a simple enumeration:
All in the dative form, which may be translated as: To the lady of Athena (Atana), to Enyalios, to Paeaon, to Poseidon. This way the Minoan-Mycenean name of the Goddess Athena as been preserved for us.
The name of the Goddess may be understood directly from the Greek as the one "who comes".
The poetic epithet Pallas frequently joined to the name Athena comes either from the Greek 'to strike' or more probably from the Greek 'girl'.
Copyright ©1998-1999 Roy George