The manner in which Athena made her first appearance revealed her warlike proclivities. And, indeed, she delights above all in battle.
She took part in the war against the giants, killing Pallas and hurling her chariot against Enceladus whom she finally crushed under the island of Sicily.
We find her again, equally belligerent and ardent, in the battles which raged beneath the ramparts of Troy. Not satisfied with stimulating the ardor of the Greeks - whom she favored - she entered the skirmish herself. She put on her head a helmet of gold with jutting crest vast enough to cover the foot-soldiers of a hundred towns. Over her shoulder she slung the aegis which she had fashioned, according to some, from the skin of the giant Pallas or which - as was more generally held - was made from the hide of the goat Amaltheia. Zeus had used it for the first time during the war with the Titans and afterwards presented it to his daughter. It is a sort of cuirass or breastplate, fringed and bordered with snakes and bearing in the center the horrifying head of the Gorgon. Thus armed, Athena mounted on to the chariot of Diomedes, seized the whip and reins herself, and flung the horses against Ares, whom she stretched on the ground with a blow of her spear.
The memory of Athena's warlike prowess was perpetuated in Libya in annual festivals during which girls, divided into two camps, would stage a furious battle with sticks and stones.
Copyright ©1998-1999 Roy George