Athena is the goddess of war and wisdom, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, mathematics, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill.
Athena weaving a tapestry.
Athena's symbol is the owl. She also carries around Zues's mighty shield to show her power in war. With the owl and shield in hand, she is a strong goddess.
Athena wasn't born, rather than created. Zues was married to Metis at the time of her creation. Metis was known for her unmatched wisdom. It was predicted that Metis would give birth to a son greater than Zues. Trying to solve the problem, Zues swallowed Metis whole, preventing her from having a child. A few years later, Zues had a terrible headache, to cure the headache, he allowed Hephaestus to hit him in the head with an ax. Along with curing the headache, it also delivered his daughter, Athena. She sprang from her father's head fully formed and ready to battle. Athena is said to be tall and slim with blue green eyes and golden hair or black hair. She almost always wore armor and a gold helmet. She became Zues's favorite child, the only one he trusted with his shield and lightning.
Athena has had many victories. She had won the glory of naming an ancient city, by creating the olive tree and beating out Poseidon. The city was later known as Athens, after the goddess herself. She also perfected the arts of weaving, cooking, and pottery. She has never lost a battle before. One of her greatest battles won is the Trojan War. She dreamed up a Trojan Horse, a large constructed wooden horse that hid an army of men inside. They used it to enter the city of Troy, and won the Trojan War in a surprise attack.
She also had many foes. One was the young human, Arachne. Athena saw passion and quality in Arachne's weaving, so Athena decided to mentor her. Soon as Arachne grew better, she sold her tapestries. Customers were amazed by Arachne's skill and admired Athena for choosing Arachne as a student. Arachne didn't like how Athena was getting all the praise. She soon believed she was better than Athena and challenged her to a weaving contest. At the end of the contest, Athena had to admit that Arachne's piece was perfect. Nevertheless, the humiliated Athena tore Arachne's work to shreds, broke her loom. And hit her on the head to teach her a lesson about upstaging a goddess. Overcome with guilt, Arachne tried to hang herself, but Athena showed mercy. She transformed Arachne into a spider.
Another foe of Athena was Medusa. Medusa wasn't always hideous, like in the picture below. It was thanks to the goddess, Athena, who turned her so ugly that no one ever would or could look at her again. Jealous of Poseidon's love for Medusa, Athena made Medusa and her sisters hideous.
One of the best-known images of Medusa was painted by Caravaggio.
Ares, the god of war, was another foe of Athena. With Athena and Ares both being gods of war, there were always conflicts. Ares was savagery of war, while Athena supported the side that was morally right. They found themselves backing opposite sides during the Trojan War. Athena supported the Greeks, while Ares supported the Trojans. Eventually Athena won the war through her strategizing Trojan Horse. This has lead to a crack in their relationship.
- The goddess of victory, Nike, was a great friend of Athena.
- Nike also helped Athena win battles.
- Athena's dad, Zues, has over 140 kids- but she is his favorite.
- Athena was the only child to be trusted with Zues's weapons (shield, lightning bolt, exc.)
- Her nickname was Parthenos. This created the name for her greatest temple, Parthenon.
- There is a temple dedicated to Nike on the Acropolis in Athens, next to the Parthenon.
- Athena's Roman name is Minerva.
- Athena's weavings are the models for modern day tapestries.