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Athena
Athena by myself.
Title Pallas Athene/Athena, Athena Ergane, Athena Areia, Athena Hippeia
Portfolio Wisdom, crafts, civilization, war
Typical Worshipers Paladins, fighters, monks, judges, constables
Typical Worshiper Alignment LG, LN, NG
Domains Artifice, Community, Good, Knowledge, Law, War
Subdomains Toil, Family, Archon, Friendship, Thought, Inevitable, Tactics
Favored Weapon Xiphos (Greek Sword)
Favored Animal(s) Owl, snake, Gorgoneion


In Greek religion and mythology, Athena or Athene (/əˈθiːnə/ or /əˈθiːniː/; Attic: Ἀθηνᾶ, Athēnā or Ἀθηναία, Athēnaia; Epic: Ἀθηναίη, Athēnaiē; Ionic: Ἀθήνη, Athēnē; Doric: Ἀθάνα, Athānā), also referred to as Pallas Athena/Athene (/ˈpæləs/; Παλλὰς Ἀθηνᾶ; Παλλὰς Ἀθήνη), is the goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, just warfare, mathematics, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill. Minerva is the Roman goddess identified with Athena.

Athena is also a shrewd companion of heroes and is the goddess of heroic endeavour. She is the virgin patroness of Athens. The Athenians founded the Parthenon on the Acropolis of her namesake city, Athens (Athena Parthenos), in her honour.

Athena's veneration as the patron of Athens seems to have existed from the earliest times, and was so persistent that archaic myths about her were recast to adapt to cultural changes. In her role as a protector of the city (polis), many people throughout the Greek world worshiped Athena as Athena Polias (Ἀθηνᾶ Πολιάς "Athena of the city"). The city of Athens and the goddess Athena essentially bear the same name (Athena the Goddess, Athenai the city) while it is not known which of the two words is derived from the other.

OriginsEdit

Athena

Athena, Goddess of Wisdom

The Greek philosopher Plato (428–347 BC) identified her with the Egyptian deity Neith, which, they say was worshiped at the city of Sais, located at the Delta of Egypt, as the founder of the city. She was the war goddess and huntress deity of the Egyptians since the ancient Pre-Dynastic period, who was also identified with weaving. The ancient Greeks believed that Athena had visited many mythological places such as Libya's Triton River in North Africa and the Phlegraean plain. Scholar Martin Bernal created the controversial Black Athena Theory to explain this associated origin by claiming that the conception of Neith was brought to Greece from Egypt, along with "an enormous number of features of civilization and culture in the third and second millennia."

PatronessEdit

Athena as the goddess of philosophy became an aspect of the cult in Classical Greece during the late 5th century BC. She is the patroness of various crafts, especially of weaving, as Athena Ergane, and was honored as such at festivals such as Chalceia. The metalwork of weapons also fell under her patronage. She led battles (Athena Promachos or the warrior maiden Athena Parthenos) as the disciplined, strategic side of war, in contrast to her brother Ares, the patron of violence, bloodlust and slaughter—"the raw force of war". Athena's wisdom includes the cunning intelligence (metis) of such figures as Odysseus. Not only was this version of Athena the opposite of Ares in combat, it was also the polar opposite of the serene earth goddess version of the deity, Athena Polias.

Dress yigal azrouel athena the admirer 2477

A modern dress that won't be out of place in Phaeselis (credit: The Admirer Gown by Yigal Azrouël).

Athena appears in Greek mythology as the patron and helper of many heroes, including Odysseus, Jason, and Heracles. In Classical Greek myths, she never consorts with a lover, nor does she ever marry, earning the title Athena Parthenos. A remnant of archaic myth depicts her as the adoptive mother of Erechtheus/Erichthonius through the foiled rape by Hephaestus.[14] Other variants relate that Erichthonius, the serpent that accompanied Athena, was born to Gaia: when the rape failed, the semen landed on Gaia and impregnated her. After Erechthonius was born, Gaia gave him to Athena.

Though Athena is a goddess of war strategy, she disliked fighting without purpose and preferred to use wisdom to settle predicaments. The goddess only encouraged fighting for a reasonable cause or to resolve conflict. As patron of Athens she fought in the Trojan war on the side of the Achaeans.

Origin TalesEdit

Olympian OriginsEdit

Although Athena appears before Zeus at Knossos —in Linear B, as a-ta-na po-ti-ni-ja, "Mistress Athena"[16]—in the Classical Olympian pantheon, Athena was remade as the favorite daughter of Zeus, born fully armed from his forehead.[17] The story of her birth comes in several versions. In the one most commonly cited, Zeus lay with Metis, the goddess of crafty thought and wisdom, but he immediately feared the consequences. It had been prophesied that Metis would bear children more powerful than the sire,[18] even Zeus himself. In order to forestall these dire consequences, after lying with Metis, Zeus "put her away inside his own belly;" he "swallowed her down all of a sudden."[19] He was too late: Metis had already conceived. Eventually Zeus experienced an enormous headache; Prometheus, Hephaestus, Hermes, Ares, or Palaemon (depending on the sources examined) cleaved Zeus's head with the double-headed Minoan axe, the labrys. Athena leaped from Zeus's head, fully grown and armed, with a shout— "and pealed to the broad sky her clarion cry of war. And Ouranos trembled to hear, and Mother Gaia..." (Pindar, Seventh Olympian Ode). Plato, in the Laws, attributes the cult of Athena to the culture of Crete, introduced, he thought, from Libya during the dawn of Greek culture. Classical myths thereafter note that Hera was so annoyed at Zeus for having produced a child that she conceived and bore Hephaestus by herself. Plato, in Cratylus (407B) gave the etymology of her name as signifying "the mind of god", theou noesis. The Christian apologist of the 2nd century Justin Martyr takes issue with those pagans who erect at springs images of Kore, whom he interprets as Athena:

They said that Athena was the daughter of Zeus not from intercourse, but when the god had in mind the making of a world through a word (logos) his first thought was Athena.


Other OriginsEdit

Some origin stories tell of Athena having been born outside of Olympus and raised by the god Triton. Fragments attributed by the Christian Eusebius of Caesarea to the semi-legendary Phoenician historian Sanchuniathon, which Eusebius thought had been written before the Trojan war, make Athena instead the daughter of Cronus, a king of Byblos who visited 'the inhabitable world' and bequeathed Attica to Athena. Sanchuniathon's account would make Athena the sister of Zeus and Hera, not Zeus' daughter.

TriviaEdit

  • In Greek Art: Athena wore a crown of serpents above her head, she had serpents attend her, and she had a serpent by her side in the Parthenon.[1]
  • Athena may be related to Inanna, the Summerian Goddess, through her association with the Owl. [citation needed]
  • Athena is the female personification of the City of Athens. [citation needed]

ReferencesEdit

  1. The Forbidden Theory of Ancient Greek Art. Solving Light.com. Retrieved on Aug 3, 2014.

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