Athena Varvakeion, small Roman replica of the ...
Athena Varvakeion, small Roman replica of the Athena Parthenos by Phidias. Found in Athens near the Varvakeion school, hence the name. First half of the 3rd c. AD. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Athena is the sagely and powerful Greek goddess of war and strategy, daughter of Zeus and Metis.

Uranus and Gaia warned Zeus that if Metis had a daughter, she would bear a son who would rob Zeus of his heavenly kingdom. Zeus responded by swallowing the pregnant Metis so as to be Athena’s sole progenitor. Athena sprang fully armed from Zeus’ head at birth to become the goddess of War, known more for her strategizing and encouragement of heroes than mere blood lust.

In Homer’s Illiad Athena often intercedes, bestowing advice and strength to Greek mortals during the Trojan war. As the protectress of Athens, she was venerated in three temples at the Acropolis and celebrated during numerous festivals, the main festival being Panathenaea.

In the 5th century BCE she is also worshiped as a goddess of philosophy. She’s also a patroness of craftsmen, especially weavers.

Athena’s warrior shield was called an aegis, which she shared with her father, Zeus. And the phrase, under the aegis of derives from the legends of Zeus and Athena.

Athena’s Roman parallel is the goddess Minerva.

In 1982 the British rock group The Who wrote a song called “Athena” on the album It’s Hard.



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