File:Mattei Athena Louvre Ma530 n2.jpg
Athena at the Louvre. Roman copy from the 1st century BC/AD after a Greek original of the 4th century BC, attributed to Cephisodotos or Euphranor.
File:Pallas Athena, Vienna.jpg
Athena, in front of the parliament building in Vienna, Austria

Athena is the Greek goddess of wisdom and strategy. She is one of the Twelve Olympians. Athena's symbol is the owl, the wisest of the birds. She also had a shield called Aegis, which was a present given to her by Zeus. She is often shown with her helmet on and with her shield, which has Medusa's head on it. This was a present to her from Perseus.

Athena is the protector of Athens, Greece, a city named after her. The Parthenon, which is on the Acropolis in Athens, is her most famous temple. She also helped many heroes, including Heracles, Jason, and Odysseus, and is always seen with Nike, the goddess of victory.


There are many stories about Athena's birth. In Hesiod's Theogony, Zeus had sexual intercourse with Metis, but Zeus was scared of her giving birth to a child because the Oracle of Delphi had said that she will give birth to Athena, and a son that would overthrow Zeus, just like Zeus overthrew Kronos. To stop Metis giving birth to her son, Zeus swallowed her whole. This was when she turned herself into a fly as Zeus and Metis were playing a game. However, Zeus was too late, as Metis was already pregnant.

While she was inside Zeus's head, Metis made a helmet, armor, and a robe for Athena. The hammering noise caused Zeus to have a severe headache. To help Zeus in pain, Ares cut his head open with a Minoan axe. Athena then came out of Zeus's head. She was fully grown and had her armor on.

Titles and patronages

Athena is the goddess of knowledge, purity, arts, crafts, learning, justice and wisdom. She also plays a tough, clever and independent role. Athenians thought she helped them win the Trojan war. Athena often helped heroes, especially ones who were not just brave but clever, like Jason and Perseus. People joined her cult, hoping she would give them victory.

Attributes and epithets

Athena was given many other titles. She has the epithet Ergane as the patron of craftsmen and artisans. With the epithet Parthenos she was especially worshipped in the festivals of the Panathenaea and Pamboeotia where both militaristic and athletic displays took place. With the epithet Promachos she led in battle. With the epithet Polias, Athena was the protector of not only Athens but also of many other cities, including Argos, Sparta, Gortyn, Lindos, and Larisa.

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