Athena or Athene, often given the epithet Pallas, is an ancient Greek goddess associated with wisdom, handicraft, and warfare who was later syncretized with the Roman goddess Minerva. Athena was regarded as the patron and protectress of various cities across Greece, particularly the city of Athens, from which she most likely received her name. She's usually shown in art wearing a helmet and holding a spear. Her major symbols include owls, olive trees, snakes, and the Gorgoneion.
The Birth Of Athena
Athena is a virgin Greek goddess of arts, crafts, industry, skill, war, wisdom, justice, and many more. She is Zeus' favorite child. Before she was born, her mother and Zeus' first wife, Metis, was swallowed by Zeus because he feared that she might bear a son mightier than himself. Metis, inside of Zeus' head, began to sew a robe and forge a helmet for her daughter. The hammering of the helmet caused Zeus to have headaches. After being hurt for so much, Zeus called Hephaestus, the god of fire, to split his skull open without hurting him. Athena emerged from her father's head, fully grown and wearing her mother's robe and helmet.
Athena's Contest with Poseidon
A long time ago in Athens, Greece, the half-human, half-snake king, Cecrops had to find a patron deity for the city state of Athens. Athena and Poseidon were interested in the patronage, so they appeared in front of Cecrops and offered to compete by presenting a valuable gift. Poseidon started off by striking the earth with his trident, creating a well full of water. However, the water was very salty, so it was not as useful. Athena struck her spear into the ground and planted an olive branch in it. An olive tree grew and became a symbol of peace and prosperity. Cecrops was impressed by Athena's gift and chose her as the patron deity for Athens. Poseidon grew angry and said to have caused a water shortage in Athens.
Athena and the Weaving Contest
In Ledia, Greece, there lived a beautiful girl named Arachne. She was a famous and skilled weaver and spinner. Many people would stop by just to see her weave. However, she was very prideful and couldn't stop bragging about her talent. She claimed to have learned the skill all by herself and that no one else can surpass her, not even Athena, the goddess of skill. Athena heard this and decided to disguise herself as an old woman to confront Arachne. The old woman told Arachne that it was impossible for a human being to beat a goddess, but Arachne ignored the woman and said otherwise. Athena got worn out and took off her disguise, revealing her true goddess form. Everyone around her immediately kneeled down before her, except Arachne who stood fearlessly in front of her. The weaving contest started and the two contestants were doing very well. Athena was weaving the Parthenon and her contest with god Poseidon, the god of the sea. Arachna, however, was weaving scenes of gods full of weaknesses and fears to make fun of them. Although Arachna's work was perfect, it was not considered beautiful because it offended the gods. Athena grew furious and turned Arachne into a hideous creature that will weave for the rest of it's life: a spider.
Tuccinardi, Ryan. "Athena." Athena. MCMXCV - MMIX Encyclopedia Mythica, 03 Mar. 1997. Web. 02 June 2014.
"Olympian Gods » Poseidon, the God of the Sea » Myths about Poseidon." Greek Stories about Poseidon-The Contest of Poseidon and Athena. Greek-Gods.Info, n.d. Web. 02 June 2014.
"Olympian Gods » Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom » Myths about Athena." Greek Stories about Athena-Athena, Arachne and the Weaving Contest. Greek-Gods.Info, n.d. Web. 01 June 2014.
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