Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom and war

Athena (Ἀθηνᾶ)
Greek Pantheon
Goddess of wisdom, war, civilization, arts & crafts
Also called Pallas or Pallas Athena
Burst forth from the head of Zeus, armed and ready for battle. She swore to remain a virgin forever and never married.

Although she is a goddess of war, she comes to the fight in a spirit of justice rather than anger. She is the patron goddess of heroes and artists of all kinds. She shows up in many myths as the helper of heroes; she helped Jason get the golden fleece, Theseus slay the Minotaur, Perseus slay the Medusa, and Herakles complete his seven labors. She took her chastity very seriously, and no man was allowed to so much as see her naked. A man named Tiresias came upon her while she was bathing, and she struck him blind; however, the one glimpse of her naked gave him the wisdom to see the future and understand the speech of birds. She was a favorite of ancient Greek writers, and shows up to help heroes of the Illiad, the Odyssey, and many other works of literature. As goddess of wisdom and learning, she came to be a symbol of civilized life.

 

Symbols:

  • Owl
  • Shield made from the head of a gorgon
  • Spear & armor
  • Olive tree
  • She often holds Nike, the goddess of victory, in her hand