Athena, Greek goddess of Wisdom, War and Military Strategy | Minerva | Greek Mythology and Folklore

Athena, Greek goddess of Wisdom, War and Military Strategy | Minerva | Greek Mythology and Folklore

He swallowed Metis,
How foolish, I still was born. Behold! i leapt out of his head,
fully armed and fully grown, with a cry so mighty, so fearsome,
that Uranus and Gaea were shaken with terror. Not a son, Zeus thanked. Goddess of war, and wisdom. I can fight you. I can teach you. In ancient Greek religion, Athena is the Olympian
goddess of wisdom, war and military strategy. The goddess of good counsel and practical
insight, the protectress and patron of the city of Athens. She is identified by the Romans with the name
– Minerva, and also associated with handicrafts, most especially spinning and weaving. Athena was the daughter of the king god – Zeus,
and was born in a very unusual circumstance. Zeus had swallowed Metis, the goddess of counsel,
while she was pregnant with Athena, on learning that her child may overthrow him. But when the time came, Zeus felt a tremendous
headache. When he couldn’t bear the pain anymore,
Hephaestus struck him with his axe and – lo! – Athena leapt out of Zeus’ forehead, fully
grown. A powerful goddess, she was Zeus’ favourite. Athena was one of the most important Olympians,
known under many different names, some of which include: “Pallas,” “The Unwearying
One,” “The One of the City,” “The One with gleaming eyes” and “The One who
fights in front.” She is always depicted as a majestic lady,
having grey eyes, with an attractive, but stern face, unsmiling lips, and a graceful
build, emanating power and authority. She is often clad either in full armor, with
a crested Corinthian helmet, a long spear in one hand and an aegis in the other, or
in a regal robe, with a spindle. At the center of Athena’s aegis, is an image
of the Gorgon’s head (Medusa), signifying the gift of Medusa’s head she got from Perseus. And just like Medusa’s eyes, Athena’s
shield can also turn her enemies to stone. As a symbol of her wisdom, there is usually
an owl flying alongside Athena, or sitting on her shoulder. And sometimes, there may also be a snake or
an olive branch. Athena represented the intellectual and civilized
side of war, and the virtues of justice and skill, thus, she had moral and military superiority
to Ares the god of war, who represented mere blood lust. Just like her sister – Artemis, and her aunt
Hestia, Athena was not swayed by love or passion. She was a virgin deity and could not be violated. She neither had a consort nor offspring. Some story versions claim that Erichthonius
was her son, however, Athena was only his foster-mother. According to this version, Hephaestus had
tried to force himself on her, but the warrior goddess fought him off, so he spilled his
semen over the Earth, which Impregnated Gaea. And when Erichthonius was born, Athena took
him under her care. Now, just like the other gods, Athena had
a terrible wrath. She dealt unpleasant punishments to any mortal
who invoked her anger. the most famous myths of her victims, are
the story of Arachne, the mortal craftswoman who was turned to a spider because she had
boasted that she was more skillful than Athena herself, and the story of Medusa, the beautiful
woman who was turned into a hideous Gorgon, for defiling her temple. Nevertheless, Athena was benevolent. The wisdom and war goddess was most often
the main helper of Ancient Greek heroes. She guided Odysseus during his ten-year-long
journey back to Ithaca. And also helped many others, like Heracles,
Perseus, Jason, Diomedes, Bellerophon, Argus, and Cadmus.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes


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