Part of the known Olympians, Athena takes place as the goddess of wisdom and war. With complaints of a great headache, Hepheastus assisted Zeus by taking an ax to his head. She was birthed by Zeus and had no mother, Athena emerged fully-grown and armed from Zeus’ forehead. As a favorite child, Athena was given high powers related to strategic warfare.
The goddess of war is welcomed warmly and loving by the city of Athens who have deemed Athena the patroness. As Athens protector, she was highly respected and worshiped. Early on, Athena is described as a virgin goddess which gives birth to her epithets, different identities called Pallas and Parthenos. Currently, the meaning of Pallas remains undiscovered by Parthenos refers to her virginal status, Promachos in relation to her war powers and Polias is “for the city” as a patroness.
Zeus assigns both Athena and Ares to times of war, yet there are stark differences in these two Olympians' representation. Athena embodies the intellectual justices and skills needed for a civilized war. For this, Athena can be viewed as the superior derivation of war. When Athena is dressed for war, her gear consists of being decorated with qualities of assault, strife, fear and defense. In myths she is portrayed as wearing the aegis, armor, helmet with a shield and lance.
In reference to Homer’s story, it is noted from sources that Athena is a goddess of good counsel due to being guardian for a king’s welfare. However, this note may not be as surprising if we consider another explanation for her birth. In another speculation, Zeus had consumed Metis who was the goddess of counsel while she was pregnant with Athena. Henceforth why Athena was birthed from Zeus rather than by a mother in this alternate origin.
Other notable symbols of Athena include birds, specifically owls. The bird is also associated as the famous symbol for Athens. Under Plato’s telling, the city was claimed by the goddess after becoming victorious over Poseidon in a contest for it.
She has appeared throughout Greek Mythology by helping heroes such as Perseus, who had slain the feared gorgon, Medusa.
“Athena | Goddess, Myths, Symbols, Facts, & Roman Name.” Encyclopedia Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Athena-Greek-mythology. Accessed 11 April 2022.
Chaliakopoulos, Antonis. “Athena And Poseidon's Contest: How Did Athens Get Its Name?” TheCollector, 19 May 2021, https://www.thecollector.com/athena-poseidon-contest-athens-name-giving/. Accessed 11 April 2022.