by Jannie from San Jose
Athena, the Greek goddess of the city of Athens, wisdom, war, the arts, industry, justice, and skill. Athena means 'Queen of Heaven'. Her Roman name is was Minerva. She was the daughter of Zeus and Meitis. When Metis was pregnant, Zeus feared that she would bear a son who would be mightier than him. So he swallowed Metis whole and then she started making a robe and a helmet for her daughter. The hammering of the helmet caused Zeus to have such a great big headache that he cried out in agony. Hephaestus ran to him and split his head open and out sprang Athena, fully grown and armored with her mother's robe and helmet. She was Zeus' favorite child, so she was allowed to use all of his weapons including his thunderbolts. She fought to protect her family and her city, Athens.
Her Uncle Poseidon and she both liked the same city in Greece. They both claimed the city and decided on a contest. They decided that whoever of the two gods gave the finest gift to the city would get to claim the city. With a group of citizens the two gods mounted on the Acropolis. Poseidon struck the side of the cliff with his trident and a spring welled up. The citizens were delighted and they tried the water. The water was salty like Poseidon’s sea, and it was not very useful. Athena then planted a seed in the ground and out sprang a tree. Her gift to the city was an olive tree which was very useful because it supplied food, oil, and wood. The olive tree was far more useful than the spring of salty water so the city was named after her in her honor. Athens was her favorite city, her favorite tree was the olive tree and her favorite bird was the owl, which symbolizes wisdom. Her companion was Nike, who was one of Zeus' favorite gods.
She once had a friend, when she was a child, named Pallas. They were inseparable. One day when they were sparring, she accidentally killed Pallas. She grieved so much from her loss that she decided to put her best friend's name in hers, so she was sometimes referred to as Pallas Athena. She taught men how to use tools and the science of numbers. She taught women how to cook, weave and spin. She said that compassion was the best part of wisdom. Before battles, captains prayed to her for tactics. Before trials, judges prayed to her for wisdom. She was an embodiment of wisdom, reason, and purity. Even though she was a goddess of war she liked to settle battles and fights by peaceful means. She always cast the liberating vote when the judge's votes were tied in a criminal trial. She was the symbol of wisdom and intelligence. She protected heroes such as Ulysses. She aided Perseus, Jason, Cadmus, Odysseus and Hercules in their quests. She helped Hercules hold up the sky while Atlas went to go retrieve the Golden Apple. She sponsored Perseus in his quest to slay Medusa because she wanted the Gorgon's head to decorate her shield. Aries and she hated each other and liked to battle each other on the field of battle. She always beat him because she was the mistress of strategy.
Like all gods she was once jealous. There was a girl named Arachne who lived in Lydia. She claimed that she was the best weaver ever and that she was far more superior in weaving than Athena. After Athena heard this she came down and challenged her to a contest. If she won she would keep her life, if she lost she would die. During Athena's turn Arachne saw how great Athena was so she took a rope and hung herself on a nearby tree. Later, when Athena spotted her, she turned Arachne into a spider. Spiders are known as arachnids today.
Athena may be a myth, but I consider her as one of my heroes. She's one of my heroes because her wisdom, intelligence, and kindness inspire me to help other people and be creative. She was against violence and that taught me to not be violent.
Page created on 5/17/2015 12:00:00 AM
Last edited 7/27/2017 11:54:52 PM
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