The Greek goddess Athena, the goddess of many trades.
Though she was considered a goddess of war, she was a goddess of wisdom, arts, and health to others. The character of Athena is something which represents the most jack of all trades type of god. While many of Athena’s family members held specifically one duty, she proves to be the independent who studies all of mankind’s trades, developing into one of the most loved and honored gods in Greece.
There are many tales of how the goddess Athena came to be. The first, and most popular of the myths of her birth is her escape from the head of Zeus. In fear that the child of Metis, Athena’s mother, Zeus swallowed her much like his father had done so before. Seeing as each generation was overcome by their children, he had much to fear. Below is a quotation describing the event.
“Zeus announced that one day, overcome by a fearful headache, he had howled aloud like a thousand wolves hunting in a pack. Hephaestus then ran up with an axe and kindly split his head open. Out sprang Athena in full armor.”
The second story of her birth, which seemed next in line for most likely, was her birth from Poseidon and Libya, an African goddess (Graves, Gods 15). A third story of her birth describes Zeus basically head butting a cloud and out sprung the goddess. Another final story of her birth describes her being the child of Pallas, a giant. Though she was expected to be the demise of Zeus, he became fond of her. In a short time he was considered the favorite daughter of Zeus, which caused jealousy among the rest of the gods (Graves, Larousse 106). Also, being the goddess of war, she often had conflicts with Ares when they were roaming the battlefield. Opposite of Ares, she worked to find peace of a just solution while Ares enjoyed the chaos of battle (Nardo 79).
Next are the characteristics of Athena. Athena was always in possession of the Aegis, a shield, which she had been given by Zeus himself (Nardo 78). From pictures and the sculptures, it became apparent that she was never without armor. From pictures it could be seen that she wore a Greek designed helmet, the Aegis, a breastplate, and she carried a spear in her opposite hand of the Aegis. Also, a very noticeable trait of the goddess was her eyes, which were commonly referred to in epithets as “Goddess of Brilliant Eyes” or “Bright Eyed Athena” (Graves, Larousse 107) From just her appearance it would be easy to notice that she was a goddess of war. Within these robes she would easily be considered Promachos Athena, or the Warrior Champion. However, she had many other names. From Pallas, Maiden, Athena, to Nike, the victor, Athena, she had names for basically each of her talents. Below will be small explanations for her names. The first of which is Parthenos, the virgin. Athena was considered a very chaste goddess. She seemed basically disgusted at the thought. Once when she traveled to Hephaestus’s armory to get new armor made, he made a deal with her that she would love him for payment. In innocence, she accepted, having no clue what he meant. When she returned to get the armor, he attempted to perform this deed. She escaped, but before escaping he had ejaculated onto her lower leg. She wiped it off and threw it to earth, which Gaia would not accept. She in turn took the child and brought him up (“Athena”). There is much more to the story, but that is enough to get the point across. The next of her names is Hygieia, which she received for healing an Architect names Mnesicles. Finally, there was the name Ergane Athena, which means worker Athena. Considering her many inventions and wise innovations, it was a suiting name (Nardo 108). Though she had many more names, those are considered the prominent ones.