Birth of Athena

Birth of Athena

Zeus came to lust after Metis, and chased her in his direct way. Metis tried to escape, going so far as to change her form many times; she changed into various creatures such as hawks, fish, and serpents. However, Zeus was both determined and equally proficient at changing form. He continued his pursuit until she relented.

An oracle of Gaea then prophesied that Metis' first child would be a girl and that her second child would be a boy that would overthrow Zeus, similarly to what had happened to his father and grandfather. Zeus took this warning to heart. When he next saw Metis, he initially flattered her and put her at her ease. Then, with Metis' guards down, Zeus opened his mouth and swallowed her and her unborn child. This was the end of Metis, but also the beginning of Zeus' wisdom.

After a time, Zeus developed an unbearable headache, which made him scream out of pain so loudly it could be heard throughout the earth. The other gods came to see what the problem was. Hermes realized what needed to be done and directed Hephaestus to take a wedge and split open Zeus's skull. Out of the skull sprang Athena, fully grown and in a full set of armour. Due to the way of her birth, she became the goddess of intelligence and wisdom.

More: Zeus, Metis, Hephaestus