Athena Picture

Athena is the shrewd companion of Heroes and the Goddess of Heroic endeavor. She would also come to be known as the goddess of wisdom as philosophy became applied to cult in the later fifth century. She remained the patroness of weaving especially and other crafts (Athena Ergane) and the more disciplined side of war, where she led the battle (Athena Promachos). Athena's wisdom also includes the cunning intelligence (metis) of such figures as Odysseus.

She is attended by an owl, and is often accompanied by the goddess of victory, Nike, which in established icons she offers upon her extended hand. Wearing a goatskin breastplate called the Aegis given to her by her father, Zeus, she is often shown helmeted and with a shield bearing the Gorgon Medusa's head, the gorgon, a votive gift of Perseus. Athena is an armed warrior goddess, and appears in Greek mythology as a helper of many heroes, including Heracles, Jason, and Odysseus. In classical myth she never had a consort or lover, and thus was often known as Athena Parthenos ("Athena the virgin"), hence her most famous temple, the Parthenon, on the Acropolis in Athens. In a remnant of archaic myth, she was the mother of Erichthonius by the attempted rape by Hephaestus, which failed.

In her role as a protector of the city, Athena was worshiped throughout the Greek world as Athena Polias ("Athena of the city"). She had a special relationship with Athens, as is shown by the etymological connection of the names of the goddess and the city.

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