Image by Spencer Davis

Athena

Welcome to your crash course of Greek Mythology! If you've ever been fascinated about the ancients and wanted to know more but didn't have the time, never fear! Mythology Made has made the myths super simple so you can read on the go and learn something new.

Goddess of Wisdom & War

Athena is the daughter of Zeus and Metis, Goddess of Wisdom & War and one of the 12 great Olympians. While Athena is a fair and just Goddess (for the most part), she too was capable of jealousy and rage, just like her Olympian counterparts.

 

How was Athena born?

Zeus wed the beautiful Goddess of Prudence, Metis. While happy at first, Zeus was told of a prophesy. Zeus, who had overthrown his own father Cronus during the battle of the Olympians was told that of Metis bore him a son, that son would overthrow Zeus; just as he had overthrown his father. So he hatched a plan.

One day, while Metis was pregnant, Zeus distracted her with a game - changing shapes! They had a whale of a time and Metis, forgetting her prudence, changed into all different plants and animals. When Metis changed into a fly, Zeus quickly swallowed her whole - and Metis then lived in Zeus' head from then on. 

While Zeus thought it was a clever plan, he didn't account for when the baby would be born. Metis sat drilling away, making armour and weapons and all things her baby would need for when it was born. As a result, Zeus began to suffer from ear splitting headaches. Alas, when he could take it no mare and screamed out in pain, his son Hephaestus grabbed a hammer and split open Zeus' head. In that moment, out sprang Athena, fully grown in all her glory.

I thought Ares was the God of War?

You'll find that sometimes, some of the roles in Greek Mythology can overlap (for example, Selene and Artemis are both Goddesses of the Moon). Aries is the official God of War, but due to her wisdom, Athena was often sought out for council on affairs of war while sacrifices were made to her to ensure victory. While Aries loves bloodshed and would appear on any battlefield, Athena would only fight in wars she thought were just. During the 10 year siege of Troy, Athena fought on the side of the Greeks.

Who is that little owl that follows her around?

Athena has a little owl as a companion, known as Nike, the spirit of victory. You may find Nike popping up in pop culture such as Nike the sports brand or the homage made to her in the film "Clash of the Titans".

A city in her name.

During the formation of Athens, both Athena and her uncle Poseidon, argued over who should have the city so they fought for it via a competition. As you can tell, Athena won and in doing so, the named the city after her. Story coming soon!

The wrath of a Goddess

While Athena was mostly a just goddess, one of the most debated myths was over when Athena turned Medusa (a priestess in her temple) into the infamous snake haired gorgon that you know today. Was it a form of protection or the wrath of an angry Goddess? You decide!