A city won by the divine.

Updated: Sep 13, 2021

You probably know that the Greek city of Athens is named after the Goddess Athena (and if you didn't then now you do!). But how did one of the most famous cities in the world come to have its name, or should we say, why was Athens willing to name itself after the Goddess?

Here's a little story of how a Goddess won a city.

A rivalry

The city was newly formed and needed a name but had no idea what to call itself. To add to this, two rival gods wanted the city for themselves. Poseidon, God of the Sea and his niece Athena, Goddess of Wisdom were both vying for the city. Since the city couldn't decide who should be its patron, it offered the two gods itself to the one who could bestow the city its greatest gift.

Poseidon thinking himself clever, smashed his staff into a rockface and immediately a well sprung up. The people marvelled at first but their awe was short lived. The well was filled with salt water like the sea and completely useless.

Next, it was Athena's turn. Conjuring her magic, Athena created an olive tree. This gift provided both food and wood and so the city decided that Athena's olive tree was the better of the two gifts. As such, Athena won the day and the city and in doing so, the city was named in her honour.

And that is the story of how Athens got its name.


Head to the Mythology page to learn more about each character in Greek Mythology - it'll help a great deal as we continue to add more stories to the list! There are some incredible stories and lessons we can learn from the ancient Greeks, so stay tuned and subscribe for more!

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