Athena

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Athena

(əthē`nə), or

Pallas Athena

(păl`əs), in Greek religion and mythology, one of the most important Olympian deities. According to myth, after Zeus seduced Metis he learned that any son she bore would overthrow him, so he swallowed her alive. Later Hephaestus split Zeus' skull with an ax, and out sprang Athena, fully armed. Athena was a deity of diverse functions and attributes. Her most conspicuous role was perhaps that of a goddess of war, the female counterpart of Ares. However, she was also a goddess of peace, noted for her compassion and generosity. Like Minerva, with whom the Romans identified her, she was a patron of the arts and crafts, especially spinning and weaving. In later times she was important as a goddess of wisdom. Athena was also a guardian of cities, notably Athens, where the Parthenon was erected as her temple. In a contest with Poseidon concerning dominion over Attica, Athena made an olive tree grow on the Acropolis while Poseidon caused a saltwater stream to gush from the Acropolis. The other Olympians, asked to judge the contest, decided in favor of Athena. Her statue, the PalladiumPalladium
, in Greek religion, sacred image kept in the temple of Athena at Troy. It was either an image of Athena or an image made by Athena of her unfortunate playmate Pallas (see Pallas (1)).
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, was supposed to protect the city that possessed it. It was said that because she accidentally killed PallasPallas
, in classical mythology. 1 Name given to Athena after she killed either a youthful playmate named Pallas or, in some legends, the giant Pallas. 2 Goatish giant killed by Athena when he tried to rape her.
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 she set the name Pallas before her own. Although a virgin goddess, she was concerned with fertility, and at Athens and Elis her worship was notably maternal. Athena is represented in art as a stately figure, armored, and wielding the aegisaegis
, in Greek mythology, weapon of Zeus and Athena. It possessed the power to terrify and disperse the enemy or to protect friends. The aegis was usually described as a garment made of goatskin slung over the shoulder or as a piece of armor.
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. Her most important festival was the Panathenaea, which was celebrated annually at Athens. It included athletic and musical contests, poetic recitations, and sacrifices. At the end of the festivities a grand procession carried a richly embroidered peplos to the Acropolis as a present to Athena.

Athena

sprang from the head of Zeus when Hephaestus split it open with an axe. [Gk. Myth.: Benét, 60]

Athena

(Rom. Minerva) protector of craftsmen. [Gk. Myth.: Kravitz, 67]

Athena

assumes Mentor’s form to persuade Telemachus to search for his father. [Gk. Lit.: Odyssey]

Athena

Athens’ patroness; goddess of war and fecundity. [Gk. Myth.: Parrinder, 33; Kravitz, 40]

Athena

goddess of spinning and weaving. [Gk. Myth.: Howe, 45]

Athena

goddess who had no love affairs and never married, called Parthenos, ‘the Virgin.’ [Gk. Myth.: Benét, 60]

Athena

(Rom. Minerva) goddess of war. [Gk. Myth.: Howe, 44]
See: War

Athena (Rom. Minerva)

goddess of wisdom. [Gk. and Rom. Myth.: Brewer Dictionary, 713]
See: Wisdom

Athena

, Athene
Greek myth a virgin goddess of wisdom, practical skills, and prudent warfare. She was born, fully armed, from the head of Zeus

Athena

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