Who is Athena?
Birth of Athena
Athena is one of the younger Greek goddesses; she is Zeus's daughter. She has no mother. The story is
that Athena was born, fully grown and armed,
out of the head of Zeus. One day Zeus complained that he had a headache,
and Hephaistos came and banged him on the
head with an axe and out popped Athena!
Athena has no husband either. She doesn't fall in love and she doesn't
Athena is the goddess of wisdom; her symbol is the owl (the wise bird). She's the patron goddess of the city of Athens, and
her owl appears on Athenian silver coins.
She is also a war goddess, which is why she is usually shown fully armed,
with her shield and sword.
Myths about Athena: the stories of Arachne
and Medusa. Athena also plays a big part
in the Odyssey.
Bibliography and further reading about Athena:
Athena: Stories from Ancient Greece, by Richard Woff.
by Blake Hoena. Easy reading.
Goddesses: Athena, Aphrodite, Hera by Doris Orgel and Marilee Heyer.
With a more feminist view.
Book of Greek Myths, by Edgar and Ingri D'Aulaire.
Religion, by Walter Burkert (reprinted 1987). By a leading expert. He has sections on each of the Greek gods, and discusses
their deeper meanings, and their function in Greek society.
Karen Eva Carr, PhD.
Assoc. Professor Emerita, History
Portland State University
Professor Carr holds a B.A. with high honors from Cornell University in classics and archaeology, and her M.A. and PhD. from the University of Michigan in Classical Art and Archaeology. She has excavated in Scotland, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, and Tunisia, and she has been teaching history to university students for a very long time.
More about Professor Carr's work on the Portland State University website
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