Who are Athena’s parents?
Athena is one of the younger Greek goddesses; she is Zeus‘s daughter. Her mother was Metis (Wisdom).
How was Athena born?
The story is that Zeus swallowed Metis, already pregnant with Athena, and then 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. She doesn’t fall in love and she doesn’t have children. So Athena’s doubly a virgin: she wasn’t born out of a woman in the normal way, and she never gives birth either. She’s extra-virgin, like the olive oil she represents!
Goddess of wisdom
Athena is the goddess of wisdom; her symbol is the owl (the wise bird).
Goddess of Athens
She’s the patron goddess of the city of Athens, and her owl appears on Athenian silver coins.
According to the story, Athena and Poseidon were arguing about who should be the main god of the city of Athens, and they each offered gifts to the city. Poseidon offered horses, and Athena offered olive trees, and Athens chose the olive trees.
Goddess of war and manufacturing
You might say that Athena is a goddess of money-making, of manufacturing and plundering, of anything that brings profit to the city of Athens. That makes her super-appropriate to have on Athens’s coins, right?
Myths about Athena:
Arachne the weaver
Medusa and Perseus
Herakles and Atlas
Athena in the Odyssey
The Roman goddess Minerva
Bright-Eyed Athena: Stories from Ancient Greece, by Richard Woff.
Athena, by Blake Hoena. Easy reading.
We Goddesses: Athena, Aphrodite, Hera by Doris Orgel and Marilee Heyer. With a more feminist view.
D’aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths, by Edgar and Ingri D’Aulaire.
Greek 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.