The Goddess Of Wisdom And Struggle
An epithet describing Athena as ‘grey-eyed’ is closely linked to her affiliation with the olive tree. The underside of an olive leaf is gray, and hence it is believed to be representing the attention of the goddess.
Athena, the Greek goddess of battles and the stately protector of the armies, was a fantastic and an implacable warrior herself. Though she was the goddess of warfare and battles, she did not interact in brutality or unfair means to win the struggle, like god Ares. Quite the opposite, she is regarded as the goddess of strategies and a disciplined aspect of warfare. Nonetheless, her domain is not only limited to the battlefield; she can be considered because the goddess of wisdom, handicrafts, agriculture, navigation, metalworking, and of all the other arts and crafts related to urbanism and human civilization. And naturally, she was the guardian deity and patroness of the Greek metropolis of Athens, a position that she had gained after contesting for the same.
» Athena in Greek Mythology
» Myths Surrounding her Delivery
» Pallas Athena
» Athena Parthenos
» Athena and Athens
» The Goddess of Warfare
» Patroness of Arts and Crafts
» Cult and Worship
» Iconography and Depictions in Artwork
Athena in Greek Mythology
While trying at the mythological traditions of a selected region, it is very interesting how characters make their way into the mainstream myths. History tells us that there are numerous instances, the place cultures have borrowed mythological characters from each other. Greek mythology shouldn’t be an exception to this phenomenon, as we see a host of mythological and mythical characters being borrowed from different cultures. Subsequently, characters had been borrowed from the Greek tradition as effectively, by a few of the other succeeding cultures.
Some students have recommended that the incorporation of goddess Athena within the mythology of the ancient Greeks, could also be the result of an analogous phenomenon. It has been argued that the title ‘Athena’ does not seem ‘Greek’, and that the ending -na might belong to the language of the non-Greek inhabitants of mainland Greece, who occupied the area before the Greeks. Even during that time, Athena might need been the main deity of the rulers, and might have guarded their royal residences. Her affiliation with warfare might have been a possible consequence of her reference to the ruling class. Among the supposedly pre-Greek versions of the goddess depict her decked up in struggle gear, and holding weapons.
In the subsequent period (after around 2100 B.C.), when Greek invaders may need invaded mainland Greece, Athena, along with dr pepper t shirt target quite a few other gods and goddesses, may have been integrated in the Greek religious faith, which was nonetheless in its developing part. Nonetheless, the goddess did handle to retain her status as a guardian deity, in addition to her association with warfare.
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Myths Surrounding her Delivery
There are numerous myths related to the birth of Athena that narrate how she was born, and to whom. A few of the most popular ones are as below:
Credit score: C Painter (artist) (Consumer:Bibi Saint-Pol, own work)/ by way of Wikimedia Commons (PD)
* The image exhibits Athena popping out of Zeus’ head.
• The Olympian version of the tale of Athena’s beginning, affirms that she was the daughter of god Zeus and his second spouse, Metis. It had been prophesied that if a son was born to Zeus and Metis, he can be extra highly effective than his father, and would finally overthrow his father’s rule. Frightened and insecure by the prophecy, Zeus tricked Metis into remodeling into a fly, and swallowed her, with a purpose to keep away from every little thing that had been foretold. Nevertheless, he was dr pepper t shirt target not conscious that Metis was already pregnant at the moment. While in Zeus’ stomach, she started to make helmet and armor for her unborn child, and the hammering that she did in the process, triggered an excruciating headache to Zeus. Unable to bear it any longer, Zeus summoned Hermes (some sources additionally mention Prometheus, Hephaestus, Ares, and Palaemon, instead of Hermes), and asked him to cut open his head and take away the source of his torment. Hermes took his labrys, a Minoan double-axe, and the moment he minimize open Zeus’ head, Athena popped out of it, completely armed and totally grown-up.
• One other variation of the parable surrounding Athena’s beginning, occurs within the Homeric hymn. It doesn’t mention Metis or another female divinity as Athena’s mom. As an alternative, it says that Zeus himself gave beginning to the goddess from his head, and she was born an grownup, sporting a divine armor.
• Fragments of the recorded history, written supposedly previous to the Trojan conflict by a Phoenician historian known as Sanchuniathon, state that Athena was the daughter of Cronus, the ruler of Byblos, a Greek name for the Phoenician metropolis of Gebal. Cronus was also the top of the primary era of Titans, whose son Zeus, and others, defeated the Titans and established their sway on Mount Olympus. So, if one goes by this myth with respect to the delivery of Athena, she becomes the sister of Zeus, and not his daughter.
• One more fantasy concerning the goddess’ delivery tells us that she was not an Olympian in any respect. As a substitute, she was born outside Olympus, and was raised by Triton, the messenger of the large sea. Triton was the son of Poseidon, and the father of Pallas.
Regardless of the origin of the goddess could have been, there isn’t any denying the fact that she is one of an important Greek divinities, without whom, the Greek pantheon cannot complete. However, the myth saying that she was the daughter of Zeus and Metis is the most accepted one. Moreover, her start from Zeus’ head, allegorizes the three fundamental characteristics of her personality viz.her wisdom, her virgin nature, and her military prowess.
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Pallas is one among the most common epithets of Athena, and in the Homeric verses, she has been principally referred to as Pallas Athena. The exact origin and that means of the epithet are still obscure. Nonetheless, the most accepted interpretation of the phrase ‘Pallas’ is ‘girl’ or ‘maiden’. Thus, Athena could also be referred to as ‘Girl Athena’ or ‘Maiden Athena’, epithets which further affirm her virgin standing. Some sources additionally suggest that the time period ‘Pallas’ may have been derived from ‘pallien’, an archaic term for ‘brandish’, as Athena was recognized for brandishing her spear.
We all know from the sources that when Athena was a baby, she had a companion by the name ‘Pallas’, who was additionally the daughter of Palaemon. In the future, Athena killed Pallas by accident while enjoying, and was subsequently struck by grief. She later took Pallas’ title as a way to honor her childhood buddy. Apollodorus, an historical Greek historian, recounts an identical occasion wherein younger Athena and her good friend Pallas, daughter of Triton in this case, are practising war workouts. Nevertheless, the battle gets nasty, and when Pallas is nearly to strike Athena together with her weapon, Zeus intervenes and strikes Pallas along with his aegis. This stuns Pallas and distracts her attention. Taking an immediate word of this, Athena makes a remaining fatal attack on her, and later feels responsible about her demise. Owing to this, Athena takes on her buddy’s name, and thereafter calls herself Pallas Athena.
There is yet another delusion telling us how Athena got here to be often called Pallas Athena. In response to it, there was a giant named ‘Pallas’, who was killed by Athena during Gigantomachy, the war between gods and giants. She then, flayed him, and made a shield out of his skin. This was why, she obtained the title of ‘Pallas’.
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Credit: Nordisk familjebok/via Wikimedia Commons(PD)
* The picture reveals the illustration of Athena Parthenos, because it appears in the first, 2nd, and 3rd editions of the Nordisk Familjebok (Nordic Family E-book), a Swedish encyclopedia published between 1876 and 1957.
Athena is the only virgin goddess in your entire Greek pantheon. Sources state that she never had a companion, a lover or a consort and hence, was given the title Athena Parthenos or Virgin Athena. Parthenon, her well-known shrine on the Athenian Acropolis, gets its identify from this title of the goddess. There are several Greek myths surrounding Athena, and the importance she attested to virginity and chastity of a lady.
• Hephaestus, the Greek god of blacksmiths, hearth, and volcanoes, obtained attracted to Athena’s magnificence and attempted to rape her. Although Athena managed to flee his attempt, his semen fell on earth, and thus was born Erichthonius from Gaia, the Earth goddess. Nevertheless, later on, Athena raised the little one as her foster son. In the later instances, when Erichthonius became the king of Athens, Athena is said to have protected him quite a few times throughout battles.
• One other later myth belonging to fifth century B.C.entails Poseidon and Medusa. Within the 5th century B.C.Medusa was perceived as a beautiful maiden, who was additionally the priestess of one of many temples of Athena. When Poseidon noticed her, he was instantly drawn to her, and decided to rape her within the premises of the temple. Upon seeing such a heinous act happening in her shrine, Athena reworked Medusa right into a fierce-looking gorgon, and likewise assured that whoever appeared into Medusa’s eyes, instantly turned to stone.
• Yet another fantasy tells us the story of Tiresias, the prophet of Thebes, who turned blind. At some point, while roaming round, Tiresias by chance stumbled upon Athena, and saw her in the act of bathing. When Athena realized that she was being watched, she took away Tiresias’ eyesight, and advised him that he would never once more see what he was not imagined to see. However, since she knew that he was a very discovered prophet, and the world could benefit from his information, she gifted him with the power to interpret the language of birds, which might help him further in making prophecies.
Thus, what grabs consideration will not be merely her virgin status, however the pivotal position that Athena performed in laying and imposing the foundations regarding sexual modesty. These turned the very base of the standardized patriarchal approach adopted by the ancient Greek society.
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Athena and Athens
Credit score: Nazzano Painter (artist) (Marie-Lan Nguyen (2007)/through Wikimedia Commons (PD)
* The picture shows Athena and Poseidon standing face-to-face for the competition.
Athena is considered because the guardian goddess of the town of Athens. Whether or not the town received its title from the goddess, or the goddess from town, is a debatable challenge. But, we all know for sure about the management that the goddess had over town, and its individuals. She was each, the patron, and the protector of the city, and she stored a eager eye on it from her abode on the Athenian Acropolis.
Athena nonetheless, did not develop into the patroness of Athens all of a sudden. She needed to battle (not within the literal sense) in order to attain the position. She needed to win a competition towards Poseidon, who was additionally within the race to become the patron of Athens. As a result of both of them were fascinated with claiming Athens for themselves, it was determined that both of them would gift the Athenians, things that they thought the people wanted most. The judges of the contest have been the local Athenians, who have been to resolve which of the 2 endowments was the very best for their metropolis.
Poseidon thrust his trident into the ground and a spring gushed forth. Although the spring created a port in the town which enhanced the prospects of long-distance maritime trade, its water was salty, and not appropriate for drinking. Athena, alternatively, endowed town with an olive tree. As this tree may provide food, wood, and oil to town, it was considered a superior gift than the salt water spring. Athena was thus, declared the winner of the contest, and was officially proclaimed as the patroness of Athens as well as Attica. Poseidon, not very happy by the consequence, decided to stay calm as a result of Zeus, the king of the Olympians, had forbidden both of them from any personal battle. Following the victory of the goddess in the contest, the Athenians built her temple on the Acropolis, which contained her standing figure in the center.
Apart from Athens, Athena can be the patroness of another Greek cities corresponding to Sparta and Tegea, which had been essential sites with regards to her cult. For example, at Tegea, the goddess was revered under the archaic cult name, Athena Alea. Initially, Alea was an impartial deity, however was later on equated to, and eventually assimilated inside the cult of Athena.
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The Goddess of Conflict
As mentioned earlier than, Athena is considered because the goddess of just and honest warfare, and the defender of heroes. It is sort of obvious that as a result of she is essentially related to war, she will likely be interested in the various instruments of war as properly. But, essentially the most fascinating sides of her affiliation with warfare are a few of the innovations which can be considered to be made by the goddess. Two of them are notably important. Athena is claimed to be the inventor of the conflict chariot and the artwork of taming horses.
A few of the myths tell us how she helped even the mortals to learn the techniques of warfare. For instance, according to an ancient fable, Bellerophon, one of the legendary Greek mortal heroes, credited to have slain many giants and monsters, was trying in vain to tame the divine winged horse Pegasus. One night time, while he was sleeping within the shrine of Athena, the goddess appeared in his dream and gave him a celestial bridle, which she asked him to make use of for taming the horse. When he woke up within the morning, he truly found the bridle lying next to him, with which, he may easily tame the immortal beast.
* The picture depicts the horse gifted to the Trojans by Athena, containing fully armed Greek soldiers.
Apart from chariots and horses, warships also appeared to curiosity Athena. The goddess is said to have supervised the construction of a legendary warship named Argo. The Argo can be considered to be a precursor of the fifty-oared warships used throughout historical times. Added to this, sources also claim that she was top-of-the-line battle strategists of her time. The idea of sending a wooden horse as a reward to the town of Troy, was given to the Greeks by the goddess herself. She knew that the Trojans would never refuse a gift from her. The innocent Trojans opened their city gates with no faintest concept of what the Greeks had planned for them. As quickly as the horse entered the town, the Greek soldiers, totally armed, got here out of it and attacked Troy, thus initiating the well-known Trojan conflict.
It is very attention-grabbing to notice that despite being regarded because the goddess of warfare, Athena never actually went out on a battlefield to battle, except at some uncommon events. On the contrary, she was the one who led the military from behind the scenes, in that she planned and laid out battle strategies, gave helpful counseling to the generals, and so on.
Credit: Python (potter) and Douris (painter) (User:Bibi Saint-Pol, own work)/by way of Wikimedia Commons (PD)
* The image exhibits Athena counseling Heracles.
• She is alleged to have helped Heracles thrice, during his three different labors. Slaying of the Nemean lion was the first of the twelve labors of Heracles, set for him by king Eurystheus of Tiryns. Athena instructed Heracles, the solution to kill the monster, and to flay it with its personal claws. Next, she aided Heracles throughout his sixth labor to defeat the man-eating Stymphalian birds. Classical texts also inform us that Heracles was also helped by Athena throughout his twelfth labor, in which he needed to defeat and seize Cerberus, the three-headed dog, and the protector of the gates to the underworld. In his quest for Cerberus, Athena helped Heracles navigate through the Styx, the river that flows between the earth and the underworld.
• When Perseus, the legendary Greek hero, was out to kill Medusa, the only mortal gorgon on the earth, Athena was the one to ask him to seek for the whereabouts of the Hesperides, the guardian nymphs of the orchard of Hera. The Hesperides had all the weapons that could kill Medusa.
• Athena additionally helped Odysseus, the hero of Homer’s Odyssey and the mythical ruler of the Greek kingdom of Ithaca, on his homeward journey from Troy. She additionally helped him win back his misplaced kingdom, after he returned home.
Amidst her associations with war and knowledge, lies Athena’s reference to music. She was inspired by the lamentations of Medusa’s siblings, which they sung after their sister’s death. The goddess then, invented a flute known as Aulos, which came to be regarded because the image of hope.
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Patroness of Arts and Crafts
Athena can also be regarded as the patroness of handicrafts, especially when she just isn’t in her amazonian moods. Although she is the deity presiding over arts and crafts practiced by both genders, her specific accomplishments lie within the more family and feminine crafts of spinning and weaving. We find references to the weaving skills of Athena in Homer’s literature, where he mentions about the robes with intricate weaving made by Athena for herself, and for Hera.
As a result of she is taken into account as a deity presiding over feminine arts and crafts, she is worshiped extensively by women, especially housewives. Even in a number of the inventive depictions, she has been proven holding a spindle in considered one of her palms. Nonetheless, such depictions are extremely rare as in comparison with the ones during which she has been portrayed as a warrior. Additionally, throughout Panathenaea, a religious festival that was held in Athens in honor of their patroness, an intricately embellished robe, the peplos, weaved by the Athenian women can be presented to the goddess. Her statue on the Athenian Acropolis could be clothed with the peplos, and only then the festival would conclude.
With respect to this angle of Athena’s personality, one of the later myths seems to be of specific significance. It tells us about Arachne, the daughter of a famous dyer of Lydia, who studied the art of weaving from Athena. Arachne became so happy with her weaving skills that she started to claim that she was higher than Athena within the art. When Athena got here to learn about this, she disguised herself as an previous girl, and went to Arachne to warn her, to not offend the gods. But, Arachne arrogantly challenged her for a contest, as a way to showcase her weaving skills. Athena weaved the story of her contest with Poseidon. Then again, Arachne weaved a tapestry depicting the various scandalous love affairs of varied gods. In response to the narration of the historic Greek historian Ovid in Metamorphoses, although the tapestry was extraordinary and flawless, the subject that Arachne selected outraged the goddess, and as a punishment for the horrible sin she had committed, Athena remodeled Arachne into a spider. Athena also destroyed Arachne’s tapestry and loom.
Aside from the arts of weaving and spinning, Athena also excelled in the art of cooking, and selected to teach it to the Athenian housewives. She can be credited as being the inventor of a rake, an ox yoke, and a plow, which shows her shut reference to agricultural activities as properly.
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Very like the other gods and goddesses, Athena can be known by varied epithets that describe her qualities and traits.
• Homer’s Iliad describes Athena as Glaukopis which means ‘bright-eyed’ or ‘owl-eyed’, an epithet that explains her sharp and clear imaginative and prescient.
• She was worshiped as Aethyta in Attica. Aethyta comes from the foundation aithyia, which pertains to a ship or a diver. So, this epithet relates to her shipbuilding and navigation expertise.
• Tritogeneia was an epithet given to Athena by Homer, and Hesiod, a classical poet. It might relate to her association with Triton. On this context, she can also be referred to as Tritonia.
• Greek historian Plutarch gave Athena, the epithet of Hygieia, meaning ‘the healer’.
In addition to these epithets, she additionally had quite a few cult titles corresponding to Athena Hippeia, Athena Alea, and of course the 2 talked about above viz.Athena Parthenos and Pallas Athena.
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Cult and Worship
The historic or what may be called the unique cult of Athena, centered round Athens and the Acropolis, the place Parthenon is positioned. It was in the Parthenon that the precise cult picture of the goddess was put in. It was a wood statue plated with gold and ivory. Interestingly, it was clothed with the true peplos, woven by the Athenian ladies. This also signifies that the goddess received a brand new peplos after every four years, when the Panathenaea was held.
Another essential festival that involved the goddess was Arrephoria. Throughout one of the ceremonies on this festival, two aristocratic maidens dressed in white garments, descended from Parthenon into a secret sanctuary of goddess Aphrodite, and her son Eros, situated underneath the bottom. The maidens carried with them, “unspoken gadgets”, which they were presupposed to deposit within the sanctuary. The ritual in all probability symbolized a synthesis of two fully opposite forces.
Related rituals were additionally practiced in honor of the goddess in Sparta, Argos, Troezen, and Epidaurus. This was due to the fact that apart from being the patroness of Athens, she was also a generic deity, who could be invoked by anyone and everyone. So, usually, she was invoked during occasions akin to civic elections, or when the states were at battle.
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Iconography and Depictions in Art
* The picture shows a totally armed statue of Pallas Athena, exterior the Austrian Parliament in Vienna.
Sculptural representations of Athena, and her Roman avatar, Minerva, are quite a few. In most situations, she is depicted as a girl decked up in wargear, ready to go to the battlefield.
• She covers her head with a helmet that is raised excessive on the forehead. It bears a picture of Nike (the goddess of victory) on it.
• She wears a full-length chiton, a sewn garment that is typically coated by a warrior’s armor.
• Her shield, and the aegis that was given to her by Zeus, were historically carved with the face of Medusa, reminding us of the myth of Perseus and the gorgon, during which she was involved.
• All her statues, except some, have a spear or a workers in the correct hand, and the left hand either holds an owl or a shield or in extraordinarily rare instances, a spindle.
• The owl, in some circumstances, perches on one of her shoulders or sits close to her feet. Generally, a snake is also depicted near her toes.
• Numerous numismatic evidences painting Athena in a seated posture, holding a spear in her left hand, and a shield in the fitting. Right here too, she is dressed as a warrior.
• One of many rarest sculptural depictions is a relief called Mourning Athena. It portrays a tired and a weary Athena, with bowed head rested on her workers.
• Paintings on classical pottery depict the goddess in action, performing some or the opposite of her numerous feats, or counseling some or the other mortal.
The classical artists appeared to put a whole lot of weightage on the facial features of the goddess. Apart from a powerful and a robust built, the goddess was also depicted with facial options that had masculine traits. Her round face, excessive nose, and deeply set eyes, alongside her unsmiling lips, long neck, and a slender mouth, make her seem critical, attentive, calm, and aggressive, all at the identical time.
Although she was an immortal divinity and the goddess of wisdom, Athena couldn’t escape the widespread feminine instincts of envy and jealousy. Within the episode, aptly named as the Judgment of Paris, when Paris, a Trojan prince declared that Aphrodite was the fairest of all goddesses, Athena and Hera have been overcome by jealousy, and so they encouraged Prince Paris to abduct Helen of Troy. This abduction was the basis trigger of the famous Trojan conflict that induced large-scale destruction to life and property.
Athena is one goddess within the Greek pantheon, of whom only a few, if any, disgraceful tales exist. Her character seemed to have made an ‘androgynous compromise’, in that she bore both masculine and feminine attributions. In other phrases, all the things that she represented could be associated with both, women and men. Being the one virgin goddess in the Greek pantheon, who gave individuals a ethical and a just method of life, Athena is doubtlessly one in every of the most important divinities of the ancient Greek religion.