Athena by Alyana
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BIRTH OF ATHENA
ATHENA PAGE ONE
Athena remains one of the most fascinating and influential
deities of all the Olympian gods and goddesses. The great Athena
was the first to teach the science of numbers and all ancient
women's arts, such as cooking, weaving and spinning.
She was also the goddess of wisdom and war, but, unlike the god
of war Ares, she took no pleasure from battle, preferring
instead to settle conflict through mediation.
But that's not to say she wasn't one tough goddess! Her mercy
was great and if ever it came to her to cast a deciding vote in
a criminal trial, she usually chose to liberate the accused.
But don't mess with Athena! When Athena was moved to engage in
battle she never lost, even against Ares himself, for she was a
far superior strategist and tactician than he; generals and wise
captains always approach her for advice.
She bears no arms in times of peace and will usually borrow
weapons from Zeus when needed. She alone was permitted to use
his fearsome Aegis, and his devastating thunderbolts.
It's suggested in the Palasgian myths that Athena was born
beside Lake Tritonis in Lybia, and her father has been variously
identified as Poseidon, Itonus or Zeus, king of the Olympian
The most widely accepted version holds that Athena is Zeus’
daughter and his favorite child, and she is often described as
"gray-eyed" or "flashing-eyed."
In popular myth, and in accounts related by her own priests, she
is said to have no mother, because she sprang full grown and in
full armor from her father's head.
This is not entirely true however. Athena’s mother was Metis;
Zeus came to lust after her, and wasted no time in pursuing her
in his very direct way.
Metis wanted absolutely nothing to do with Zeus, because she
knew how wild the king of the Olympians was in his youth. She
tried to escape as best she could, going so far as to change her
form many times, turning into various creatures such as hawks,
fish, and serpents.
But Zeus was both determined and equally proficient at changing
form. Refusing to be denied he continued his pursuit until
exhausted, finally she relented.
An Oracle of Gaea (Mother Earth) then prophesied that Metis'
first child would be a girl, but her second child would be a boy
that would overthrow Zeus as had happened to his father (Cronus)
and his grandfather (Uranus).
Zeus took this warning to heart. When he next saw Metis the sly
god flattered her and put her at ease, then with Metis off guard
Zeus suddenly opened his mouth and swallowed her.
This was the end of Metis but, possibly the beginning of Zeus's
wisdom, for many claim that Zeus really had no brains until he
swallowed his first wife.
After a time Zeus developed the mother of all headaches. He
howled so loudly it could be heard throughout the heavens and on
The other gods came to see what the problem was. The clever
Olympian messenger god Hermes realized what needed to be done
and directed the smiths god, Hephaestus, to take an axe and
split open Zeus's skull.
Other sources claim that it was the Titan Prometheus who
rendered the blow, and mention the river Triton as the location
of the "birth", and that Hermes and/or a man named Palamaon
assisted Zeus with the "delivery".
Out of the skull sprang Athena, full grown and in a full set of
armor, shouting a war cry so ferocious that it froze the blood
of mortal men as it rang across the heavens and on earth.
The very ancient Greeks believed that men were solely
responsible for conception of a child, and the woman’s only role
was to carry it until it was born, that's why in the myth Metis
is not given any credit for Athena's birth.
But at least she smartened Zeus up a bit! Let's check out some
fantastic stories involving the great Athena...
ATHENA CONTINUES ON PAGE
LOTS MORE STORIES AND A TON OF PIX