Athena was the Greek goddess of wisdom, war, the arts, industry, justice and skill
The Birth of Athena Zeus had swallowed his consort Metis (whose name means “wisdom”) after he had made her pregnant with Athena; he was afraid that Metis would bear a son who would overthrow him
Zeus developed a terrible headache, and, with the help of Hephaestus, split his head open with an ax to facilitate the birth of Athena – she was born full grown, armor-clad, and brandishing a spear
This established the close bond between Zeus and his favorite daughter. It also shows Athena’s three basic characteristics: her prowess, her wisdom, and the masculinity of her virgin nature since she sprung not from a woman, but from a man
The Parthenon The Parthenon was the great temple to Athena Parthenos (parthenos, meaning “virgin”) at Athens. It depicted her birth, her triumph over Poseidon in the contest for Athens, and in the cella stood a monumental statue, the Athena Parthenos.
Athena has many titles, including: Tritogeneia (which may refer to a region associated with her birth) Pallas Athena (which refers to a friend of Athena’s; she took the name for herself) Athena Parthenos (Virgin) Pallas Athena, by Gustav Klimt (1862-1918)
Minerva and Arachne Arachne refused to acknowledge that her knowledge came from the goddess. The offended goddess set a contest between the two weavers. Arachne was a great mortal weaver who boasted that her skill was greater than that of Minerva.
According to Ovid, the goddess was so envious of the magnificent tapestry and the mortal weaver's success, that she destroyed the tapestry and loom and slashed the girl's face. Ultimately, the goddess turned Arachne into a spider.
She is one of the Three Virgin Goddesses, which includes Artemis, Athena, and Hestia
The Roman goddess Minerva was the virgin goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, magic, and the inventor of music. She is often depicted with her sacred creature, an owl, which symbolizes her ties to wisdom.
As patron goddess of wisdom, Minerva frequently features in statuary, as an image on seals, and in other forms, at educational establishments, including:
Statue of Minerva on the Alte Brücke in Heidelberg In Rome, Minerva was also worshipped as part of the Roman Capitoline Triad of Jupiter- Juno-Minerva.
Other Myths Medusa and Poseidon had an affair together, and they desecrated the temple of Athena. Upon discovering the desecration of her temple, Athena changed Medusa's form to match that of her sister Gorgons as punishment. Medusa's hair turned into snakes, her lower body was transformed also, and meeting her gaze would turn any living man to stone.
Other Myths Later myths show Athena as a guide to heroes: She guided Perseus in his quest to behead Medusa. She instructed Heracles to skin the Nemean Lion by using its own claws to cut through its thick hide. She also helped Heracles to defeat the Stymphalian Birds, and to navigate the underworld so as to capture Cerberus. Athena and Heracles, Red-figure pottery
In The Odyssey, Odysseus' cunning and shrewd nature quickly won Athena's favor. In the realistic epic mode, however, she largely is confined to aiding him only from afar, as by implanting thoughts in his head during his journey home from Troy.
Her guiding actions reinforce her role as the “protectress of heroes”. It is not until much later in the story that Athena arrives personally to provide more tangible assistance.