Women's Goddess Retreat
September 10 - 12, 2010

 
 

Athena

Athena

The Lessons of Mentoring Wisdom and Friendship

Athena (Latin: Minerva), also referred to as Pallas Athena, is the goddess of civilization, wisdom, strength, strategy, craft, justice and skill in Greek mythology. Athena is also a shrewd companion of heroes and the goddess of heroic endeavour. She is the virgin patron of Athens. The Athenians built the Parthenon on the Acropolis of her namesake city, Athens, in her honour (Athena Parthenos).

Athena's cult as the patron of Athens seems to have existed from the earliest times and was so persistent that archaic myths about her were recast to adapt to cultural changes. The Greek philosopher, Plato (429–347 BC), identified her with the Libya deity, Neith, the war-goddess and huntress deity of the Egyptians since the ancient predynastic period, also identified with weaving. This is sensible as some Greeks identified Athena's birthplace, in certain mythological renditions, as being beside Libya's Triton River. Classicist Martin Bernal created the "Black Athena Theory" to explain this associated origin by claiming that the conception of Neith was brought over to Greece from Egypt with "an enormous number of features of civilization and culture in the third and second millennia." Athena the goddess as philosophy became a part of the cult in the later fifth century and Classical Greece. She was the patroness of weaving, especially, and other crafts (Athena Ergane); the metalwork of weapons also fell under her patronage. She led battles (Athena Promachos or the warrior maiden Athena Parthenos) as the disciplined, strategic side of war, in contrast to her brother Ares, the patron of violence, bloodlust and slaughter-"the raw force of war". Athena's wisdom includes the cunning intelligence (metis) of such figures as Odysseus. Not only was this version of Athena the opposite of Ares in combat, it was also the polar opposite of the serene earth goddess version, Athena Polias., earning the title Athena Parthenos. A remnant of archaic myth depicts her as the adoptive mother of Erechtheus/Erichthonius by the foiled rape by Hephaestus. Other variants relate that the serpent who accompanied Athena, also called Erichthonius, was born to Gaia when the rape failed and the semen landed on Gaia, impregnating her, and that after the birth he was given to Athena by Gaia.

Though Athena was a goddess of war strategy, she disliked fighting without a purpose and preferred using wisdom to settle predicaments. The goddess would only encourage fighting if it was for a reasonable cause or to solve conflict.

In her role as a protector of the city, many people throughout the Greek world worshiped Athena as Athena Polias ("Athena of the city"). Athens and Athena bear etymologically connected names.

From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Links

Goddess Gallery: Athena

Thalia Took: Athene

Theoi.com: Athena

Wikipedia: Athena

 

   
   
 

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