Greek God Athena
By : Hazel Haynes
Athena Symbol :
- Shown in full armour and helmet.
- Aegis - a goat skin cloak fringed with snakes.
- Associated with the owl
The birth of Athena :
Zeus was the father of Athena and her mother was Metis, which means wisdom. Zeus was told before Athena was born, that any child born to Metis would be more powerful than its father. Zeus was very worried by this and decided to swallow Metis before she could give birth to the child.
Some time later Zeus began to have terrible headaches. The pain grew so unbearable that Zeus asked Hephaistos to cut his head open to see what was wrong.
When Hephaistos opened his head, Athena emerged from Zeus' skull, fully grown and dressed for battle.
Objects that were dedicated to her :
Patron of the city :
Most Greek cities had a sanctuary or temple dedicated to Athena because she was the 'protectress of the city'.
She is particularly associated with the city of Athens. There is a myth that Athena's gift to the city was the olive tree. Sacred olive trees grew near Plato's Academy - they provided the oil for the prizes at the Panathenaic Games.
In the 5th century BC a great temple to Athena was built on the Athenian Acropolis. The name of the temple was temple Parthenon.
The Panathenaia was a huge festival held at Athens in Athena's honour. All sections of Athenian society were involved: men, women, citizens, slaves . Foreigners living in Athens. The festival consisted of sacrifices, competitions and a huge procession to present a new robe to the ancient statue of Athena on the Acropolis.