Ancient Greek Gods and Goddesses for Kids - Athena
The myths and legends surrounding Athena, the Greek goddess of Wisdom
Athena for kids
Discover the legends and myths and religious beliefs surrounding Athena, the goddess of Wisdom. Athena was the Greek goddess of Wisdom. Her story starts when Zeus had a headache from which he could get no relief; so he sent for Hephaestus and said to him, "Split open my head with your axe." As soon as Hephaestus had done this, a maiden goddess, clothed in armor, sprang from the head of Zeus. The maiden was Athena, the goddess of wisdom. Additional intriguing facts and information about the mythology and legends of individual gods and goddesses of these ancient civilizations can be accessed via the following links:
Who was Athena?
The goddess Athena features in the stories, myths and legends in Greek Mythology relating to the Odyssey, the Iliad, Bellerophon, Perseus and Medusa, Argus, Cadmus and the Dragon's Teeth. Athena was also the goddess of spinning and weaving; and she herself could weave the most beautiful cloths of many colors.
Perseus and Athena
Athena and Athens
Athens was her chosen seat and her own city. Athens was awarded to her during the reign of Cecrops, the first king of Athens, as the prize of a contest with Poseidon, who also aspired to it. The goddess Athena was involved in a contest with Poseidon, the god of the sea. Athena planted an olive tree in Athens which was seen as a highly prized gift. Her paramount importance to the Athenians is seen in her wonderful temple, the Parthenon, which still crowns the Acropolis in the modern city of Athens.
Athena (Roman Counterpart was Minerva)
When the Roman Empire conquered the Greeks in 146BC, the Romans assimilated various elements from other cultures and civilisations, including the gods and goddesses that were worshipped by the Ancient Greeks. Many of the Greek gods and goddesses, such as Athena, were therefore adopted by the Romans but were given Latin names. The Roman counterpart of Athena was Minerva.
Facts about Athena
The following facts and profile provides a fast overview of Athena:
Athena Profile & Fact File
|Personality: ||Brave, practical, fearless|
Picture of Athena
|Appearance:||Tall, slim wore armor and carried weapons|
|Role & Function:||The function of Athena is described as being the goddess of wisdom, defense, strategic warfare and handicrafts |
|Status:||A Major goddess and one of the Twelve Olympians|
|Symbols:||Owl and the olive tree|
|Alternative Names:||Pallas Athena and Athene|
|Roman Counterpart:||The Roman name for this goddess was Minerva |
|Name of Husband:||Unmarried, no children|
|Name of Father:||Zeus|
|Name of Mother:||Metis|
The Family of Athena
According to Greek legends and myths the family of Athena were somewhat contradictory. Her parents are described as any of the following:
- Zeus alone was most commonly named as her parent however alternative myths give Zeus and Metis as her father and mother
Athena and Mount Olympus
In Greek Mythology the principle Greek gods, that included Athena, were referred to as the Twelve Olympians and lived on the summit of Mount Olympus which was protected by a special layer of clouds. The gods and goddesses who lived on Mount Olympus attended sumptuous banquets in the council-chamber of the gods and feasted on ambrosia (the food of the gods) and nectar (the drink of the gods). The names of the twelve Olympian gods were Zeus, Hera, Hestia or Dionysus, Apollo, Ares, Aphrodite, Poseidon, Demeter, Artemis, Hephaestus and Hermes.
The Greek Gods Family Tree and Genealogy
The genealogy of these ancient deities can be established via the Greek gods family tree which also provides an overview of the relationship of Athena to the other Greek gods and deities. The Greek gods family tree and genealogy provides an overview of her relationship to the other Greek gods and deities.
The Symbols of Athena - the Significance of the Owl
Athena honored the owl by making him her favourite among feathered creatures, impressed by its great eyes and solemn appearance. Athena's bird was a Little Owl, (Athene noctua) which protected and inhabited the Acropolis of Athens in great numbers. As the symbol of the goddess, the Owl was seen as a protector and symbols of the owl accompanied Greek armies to war and providing determination and inspiration. If an Owl flew over Greek Soldiers before a battle it was seen as a sign of victory.
The Symbols of Athena
In the sculptures, vases, mosaics and paintings of Greek Art the goddess Athena was often illustrated with images representing her symbols the owl, her chariot, weapons and armor, the serpent or snake and the olive tree. She invented the plow, bridle, rake, ox yoke, chariot, and flute. The snake is the symbol of the creative power of wisdom. The aegis, a shield depicting the head of Medusa, represents its protective power. The helmet and spear relate to the fact that wisdom and strategy is the key to victory in war.
The symbols of Athena were:
- The Owl
- The symbol of the owl is closely associated with wisdom and victory
- The Olive Tree
- The symbol of the olive tree relates to the gift she offered to Cecrops, the first king of Athens
- The Serpent or Snake
- The snake or serpent is often depicted at the feet of the goddess as a symbol of the creative power of wisdom
- The Symbols of weapons and armor - Helmet and Spear
- The weapons reflect the strategic approach of the goddess and her preparation for war - a symbol of victory
- The Aegis
- The Aegis was a small shield bearing and engraving of the head of Medusa
- The Chariot
- The goddess was credited with inventing the chariot
- Interesting information and Facts about the Greek goddess Athena
- Athena, the Greek goddess of Wisdom
- Stories and Legends in Greek Mythology associated with Athena
- Facts and information about the Gods and Deities of the Ancient World for schools and kids
- Athena, the Greek goddess of Wisdom
Myths and Legends about Athena in Greek Mythology
The most famous myths and legends relating to Athena are:
- The Myth relating to the 'Apple of Discord' that started the chain of events that led to the Trojan War
- The story of the boastful Arachne, who was turned into a spider
- The myth of the myth of Cadmus and the dragon's teeth
- THer conflicts with Ares, the god of war
Arachne turned into a spider
Athena - Greek Gods & Greek Mythology for Kids
Athena, the Greek goddess of Wisdom, was one of the extraordinary number of gods and goddesses worshipped by the Ancient Greeks. The legend and myth about Athena has been passed down through the ages and plays an important role the history of the Ancient World and the study of the Greek classics. Athena features in the religious beliefs of the ancient Greeks which are based on the idea that these supernatural beings resembled mortals but possessed great magical and mystic powers.
- The Greek gods and goddesses were immortal but not invulnerable.
- The Greek Gods including Athena lived on the summit of the mythical Mount Olympus
- Athena looked and dressed like a mortal, ate and slept and was able to marry and have children
- The Greek gods and goddesses were more beautiful, taller and stronger than mere mortals
Greek gods and goddesses, such as Athena, possessed supernatural powers and presided over specific dominions and were strongly associated with areas of power. Athena is known as the Greek goddess of Wisdom.
Picture of Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom defeating Ares, the god of war