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Athena

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Jillian Do

on 2 December 2013

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Transcript of Athena

Athena
Athena
Athena is the Greek virgin goddess of reason, intelligent activity, arts and literature. Athena is the daughter of Zeus. She sprang full grown in armor from his forehead, also has no mother. She is fierce and brave in battle but, only wars to defend the state and home from outside enemies. She is the goddess of the city, handicrafts, and agriculture. She invented the bridle, which permitted man to tame horses, the trumpet, the flute, the pot, the rake, the plow, the yoke, the ship, and the chariot. She is the embodiment of wisdom, reason, and purity. She was Zeus's favorite child and was allowed to use his weapons including his thunderbolt. Her favorite city is Athens. Her tree is the olive. The owl is her bird.
Zeus was once married to Metis, a daughter of Ocean who was renowned for her wisdom. When Metis became pregnant, Zeus was warned by Earth that if a son born to Metis, that he would overthrow him, just as he had usurped his own father's throne. So he swallowed her mother to prevent a male birth, he then developed the mother of all headaches. He howled so loudly it could be heard throughout the earth. The other gods came to see what the problem was. Hermes realized what needed to be done and directed Hephaestus to take a wedge and split open Zeus's skull. Out of the skull sprang Athena, full grown and in a full set of armor. Due to her manor of birth she has dominion over all things of the intellect.
To become goddess of the Athens, Athena had to win a contest against Poseidon. The clever Athenians asked each god to devise a gift for the city. With his trident, Poseidon struck the Acropolis, the hill in the middle of the city, and a saltwater spring began to flow. Athena then touched the Acropolis with her spear, and an olive tree sprang forth. The people decided that the goddess's gift was the more valuable and chose her as their goddess. To avoid angering Poseidon, they promised to worship him too. On that hill, rising 500 feet above the city, they built the statue of her put of gold and ivory. But in order to protect it they built the Parthenon.
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Greek goddess of Wisdom

The goddess was active in the lives of many warriors, kings, and heroes. She gave Bellerophon the magic bridle that enabled him to ride Pegasus, the winged horse. She showed the shipbuilder Argus how to build a magic ship for Jason and then protected the boat on its travels. She helped Perseus kill the monster Medusa. She supported Hercules through the 12 labors. Athena also played a role in the Trojan War. She was one of the three goddesses who took part in a beauty contest that led to the war. During the conflict, she fought on the side of the Greeks, inspired Odysseus with the idea of the wooden horse, and afterward helped him return home.
This Roman statue of Athena as goddess of warfare offers another view of the goddess, usually identified with wisdom and crafts. Although she championed military skill and courage, Athena frowned on violence and bloodshed.
The Parthenon
The Icon of Crafts, Civilization, and Wisdom
As goddess of handicrafts, Athena created many useful items, such as the potter's wheel, vase, horse bridle, chariot, and ship. She was the icon of architects and sculptors and the inventor of numbers and mathematics, which of course influenced many aspects of civilization. Athena took a special interest in agricultural work, giving farmers the rake, plow, and yoke and teaching them how to use oxen to cultivate their fields. In addition, she helped women by inventing spinning and weaving. Athena even tried her hand at musical instruments. She created the flute to imitate the wailing of the Gorgons when Medusa was killed. However, when the goddess saw her reflection playing this new instrument with her cheeks puffed out, she was disgusted with her appearance. She threw the flute away and put a curse on the first person to pick it up. Marsyus the satyr did so and suffered the consequences when he dared challenge Apollo to a musical contest. Some sources say that Athena threw away the flute because the other gods laughed at her for looking so ridiculous. Nonetheless, in her wisdom, Athena was generally a kindly goddess. She promoted good government, looking after the welfare of kings who asked for her guidance and advising government officials. Athena was a goddess of justice tempered by mercy. Her work led Athens to adopt trial by jury. Like the other gods, however, Athena did not tolerate lack of respect. She turned Arachne into a spider after Arachne bragged that she could spin more skillfully than Athena. She also blinded Tiresias when he happened upon a stream where she was bathing and saw her nude. Because his fault was accidental, she softened his punishment by giving him the gift of prophecy.
Festivals, Art, and Literature
Several festivals, some tied to the growing season, were held in honor of Athena. Processions of priests, priestesses, and other members of society—particularly young girls—often formed part of the celebration. The goddess's most important festival was the Panathenaea. Started as a harvest festival, this annual event gradually changed into a celebration of Athena. A great parade of people from the city and surrounding areas brought the goddess gifts and sacrifices. Athletic competitions, poetry readings, and musical contests rounded out the festival. The Panathenaea came to rival the Olympic Games. In works of art, Athena is usually portrayed as a warrior. She wears a helmet and breastplate and carries a spear and a shield adorned with the head of Medusa. An owl generally sits on her shoulder or hand or hovers nearby. The Romans frequently depicted the goddess wearing a coat of armor. Gorgon one of three ugly monsters who had snakes for hair, staring eyes, and huge wings, satyr woodland deity that was part man and part goat or horse prophecy foretelling of what is to come; also something that is predicted Athena inspired numerous paintings and statues. The great Athenian sculptor Phidias produced several works, including a 30-foot bronze piece and an ivory and gold statue that was housed in the Parthenon. The statue of Athena kept in the Roman temple of the goddess Vesta was said to be the Palladium of Troy, taken by the Trojan prince Aeneas when he fled the burning city. Athena and her stories appear in many literary works as well. In Greek literature, she is a prominent character in the Iliad and the Odyssey, and her influence is felt throughout the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. In the works of Roman writers Virgil and Ovid, the goddess also plays a leading role.
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