The 12 Gods

Athena's Appearance: A young woman wearing a helmet and holding a shield.

Athena's Symbol or Attribute:The Owl, signifying watchfulness and wisdom; the aegis (small shield) showing the snaky head ofMedusa.

Athena's Strengths: Rational, intelligent, a powerful defender in war but also a potent peacemaker.

Athena's Weaknesses: Reason rules her; she is not usually emotional or compassionate but she does have her favorites, such as the beleaguered heroes Odysseusand Perseus.

Birthplace of Athena: From the forehead of her father Zeus.

Athena's Spouse: None. She was very fond of Odysseus and helped him whenever she could on his long journey home.

Athena's Children: None.

Some Major Temple Sites for Athena:The city of Athens, which is named after her. The Parthenon is her best-known, and best-preserved, temple.

Basic Story for Athena: Athena was born fully-armed from the forehead of her father Zeus - according to one story, this is because he swallowed her mother, Metis, while she was pregnant with Athena. Although Zeus's daughter, she could also oppose his plans and conspire against him.

Athena and her uncle, the sea god Poseidon, competed for the affections of the Greeks, each providing one gift to the nation. Poseidon provided either a wonderful horse or a salt-water spring, but Athena provided the olive tree, giving shade, oil, and olives. The Greeks preferred her gift and named the city after her.

Interesting Fact about Athena: One of her epithets (titles) is "Grey-eyed". Her gift to the Greeks was the useful olive tree. The underside of the olive tree's leaf is grey, and when the wind lifts the leaves, it shows Athena's many "eyes".

Alternate Names for Athena: In Roman mythology, the goddess closest to Athena is called Minerva. Athena's name is sometimes spelled Athina or Athene. Go on to Page Two: Fast Facts on the Parthenon

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