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Athena – the Role of the Greek Goddess of Wisdom
Posted In: Ancient Civilizations  7/25/12
By: Yona Williams

The tale of Athena (the Greek goddess of wisdom) begins in a most unusual manner and involves her father Zeus, the leader of the Olympian gods and goddesses. In this article, you will learn how Athena made her grand entrance into the world, and more about one of the most well known of ancient Greek deities.

Before Zeus was married to Hera, Metis was his first wife. However, when he learned that she was pregnant – he grew fearful that she was carrying a son that had been prophesized to take over his throne. In an attempt to change fate, he swallowed Metis, but this would not be the last time he would be affected by the woman. A great pain overcame Zeus' head that caused great suffering. When he could no longer take the pain, he let one of the other gods split open his head, and out came a fully-grown daughter. This beauty was born in full golden battle armor and Zeus quickly grew attached to his child.

Since Athena had no mother, she quickly became the most favorite child of Zeus. For example, she became the only one of his offspring that he trusted with his magic shield. He even told her where his lightning bolts were stored. The goddess was quite loyal to her father and fiercely protected him. She was an unwavering ally that supported her father's interests. Often times, it was Athena that Zeus would turn to when he needed help making a decision.

Athena's Role

The Greek goddess is often portrayed as one of the most merciful and benevolent goddesses of the ancient Greeks. However, she is still strong and fair in her actions. In ancient Greek myths, Athena became known as one of the three virgin goddesses. She gained the reputation as being a virgin because she was highly independent and did not fall victim to the spells of Aphrodite (the goddess of love). Athena did not care much for falling in love, romancing a beau, or getting married. If Athena were a woman of today, she would be the independent woman married to her career. Some of the roles that Athena held as a primary goddess included judge, diplomat, and mediator. When she delivered a decision, the people often called her fair and compassionate.

In art and other visual representations of the goddess, Athena is depicted as holding a spear and is dressed in a helmet made out of gold. Her wardrobe indicates that she is also a goddess of war, a title that she is sometimes referred to in myths.

Athena was often called upon as a mediator to settle disputes between the gods and mortals. Full of logic and intellect, the goddess made decisions that were well thought out, ethical, and not motivated by making decisions that interested her most. The decisions reflected the goddesses' wisdom and compassion.


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