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Greek Goddess Athena in Greek Myths
Posted In: Ancient Civilizations  7/26/12
By: Yona Williams

When Athena appears in ancient Greek myths, she is often seen as an excellent strategist who enjoys influencing the outcomes of great battles or helping someone that is faced with an impossible task. In this article, you will learn about some of the myths that the goddess is featured in, such as the assistance she gives to heroes, such as Odysseus.

Athena is known to assist various gods, goddesses and heroes as they face obstacles in their lifetime. Athena preferred to prevent war, but if a battle was inevitable, she made sure that she fought hard for her side to win.

For example, Athena was not in favor of the infamous Trojan War and came down from Olympus to intervene. She walked between the two armies and made both sides swear oaths to keep the peace. Unfortunately, she did not foresee the actions of a Trojan soldier named Pandaros who violated his oath, and let loose an arrow that marked the start of the Trojan War. Upset with this move, she chose to help the other side claim victory. In fact, the Trojan Horse was one of Athena's tactical ideas.

Other myth scenarios that show Athena include:

Athena gave Odysseus advice and protection as he engaged in numerous adventures that were depicted in Homer's the Iliad and other tales. In order to help, the goddess had a reputation for transforming into different shapes – taking on the appearance of a man, other women, and even children. This is one of the tactics she used to help Odysseus. It was because of her protection, that the hero was able to safely return home to his family.

One myth introduces a childhood friend of Athena. A girl named Pallas was a tomboy at heart who became an inseparable companion of the goddess. The two girls spent a lot of time with one another – practicing their fighting skills and participating in playful adventures. During one of their practice sessions, Athena accidentally wounded Pallas, who eventually died from her injury. Athena was deeply hurt by the loss of her friend. To pay homage to the girl, Athena took Pallas' name and added it to hers. This is why some accounts refer to the goddess as Pallas Athena.

One myth describes the pity that Athena took on a mortal who accidentally walked in when the goddess was taking a bath. Teiresias was a man facing the punishment of death for such an offense. Fearing the worst, he immediately covered his eyes with her hands, which led to him becoming blind. However, the man was left with 'inner sight' – best known as the gift of prophecy. In the end, Teriesias would become one of the most well known of oracles in ancient Greece.


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