How Athena looked


Athena’s fate has been unusual since birth. Her father, the supreme lord of Olympus Zeus, was predicted that he would be destroyed by a son born of the first wife of the thunderclapper goddess of wisdom Methida. To prevent the fulfilment of prophecy, Zeus swallowed his consort and relented.


Soon, however, the king of the gods began terrible headaches. Unable to endure the torment, Zeus called upon the blacksmith god Hephaestus and asked him to destroy his head. This first ever trepanation of the skull ended very unexpectedly: from the head of the thunderstorm came out in full battle vestment of a beautiful maiden — Athena.


Athena became not only the goddess of wisdom, but also the goddess of just war, the patroness of those who defended their cities against enemies. She was always pictured wearing a combat helmet and carrying a spear. One of the essential attributes of Athena’s vestment was a magical shield — an aegida made of goat skins. On the shield was attached the head of Medusa Gorgona, whose gaze made everything alive fossilize. This look retained its terrible power after death as well.


With Athena’s spear is also related legend. One day Poseidon, the ocean god, and Athena disputed who would possess the fertile beautiful terrain in Hellada—Attica. The Olympians resolved their dispute by promising Attica whoever would bring the most valuable gift to this land. Poseidon hit a trident into a rock, and a source scored from it. But the water in it proved salty and undrinkable. In her turn, Athena poked a spear into the ground, and it turned into an olive. Attica went to the goddess of wisdom, and since then she was often depicted with an olive branch in her hand.


The goddess was the patroness of not only military arts but also crafts, so she often held a rope or bowl. Athena was always depicted with an owl sitting on his shoulder — the personification of wisdom. Poets, describing the goddess, called her “sowooka” – the huge shining eyes of this bird became a symbol of beauty. The edge of Athena’s clothing adorned the image of entwined snakes.

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