Athena, the Godess of Wisdom

Essay by Jason StoweHigh School, 12th gradeA+, November 1996

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The god to be the topic of discussion in this report is Athena. Athena was an important member of the Olympic pantheon. She was born fully armed from the forehead of Zeus, the chief god. Athena was Zeus's favorite child. He entrusted her with the Aegis, his breastplate, and with his thunderbolt.

Athena's role as a goddess varied. She was a major warrior and most images depict her dressed in armor and holding a spear. In Homer's Iliad, she is described as a fierce battle goddess who continually intervened on the side of the Greeks. She also took an interest in handicrafts and agriculture. The olive tree, which she said to have created, is sacred to her. She was noted for her wisdom which explains her close association with the owl, an ancient symbol of wisdom and reason.

The most famous temple to Athena was the Parthenon (5th century BC) which was named for Parthenos ('the Maiden'), which still stands atop the Acropolis in Athens.

The interior of the Parthenon stands a statue of Athena Parthenos, sculpted by Phidais.

When I was reading through myths, I decided I would talk about 'The Gift of Athena' which, in my opinion, best illustrates Athena's colorful personality. Here is how 'The Gift of Athena' goes:

Long, long ago, when this old world was a very young place, and when the few people there were had just begun to live together in groups for their own protection, the great gods selected the places for humans to build the cities. They looked down upon the earth, through the clouds that shrouded their home on the very peak of the high mountain called Olympus, and they chose the sites they thought would provide everything mortals needed to live and prosper.

Now, each god and...