Compare and contrast the characters and actions of Athene and Hermes.

Essay by the_college_dropoutUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, March 2006

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Athene and Hermes were great influences in Greek mythology and attributed to the twelve Olympians. Both divinities displayed uncanny similarities and obvious distinctions. While one dealt with war and wisdom, the other was the god of commerce and messenger of the gods.

Athene and Hermes were half siblings and were linked by their father Zeus. Athene was born under weird circumstances, since her mother, Metis, was swallowed by Zeus when she was pregnant. The reason for this bizarre act was because Gaia, mother earth, warned Zeus that a child born from Metis would overthrow him. As a result, Zeus contracted a splitting headache and summoned the help of Hesphaestus, god of metal crafts. Hesphaestus cleaved Zeus' head with an axe and Athene sprang forth fully armed. Her birth symbolises the ultimate male dominance, often depicted in Greek mythology, which is: women aren't needed in producing offspring. Her birth also forms her character and a basis to the actions she takes.

Hermes was born of Maia, goddess of the clouds, and Zeus. His character and actions were clearly shown on the first day of his birth, when he decided to jump out his cradle and steal some of Apollo's herd of cows. After sacrificing the cows, he used the internal guts and a tortoise shell to construct the first lyre. Both of these actions demonstrated his ingenuity and craftiness. Apollo eventually caught him, and he confessed his mischievousness to Zeus. Zeus was amused and appointed him god of commerce and trade, since craftiness was while also making him messenger of the gods.

Although it's commonly known that Athene helped many heroes/mortals on their quest, Hermes contributed his fair share to mankind. Besides inventing the first lyre, which inspired Apollo to compose the best pieces of music, he also helped Perseus...