Pallas Athena
Pallas Athena (Pallas Athene) is the goddess of war, wisdom, the arts, the city, agriculture, and a variety of other areas. She is the embodiment of reason and purity. Athena is the child of Zeus, having sprung from his head fully grown and armored. In some stories, Athena is also the daughter of Metis, the goddess of prudence. In these stories, fearing that Metis's child would overthrow him (as he had overthrown Cronus, his father), Zeus swallowed Metis whole; Zeus later "birthed" Athena from his head. Athena is the favorite of Zeus's children; not only is she charged with the task of carrying his Aegis, she is the only god/goddess allowed to use his weapons.

As the goddess of war, she is extremely skilled and brave, and has never lost a battle. She even surpasses Ares, the god of war, because of her superior strategic skills. However, Athena does not enjoy war, and she fights only to defend the State (except in The Iliad).

Benefactor to humanity, she gave the city of Athens (her special city, which was named after her) the olive tree, from which they could get food and firewood; invented many useful objects such as the bridle, the flute, the plow, and the chariot; was a patron of the sciences; and encouraged men against the temptation of war. She also sponsored and assisted many Greek heroes such as Perseus.

Athena is one of the three virgin goddesses, the other two being Artemis and Hestia. As the chief of the three, she is called the Maiden, Parthenos, and her temple is the Parthenon.

One of her companions is Nike, goddess of victory, and her symbols include her favorite animal, the owl; her created tree, the olive; the Aegis; her shield, which also displays the head of Medusa; her helmet; and her spear. She is often described as being "grey-eyed" or "flashing-eyed."

In Roman mythology, the goddess Minerva came to be identified with Athena.


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