Greek Mythology's Athena

In Greek mythology, which goddess was born without a mother, emerging fully formed from Zeus' forehead?

And the answer: Athena.

Regarded as the favorite daughter of Zeus, Athena was born from his forehead. She was the goddess of wisdom and warfare, and was the protector of the city of Athens, Greece, which has a close association with Athena.

Photo credit: public domain.

Much of what we associate about the mythological Athena comes from Homer's Iliad. In the story, Athena is a powerful war goddess who embodies the divine ideal of the heroic, encapsulating excellence and intelligence during wartime. She is storied to be the tutor of great Greek heroes such as Perseus and Hercules. In Ancient Greece, Athena was one of the most widely worshipped goddesses, even going so far as to give the capital its name: Athens.

As one of the most important Olympian gods, Athena had many functions and names. Some of the most famous are "Virgin," "Pallas," "The Unwearying One," "The One of the City," "The One with Gleaming Eyes" and "The One who Fights in Front." The first name comes from the widely held belief that Athena chose chastity over the enticement of foolish love and passion. Since the Renaissance, she has become an international symbol of wisdom, the arts, and classical learning. Western artists and allegorists have often used Athena as a symbol of freedom and democracy.

Learn more about this legendary goddess here.

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