a/n: I do not own i word of this it all belongs to Nancy Loewen.

Greek and Roman Mythology


Chapter 2

The Goddess Athena

Athena was a powerful goddess in Greek mythology. She was the goddess of wisdom, war, and useful arts. The useful arts included farming, spinning, weaving, and playing music. She was also the protector of heroes, bities, and states.

Athena was usually slow to become angry. She hated fighting without a purpose. She believed that it was always better to use wisdom to settle differences. She protected entire armies. Her goal was to bring soldiers home safely. But Athena encouraged fighting for a good cause. She inspired soldiers and heroes.

Birth of Athena

Zeus once was married to Metis. Metis was the first goddess of wisdom. Metis became pregnet . Zeus was pleased that he was going to be a father. But then Rhea warned Zeus that Metis would have a son that would conquer him.

Zeus did not want Metis to have a son. He did not know whether the baby would be a boy or a girl. So Zeus tricked Metis into playing a game. The god and goddess took turns Zeus quickly turned himself back into a god. He swallowed Metis. Zeus thought this would keep Metis from having the baby.

Metis lived inside Zeus for sometime. She used her powers to create a robe for her child. She then made a helmet. She used a hammer to pound metal into shape. The hammering gave Zeus a headache. He did not know what was causing the headache.

Zeus went to his son Hephaestus. Hephaestus was skilled with tools and metalwork. Zeus asked Hephaestus to split his head open to find the cause of the headache. Hephaestus used his ax to crack open Zeus' head.

At that moment, Metis' child Athena jumped out of her father's head. She was fully grown. She wore a robe and helmet her mother had made for her.

Zeus' head closed before Metis coukd escape. Zeus was afraid she might become pregnet and have a son.

Zeus was pleased that Athena was female. He welcomed her to Mount Olympus. Zeus has many children. But Athena was one of his favorites. Zeus even let her use his chariot and some of his weapons.

The Aegis Shield

Zeus gave Athena a special shield called the aeigs. Athena used the aegis as a weapon against her enemies. It was a symbol of her power.

Medusa's head was on the aegis. Medusa was a female monster with snakes for hair.

Athena helped the hero Perseus kill Medusa. Perseus gave Medusa's head as an offering of thanks. People turned into stone if they looked at Medusa's head on the aegis.


People living in the Attica region of Greece Honored both Athena and Piseidon. Poseidon was the god of the sea. Athena and Poseidon quarreled about who should be in charge of Attica's capital city.

The other Olympian gods decided to stop the quarrel. They issued a challenge. They told both Poseidon and Athena to give the city a gift. Whoever gave the most useful gift could claim the city.

Poseidon gave the city a supply of water. He struck a rock with a three-pointed trident. Water gushed from the broken rock and flowed down the hiil. But the water was salty. People could not drink it.

Athena gave the city its first olive tree. Her gift gave people olives for food. It also gave them wood and olive oil for fuel.

Zeus felt Athena's gift was more useful. Attica's capital became her city. The people named the city Athens to honor Athena.

The people of Athens built Athena a fancy temple called the Parthenon. They put a giant statue of Athena inside the Parthenon.