Athena is known as the Greek goddess of war, wisdom, industry, the arts, skill and justice. She was the favorite offspring of her father, Zeus, while her mother Metis was the Goddess of wisdom and her father’s first wife. The Roman version of Athena was known by the name, Minerva.
According to Greek Mythology, Athena and Poseidon both laid claim to a certain Greek city. It was decided that the patronage of the city would be given to the one giving the city a useful gift. Poseidon’s gift to the city was a spring which turned out to have salty water while Poseidon gave the people an olive tree. The people preferred the olive tree which gave them wood, oil and food. That’s how Athena named here favorite city Athens.
Athena was the offspring of Zeus and Metis. According to the mythology Zeus swallowed his wife (not knowing that she was pregnant) as he did not want her to bear a son who would turn out to be more powerful than him. Later to cure Zeus of his terrible headache, Hephaistos used a sledgehammer to hit his head and break open his scull. What came out of the head of Zeus was his daughter, Athena, fully grown and dressed in armour, emerging with a cry of war.
Athena was the Goddess of Military Victory, Goddess of Wisdom and Goddess of Crafts.
She is credited to have invented the chariot, the ship, the horse-bridle, ox-yoke, the rake, plough, earthenware pot and musical implements such as the trumpet and flute. Athena is regarded as the teacher of women’s arts such as cooking, weaving and spinning besides being the pioneer tutor of the science of numbers. In fact she is known to have bestowed humanity with the necessary knowledge required for setting up a civilization.
In classical art, Athena appears clothed in a full-length costume with Erichthonius, her serpent. She is sometimes portrayed in armor with her helmet and her shield bearing the head of the gorgon as depicted in the Parthenon. In some mythological depictions Athena appears with an owl perched on her shoulder. A relief sculpture dating back to 460 BC, called the ‘Mourning Athena’ depicts Athena wearily resting on a staff. Athena is usually seen in possession of the Aegis. Her companion was Nike, the goddess of victory. The 5th century classical sculpture of Athena depicts her features clearly which suggest a kind of masculine beauty, often serene and detached.
Athena is known by many epithets and the list as given by Robert E. Bell's “Women of Classical Mythology : A Biographical Dictionary” , include the following names- Acraea, Aethyia, Ageleia, Agoraea, Alalcomeneis, Alcimache, Alcis, Alea, Amublia, Anemotis, Apaturia, Areia, Asia, Assesia, Axiopoenos, Boulaia, Budeia, Chalinitis, Chryse, Cleidouchos, Colocasia, Coryphasia, Cydonia, Ergane, Glaucopis, Hellotia, Hippia, Hippolatis, Hygieia, Iasonia, Itonia, Laosos, Laphria, Larissaea, Lindia, Longatos, Magarsia, Munychia, Narcaea, Nedusia, Nice, Onca, Ophthalmitis, Optiletis, Oxydercis, Paeonia, Pallas, Pallenis, Panachaea, Pareia, Parthenos, Phrygia, Polias, Poliuchos, Polyboulos, Promachorma, Pronaea, Pylaitis, Saitis, Salpinx, Sciras, Soteira, Telchinia, Triton, Xenia, Zosteria.