The Gods of Greek and Roman Mythology - Athena (Minerva)

Role in the Mythos: Goddess of Wisdom 


  • Defender of the State and Home from Outsiders
  • Patron of Philosophy and Logic
  • Patron of Weaving, Crafts, and the Art of Battle
  • The Grey-Eyed Goddess
  • The Maiden

Notable Relations: 

  • Parents: Zeus
  • Spouse: None (one of the three virgins)  


  • Aegis—goatskin shield featuring the head of a Gorgon
  • Olive Tree
  • Owls


  • Embodiment of purity, reason, wisdom, virginity
  • Fierce, ruthless, warlike
  • Stately
  • Grey-eyed or flashing-eyed

Myths to Know:

Birth from Zeus’s Head  

When Zeus hears a prophecy that the child the nymph Metis bears after Athena will become the god of heaven, Zeus swallowed the nymph whole while she is pregnant with Athena. When it comes time for Athena to be born, Zeus asks Hephaestus to open his skull with a battle axe. Athena steps from Zeus’s head, fully grown and clad in full battle armor. 


Athena is known as the greatest weaver among the gods. She believes that her products are unmatchable in quality and beauty. When a mere mortal peasant, Arachne, claims that her weaving is finer than Athena’s, the goddess goes to Arachne’s hut and challenges her to a weaving competition. Both work with threads of gold and silver, and when they finish, Athena finds that Arachne's work is indeed the same quality as her own. Furious, Athena beats Arachne over the head and destroys her work. Disgraced, the young maiden hangs herself, inciting pity from the jealous god. She transforms Arachne into a spider and leaves her to do her fine weaving.