Athena was an Ancient Greek Goddess known for her supreme protective power. Specifically, she was the goddess of wisdom, handicraft and warfare. Due to this she was highly revered by Athenians and all the Greeks who saw her as their patron and protector. Athena possessed the powers of the Olympian Gods which include super-human strength; immortality; eternal youth; and the ability to bless and curse. As the goddess of wisdom, she was the most intelligent of the Greek deities; and as a goddess of war, she had exceptional strategic skills, power of persuasion and combat ability. Moreover, she protected many heroes in their quests with guidance, arms & ammunition. Here is an overview of the major powers of the Greek Goddess Athena.

 

Goddess Of The City

Athena represents the ultimate powerful woman in the Olympian pantheon and has numerous temples and monuments dedicated to her. As the daughter of Zeus, the king of gods, Athena is regarded as the patron and protector of various cities across Greece, particularly the city of Athens, from which she most likely received her name. Her temples were usually located atop the fortified acropolis in the central part of the city. The Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis was the most notable among them. It is regarded as an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece, Athenian democracy and the western civilization; and is one of the world’s greatest cultural monuments.

The Parthenon
The Parthenon in Athens, Greece

 

Immortality And Eternal Youth

Athena Varvakeion
Athena Varvakeion – A small Roman replica of the Athena Parthenos

In Greek mythology, all the Olympian gods are immortal, including Athena. Athena is the goddess of wisdom, handicraft and warfare. This made her especially important to the ancient Greeks as they saw her as their patron and protector. Athena, like most Greek goddesses, had the gift of eternal youth, which meant that, unlike mortals, she would always look young and beautiful. Apart from immortality and being eternally youth, she was also one of the most intelligent and wisest of the Greek deities.

 

Super Human Strength

Athena is one of the most powerful goddesses of the ancient Greek pantheon. Once, she empowered the mortal prince Argive, who struck a blow on Ares, the God of War, so powerful that it nearly killed him. She can fly at great speed; render herself and other beings invisible from mortal eye sight; create illusory images; and also give the gift of foresight to mortals. Athena is considered more perceptive than the other deities and she possessed a degree of cosmic awareness.

 

Goddess of War

Athena is the goddess of war and she was seen as a female counterpart to Ares, the God of War. She represented the disciplined, strategic side of war; in contrast to her brother Ares, the patron of violence, bloodlust and slaughter. As goddess of war, Athena had exceptional strategic skills, power of persuasion and combat ability. In the Trojan War, Athena acts as a calming force, a fellow fighter, an encouraging supporter, a wise counselor and a cunning persuader for the Greeks. Moreover, being a great strategist, she sees the Trojan War like a giant chess game in which men are the pieces and the gods are the hands controlling them.

The Combat of Ares and Athena
The Combat of Ares and Athena – Painting by Joseph-Benoit Suvee

Weapons

Athena didn’t have a particular weapon associated with her. However, at times, her father Zeus shared with her his powerful thunderbolt, which could be used to strike down almost anything. Zeus also lent her his Aegis, a shield bearing the head of a Gorgon. There are several depictions of Athena in which she wields the thunderbolt and the Aegis. Apart from these, Athena also used a battle spear as a weapon. Moreover, an owl often accompanied Athena allowing her to see the entire truth of a matter.

 

Helping Out Heroes

Athena is famous for being an ally of many famous ancient Greek heroes and she stood by them in their quests. She aided the famous Heracles, son of Zeus, to achieve his twelve labors. Perseus, the legendary founder of Mycenae, was another favorite of hers and he was given a shield by her to protect himself in his quest to kill Medusa, a monster with living venomous snakes in place of hair. She helped Achilles to kill Hector in the Iliad and, in the Odyssey, she helped Odysseus to return to his homeland through her wisdom. Jason was yet another hero who benefited from Athena’s resourcefulness when she encouraged him to build the first Greek long ship Argo. The crew of Argo would became famous as the Argonauts.

Ulysses and Athena
Ulysses transformed by Athena into beggar – Painting by Giuseppe Bottani

 

Granting Woman Great Ability On Handicrafts

Statue of Athena at the Louvre
Statue of Athena with an owl at the Louvre

As the patron of arts and crafts, Athena was known as Ergane. She was particularly known as the patroness of spinning and weaving. Athena also had the special ability to invent useful items and crafts which were later adopted by women in Ancient Greece. Items said to be invented by her include chariots, plows, ships, rakes and pottery.

 

Shape Shifting

In Greek mythology, many gods and goddesses possess the ability to shape-shift, or physically transform oneself. Athena is also a shape-shifter and can shape-shift at will. In The Odyssey, she shape shifted into Odysseus’ old friend Mentes, and predicted that Odysseus is still alive to influence Telemachus, son of Odysseus, to find his father.

 

Ability To Bless And Curse

Being one of the 12 Olympians and a prominent Greek goddess, Athena has the ability to bless and curse. Once, Athena cursed and transformed Medusa into a terrible monster and thickened her hair into hissing snakes making everyone who looks at her turn into stone. In another instance, Athena transformed Arachne into a spider. On the contrary, she also possesses the power to bless anyone. Athena blessed Tiresias by granting him the ability to understand the language of the birds and also gave him supernatural powers of precognition which led to Tiresias becoming a great prophet.

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