Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Athena / Minerva

Athena was born as a by-product of Zeus' attempt to retain his throne after hearing that the son born to his first wife, Metis, would unseat him. His response was to swallow Metis, who was pregnant with Athena at the time. The child remained stuck inside Zeus until an ax-wielding Hephaestus or, in some versions, Prometheus struck open his head and the fully-grown Athena leapt out, wearing flashing armor, to the astonishment of the assembled gods. Cosmic chaos ensued until, by removing her weapons, Athena restored normality. Athena took possession of her favorite city, Athens, when her gift of the first olive tree was preferred to the salt spring created by her rival, Poseidon. Her tie to Athens was strengthened through her involvement in the birth of Erichthonius, one of its ancestral heroes. When she went to Hephaestus to ask him to make weapons, he attempted to rape her. During their struggle Hephaestus' semen fell to the ground and a child, Erichthonius ("very-earthy"), emerged from the fertilized earth. Gaia, the earth goddess, handed the child to Athena, who then reared him. Athena was credited with numerous inventions, including the flute, the ship, the horse-bit, the plow, and the chariot.
by Susan Deacy, 30 Second Mythology  

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