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by Jeep56
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Social Studies
Religious Studies

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Athena was the goddess of wisdom, battlefield strategy, and the arts. She was the daughter of Zeus and Metis, the Titaness who embodied abstract thought.


Fearing that his infant daughter could rival his wisdom and power, Zeus swallowed baby Athena. Months later, Zeus was stricken with a massive headache. To ease the pain, the god Hephaestus cracked open Zeus’s head, and out sprang a fully-grown Athena.

Athena once competed with Poseidon to become the favored god of a small Greek city. To win the favor of the people, Poseidon produced a spring from the Earth…but it was salt water. Athena produced an olive tree, which provided food, shade, wood, and olive oil. Athena won the contest and gave the city of Athens its name.

The Parthenon in Athens was a sacred temple dedicated to the goddess Athena. Centuries later it became a Christian church, then an Islamic mosque, and even an armory (in 1687, a gunpowder explosion destroyed much of the temple). Today, the ruins of the Parthenon are an icon of ancient Greek civilization.

Athena, the goddess of the arts, was once challenged to a weaving contest by a young woman named Arachne. During the contest, Arachne insulted the gods and angered Athena. As punishment, Athena cursed Arachne and turned her into the first spider. Arachne and her offspring continue to weave their webs to this day and we refer to them as “arachnids”.

The Greek hero Odysseus was a favorite of Athena. To end the decade-long Trojan War, Athena gave the wise Odysseus an idea: construct an immense wooden horse and hide several Greek soldiers inside. The Trojans were fooled by the gift and brought the horse inside their city walls. That night, the Greeks snuck out and opened the city gates of Troy for the rest of the Greek army.


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