In the first four books of Homer's Odyssey, Athena never appears to humans as herself, appearing instead as Mentes, Telemachus, Mentor and Iphthime. As a manipulator who does not want her manipulations to be discovered, she uses disguises throughout Homer's Odyssey.
After divine counsel from her father Zeus to plead her favorite Odysseus's case, Athena disguises herself as Mentes, telling Odysseus's son Telemachus that his father will return. In the second book, she disguises herself alternately as Mentor and Telemachus to help Telemachus secretly search for his father. In the third book, she remains disguised as Mentor to advise Telemachus. In the fourth book, she sends a vision in which, disguised as Penelope's sister Iphthime, she reassures Penelope that her son will be safe from dangers and a threatened assassination.