Among Athena's allies were many heroes of Greek mythology, including Odysseus, Jason, Perseus and Heracles. Because she sided with the Greeks in the Trojan War, her enemies included Paris and the other defenders of Troy. Among the gods, her opponents included Hephaestus and Poseidon.
According to Greek mythology, Athena helped Jason acquire the golden fleece. She also helped Perseus in beheading Medusa. She counseled Heracles to use the Nemean lion's own claws to cut through its impregnable hide, gave him a rattle to frighten the Stymphalian birds so he could kill them and helped him enter the underworld to defeat Cerberus. Athena offered Odysseus counsel throughout the Trojan War, protected him in his wanderings, guided him home and aided him in regaining his home and his wife.
A Greek myth tells that Aphrodite, Hera and Athena all claimed to be the fairest goddess, and Zeus appointed Paris, a Trojan prince, to decide between them. Paris chose Aphrodite over Athena, and this caused Athena to favor the Greek side in the Trojan War. Although both Ares and Athena were representatives of war, she symbolized wisdom, insight, courage, glory and moral superiority rather than fear and blood lust. Although Athena is acknowledged to be a virgin goddess, she became a mother. Hephaestus, the son of Zeus and Hera, tried to rape her, and when his seed fell from her leg to the earth, the half-snake, half-man Erichthonius was born. Poseidon became Athena's opponent due to an argument over who would be the patron of Athens. In their competition, they each offered the Athenians gifts. Poseidon offered the Athenians a salt water fountain, but Athena won by offering them an olive tree.