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What are Athena's personality traits?

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Quick Answer

The Greek goddess Athena's personality traits included courage, wisdom, intelligence, cunning and chastity. As a goddess of war, she relied on strategy and morality rather than bloodshed, and as a goddess of wisdom she stressed diplomacy, justice, education, arts and crafts.

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Full Answer

According to Olympian mythology, after impregnating the sea nymph Metis, Zeus swallowed her to prevent her from giving birth to his progeny. After Zeus developed a great headache, his head was cloven with an axe, and Athena emerged fully mature and clad in armor. From her mother, Athena inherited wisdom. As Zeus' favorite offspring, Athena acquired strength, dominance and imperviousness. She demonstrated her martial ability by backing the Greeks in the Trojan War. While Ares, the god of war, represented direct combat and blood lust in battle, Athena epitomized diplomacy, strategy, skill and discipline. As a counselor, Athena cunningly guided Odysseus home from Troy to Ithaca. She also was credited with using her wise counsel in helping Perseus to kill Medusa and assisting Hercules to successfully accomplish several of his labors.

Athena had no lovers or offspring and was given the title Athena Parthenos, or Virgin Athena. The Parthenon, a temple to Athena on the Acropolis in Athens, got its name from this attribute. Athena's characteristic of wisdom was illustrated in a contest with Poseidon for the patronage of the city of Athens. Poseidon gave the Athenians the gift of a saltwater spring, while Athena gave them the much more useful olive tree, which yielded olives, oil and wood.

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