Daughter of Zeus and Goddess of War, Athena has been held in high esteem for centuries as a paragon of wisdom and strength. Athena had many personality traits and characteristics, including courage, morality, intelligence, diplomacy, justice, and education. Let’s look at her many attributes.
Daughter of Zeus
Greek legend shows that Athena was not born in the usual way, but emerged as an adult, fully formed from the head of Zeus. Zeus had been with Metis and was warned that any child born to Metis (aka wisdom) would become more powerful than Zeus himself. Zeus decided to circumvent this and chose to swallow Metis before she could give birth to any child. Later, terrible headaches began to plague Zeus. The pain grew so unbearable that Zeus asked Hephaestus, the Greek god of fire and metalworking, to cut open his head for an examination. Upon doing this, Athena came out of Zeus’s head, a full-grown warrior ready for battle.
Goddess of War
Armed with strength, wisdom, and strategy, Athena was known for excellence in the ways of war. Athena’s work on and off the battlefield helped her become renowned in the land.
In the Trojan War, which occurred between 1260-1250 B.C., battles were being fought over trade routes that divided Greece and the Trojans. Due to Athena’s beauty, cunning, and strategy, she was able to inspire Odysseus and others to use a secret method to gain entrance into the city. Athena counseled the soldiers to conceal themselves and ride in a large wooden horse as a decoy. When the city was fast asleep, the Trojan horse opened, and the soldiers took the city by surprise.
City Goddess of Athens
Using her wisdom to become the namesake for the greatest city in Greece was also one of Athena’s personality traits. Legend infers that Athens’ founder and first king Cecrops was seeking a patron god or goddess for the city. Poseidon was interested in the honor, as was Athena. The competition became intense, and Poseidon and Athena almost came to blows. Instead, the king announced a contest that the two could battle for the city. The contest was to determine who could bring the most beneficial gift to the city. Poseidon brought forth water with a blast of his trident, but the water was salty, limiting its use to the people of the city. Athena, meanwhile, buried a seed into the ground. The seed was for an olive tree, which eventually yielded far more use than saltwater. Thus, her name, Athena (later Athens), was given as the name of the city.
Goddess of Counsel
Athena also used his wisdom in assisting Perseus in the death of Medusa as well as working with Hercules to complete his laborious endeavors.