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By Kayla Maedche
HIS 325
The Birth of a Goddess
 Parents: Zeus and Metis
 Zeus swallowed his wife
 Hephaestus split Zeus’ head
 Fully-grown and armed
 Wisdom: head of Zeus
Basic Info - Characteristics
Origins in Neolithic times
Roman equivalent = Minerva
Goddess of war, wisdom, the state, weaving, and fertility
War goddess (promachos)
 Grants victory in battle as Nike or Nikephoros
 Aegis was a battle charm
 Injured Ares in the Trojan War
 Worshiped in Libya as Neith
Glaukopis: “bright-eyed,” association with owl’s (glaux) eyes
Tritogeneia: “water-born” or reared by Triton; also means third-born
Pallas Athena
 killed Pallas, daughter of Triton, while practicing the art of war
 Refers to virginity in contrast to her fertility epithets
Potnia: Homer recorded this epithet which means queen
Basic Info – Human Interaction
 Trojan War & The Odyssey
 Libya: how to tame horses
 Athens: infantry tactics
 King Erichthonius: how to harness a chariot
 Present during the building of Jason’s Argo
 Welcomed Hercules to Olympus
 Guided Perseus against the Gorgons
 Saved the heart of Dionysus
 Invented the potter’s wheel and the flute
Patroness of Athens – Contest
 Chose Attica as her
special place
 Athena vs. Poseidon on
the Acropolis
 Gifts: olive tree vs. salt
 Attica becomes Athens
Patroness of Athens – Customs
 Spousal: Athena’s virginity (pallas) was upheld as proper female behavior in
patriarchal society
 the maiden’s parents offered a sacrifice for the fruitfulness of the marriage
 Fertility: priestess would bear the aegis to a couple’s home
 the priestess received a payment for each birth and death of an Athenian
 Amphidromia
Naming ceremony when it was believed the child would survive
 Olive braches = boy
 garlands of wool = girl
 Nurse carried the child around the fire
 Alliances: a tablet was made with a representation of Athena holding the hand
of the other city’s patron god
 Military: the aegis was hung over the walls of the city to prevent defeat
Patroness of Athens – Festivals
 Arrephoria: young, noble girls descended from Athena’s temple to take
sacred objects underground near Aphrodite’s sanctuary
 Scirophoria: priests and priestesses form a procession under a large
parasol (sciron)
 Panathenaea: procession to the Acropolis with the sacred robe
(peplos) and olive branches; included many events and ceremonies
 Greater Panathenaea was held every 4th year where other city-states
participated at Athens
Athens - Characteristics
 Plain of Attica
 Triangular tract in the Aegean Sea
 Basin area that is surrounded by
hills and mountains
 Theater of Dionysus
 Plato’s Academy; “Athens is the city
hall of Wisdom”
 Aristotle’s Lyceum
 Cradle of western civilization and
the birthplace of democracy
 Important center of early
Hellenistic Greece
 Nicknamed “the glorious city”
 Athenians were the most pious and
religious of all Greeks
Athens – Brief Timeline
 3000 BC: first settlement on the Acropolis
 566 BC: Panathenaic festival established
 534 BC: first tragedy performed at Dionysian festival
 508 BC: Became a democracy under Kleisthenes
 5th Century BC: Golden Age of Athens under the reign of Pericles
 431-404 BC: Peloponnesian War
 387 BC: Plato founds the Academy
 44 AD: Apostle Paul visits Athens
 Acts 17: 21 – locals interested in the latest ideas
 132 AD: Emperor Hadrian’s library is built
 476 AD: Roman Empire falls; Athens declines
 529 AD: became a Byzantine provincial town
 13th Century AD: invaded by the Crusaders
 15th Century AD: occupied by Turks
 1833: became the Greek capital
 1896: first modern Olympic games
 Citadel stands 150ft.
above the Athenian
 Fortified along the
Cecropian rock
 Strongest area in the
 Persians set it on fire
 Parthenos: Maiden; also known as
“Virgin’s House”
447 -438 BC: construction time
438-432 BC: Phidias’ creates its’
Built with 230,000 metric tonnes of
marble from Mt. Pentelicon
Architects: Ictinus and Callicrates
Western end: held the bank
Eastern end: statue of Athena
Emperor Hadrian’s reign: repaired
and beautified
Transformed into a church for Mary
1687- destroyed by a Venetian battery
when used by the Turks
44 AD: Paul in Athens
 Acts 17:16 – greatly distressed (paroxysm) to see the city full of idols in 44 AD
 Paroxysm means sudden, violent emotion
 Acts 17:18 – spoke with Epicurean and Stoic philosophers
 Was called a spermalog (babbler, courtier, or buffoon)
 Acts 17:22 – saw their religious nature (deisidaimones)
 Vague word meaning cowardice towards the divine, or deep superstition
 Acts 17:24 – Paul preached to the Athenians on Mars Hill (Areopagus)
 Civic place to hear new ideas; also used for trials before the Council of the State
 Truth that God is not man-made and will raise His believers into everlasting Life
 Acts 17:34 – mixed responses, but many accepted the faith
Symbolism – The Owl
 Owl perched on Zeus’ wrist
 Glaux: a small, strictly nocturnal owl
 Shorthand mark for Athens
 Agathocles let out owls among his troops so that they
would gain courage
 Representation of wisdom, death, and destruction
 Owl’s cry: impending doom
Symbolism – The Olive
 Sacred olive tree beside the temple;
represented the fate (moira) of the city
Customary to plant one at the birth of
each citizen
Blessings of prosperity and good
Eiresione: olive branch hung annually
over every family’s door
Victors at athletic games were crowned
with branches
Symbolism – The Spindle
 Spinning: as early as Homer; “spinner of fate”
 Protective care over the peaceful arts of the city
 The Peplos (sacred robe)
 Wove one for herself and for Hera
 Given in special occasions like the Panathanaea
 Sign of sovereignty
 “net of destiny”
 Arachne, the princess of Lydia
Symbolism – The Snake
 Legendary snake guarded the Acropolis
 Snake’s absence in the Persian attack
 Erichthonios was the foster son of Athena
 Sign of agricultural fertility
 Prophetic animal (Tiresias)
 Anyone who ate a snake became wise
Representation in Art
 Two general classes: standing with weapons;
sitting without weapons (potnia)
 Palladium: Standing pose without weapons
 originally at the city of Troy; the city could not
be defeated while it had the image
 Promachos: Standing with feet apart striding
forward; dates to the Bronze Age
Modern Homage
 State seal of California
 US Women’s Navy
 US Military Academy
 Athens of the South
 Over 30 USA locations
Modern Homage