The Greek Goddess of wisdom,
household arts and crafts, of spinning and weaving, of textiles. Inventor of the flute, the plough and the ox-yoke, the horse bridle and the chariot. Athena, goddess of war, guardian of Athens, the city named for her; defender of heroes, champion of justice and civil law.

The olive tree was sacred to her, and her sacred bird was the owl (which is why wisdom is associated with the owl)

  The Greeks were a democratic society, which means the men got to vote on important matters.  Women and slaves did not take part in the running of the city. 
  In the Book of Goddesses and Heroines, by Patricia Monaghan she writes about how the city got to be named after Athena... 'The citizens, men and women alike, gathered to cast their ballots.  Naturally, the men voted for the God, the women for the Goddess.  As it happened, there was one more voter on the women's side, and as Athene won the day. (an alternative version has it that the Olympian deities judged the contest.  They ruled that because Athena had planted the first olive tree, whereas all Poseidon could offer was the changeful sea, the goddess would be a better city ruler than the god)
  The men of Athens bitterly agreed to accept the Goddess as their patron.  But being poor losers, they levied three heavy requirements on the women:  that they should forgo being called citizens, that they should no longer vote, and that their children should be called by their fathers' rather than their mothers' names.
  They then prepared a new identity for the city's goddess.  They claimed that she was a virginal goddess without sexuality, a motherless goddess who sprang full-grown from the head of Zeus, a goddess "all for the father" who voted on the side of the new patriarchal order against the earlier system of mother right.  But hidden in the legend of the Athenian vote are clues to Athene's original identity.   


Even in a massive statue of Athena, helmeted and fully-armed, she seems to convey a stately serenity, a sense of peace and order. One would be willing to trust her judgment, her fairness, and her wisdom.

Some other Greek Goddesses:


Goddess of Love & Beauty.


Virgin, Moon Goddess of the bow, healing and nature.

Demeter & Persephone
Mother and Daughter that tell the story of the seasons.

Queen of death.

Pictures above taken from Kate Cartwright's stamp page.

Activities to do:
Design your own shield,
Colour your own Greek vase.


This page last updated: 03/01/2018