Omicron’s mythical musings: the birth of Athena

The Birth of Athena

Hello everyone!

You know this already, but I’m just finding out……isn’t Greek mythology wonderful? There’s so much to choose from! Not only that, but there are lots of different versions o each myth.

Elinor and the team have asked me to pick a myth when I have the time, and to find some pictures to help …. I didn’t really know where to start, then I had a bit of a brainwave.

Of course! The obvious thing was to start with Athena, given that she’s my ‘overall’ boss. Everyone at It’s All Greek is a big fan of Athena so I thought it would be a good idea to tell you a bit about how she was born. It’s an amazing story! Here goes!

Bronze Athena statue

Bronze Athena statue










Zeus (king of the gods) had a bit of a habit of having affairs with all sorts of mortals and immortals. One day, Metis, the goddess of wisdom and intelligence caught his eye and they had an affair. When Metis told her parents that she was pregnant, they told Zeus that the child would be greater than Zeus himself. This did not go down well at all. What could he do? He turned Metis into a fly (of course!!) and then swallowed her.

9 months later, Zeus had a horrific migraine so he summoned his brother Hephaistos,the god of metalwork and crafts, to ask his advice. As soon as Zeus caught sight of Hephaistos’ axe, he begged him to cut open his head to relieve the pain. Hephaistos did as he was told and made a clean cut in Zeus’ skull. (Ouch, but I suppose that’s ok if you’re immortal?)

The suddenly out popped mini Athena, fully armed and ready to do battle with the world! She had a helmet, a spear, and of course the aegis, which I’m still finding out about. (I’ve got as far as finding out that it was a goatskin with snakey fringes and a Medusa head in the middle….Too much information! If anyone can help, I’d be most grateful!)


The birth of Athena black-figure lekythos










So Athena was literally Zeus’ brainchild and he adored her from the moment she was born. She was certainly a bit of a ‘daddy’s girl’! There are lots of really interesting things about Athena but one is that because her mother was Metis, she became the goddess of wisdom and intelligence and also of strategy in war. (By the way, not the ‘aggressive strategy’ that Ares was responsible for, but the ‘defensive’ strategic thinking….. I like that!)

Another interesting fact is her association with the owl! That’s ME! More on that some other time!

I’d love to know what you think about my first little effort!

Love, Omicron x

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