Images of Motherhood
Athena Greek Goddess
Forms of Motherhood

Images of Influence

Brief History

Discourse 1 & 2

Pallas Athena, glorious goddess, I begin to sing,
grey-eyed, resourceful, with an unyielding heart,
the reverent maiden, mighty defender of cities,
Tritigeneia, whom Zeus the devisor himself bore
from his august head, wearing weapons of war
shining, golden.  And awe held all the immortals
who saw her.  Before Zeus the aegis-bearer
she sprang quickly out of his immortal head,
brandishing a sharp spear.  Great Olympos was shaken
dreadfully by the fearful strength of the grey-eyed goddess, and the
 earth all around echoed awesomely, and the sea was moved
and churned up with storm dark waves.  Then the sea-water held back
suddenly, and the glorious son of Hyperion stood
his swift-footed horses long enough for the maiden,
Pallas Athena, to take the divine weapons
from her immortal shoulders.  And Zeus the devisor laughed.
 ---Hymn to Athena, Homeric Hymns
                        Athena, the Greek Goddess of Wisdom and Crafts, is a complex and contradictory female figure whose image has survived the ravages of time to intrigue us today. The heavy influence of ancient Greek culture on Western civilization has preserved Athena through artistic and literary works.  Her status as an ancient mother figure, as well as a symbolic representation of her country, give Athena depth and intrigue as to her true purpose within Greek society.  The paradox of Athena's character is manifested through her status as a powerful female goddess who exudes mother-like qualities despite her virginity and masculine nature and foreshadows other images of women as the mothers of states.