A-Z: General definitions: Athena

Definition

Athene or Athena was the daughter of Zeus and Metis. She was the Greek goddess of wisdom, the patroness of the arts and of war (Roman name, Minerva.) There had been a prophecy that, after the birth of the daughter she was expecting, Metis would have a son who would take his father's place as King of the gods. So Zeus swallowed Metis before she could give birth (or the unborn child according to one version). Hephaestus split open Zeus' head when the child was due, and Athene sprang out, fully armed.
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