|“||I once warned you, Percy Jackson, that to save a friend you would destroy the world. Perhaps I was mistaken. You seemed to have saved both, your friends and the world.||”|
Athena is the Greek virgin goddess of wisdom, handicrafts, useful arts, and battle strategy. She is the daughter of Zeus and Metis, and her symbols include the owl, Aegis, the olive tree, and the snake. Her Roman counterpart is Minerva. In the The Lightning Thief, she is portrayed by Melina Kanakaredes.
Athena was the daughter of Metis and Zeus. A prophecy had once foretold that Metis would give birth to a son more powerful than his father, which was the god Zeus. This posed a problem as Metis was already pregnant with their first child. To prevent the prophecy from taking place, Zeus tricked Metis into taking the form of a fly and swallowed her. What Zeus did not know was that Metis was pregnant with their daughter. Over time however, Zeus began to suffer from a terrible headache and asked the Titan Prometheus (in some cases it was Hephaestus and or Ares) to split his head open to find the problem. Athena sprang fully-grown from Zeus' head in full battle armor, shouting a battle cry.
She quickly became Zeus' favorite daughter. In the most ancient account, the Iliad, Athena is the goddess of ferocious and implacable fights, but wherever she can be found, she is a warrior who defends the State and the native land against the enemies coming from outside, and supports the side that is morally right. She is, above all, the Goddess of the City, the protector of civilized life, of artisan activities, and of wisdom. She also invented the bridle, which, for the first time, tamed horses, allowing men to use them.
In Greek mythology, she was one of the most active goddesses. She assisted Odysseus in his journey home from the Trojan War in the Odyssey and made sure the Greeks won the Trojan War in the Iliad by helping the Greeks by giving Odysseus the idea of the Trojan Horse. She also helped heroes like Diomedes, Hercules (in killing the Stymphalian Birds), Jason, and Perseus. Athena is known for helping heroes with cleverness. She believes that warfare should be used as a last resort and often uses her trickery and strategies to overcome her enemies.
Along with Artemis and Hestia, she is one of the three maiden goddesses. She does have demigod children in the series, though they are conceived when her divine thoughts meet the mortal ingenuity of the men she favors, a love which she believes to be the of the purest kind. Her children are then born in the same way she was, quite literally making them brain children. It is unknown if any other goddess can give birth to children in a similar way.
In Greece she was known as Pallas Athena, the name she had inherited from a friend she had accidentally killed. She was also known as Athena Parthenos or Athena the Virgin, which is how she was worshiped at the Parthenon. When she leads in battle, she was known as Athena Promachos. In some places she was known as Athena Alea as she was associated with the ancient goddess Alea.
Rivalry with Arachne
A long time ago, the mortal Arachne challenged Athena to see who could create the best tapestry. Athena then disguised herself as an old woman and tried to warn Arachne that it would be foolishness to challenge a goddess, but Arachne persisted and stated that if she lost, she would accept any punishment. Enraged, Athena revealed herself and accepted the challenge as she herself had invented weaving. Each of them then made a tapestry. Athena's tapestry was of the gods together in glory and joy while Arachne's showed the gods making fools of themselves. Athena was so infuriated by this deliberate insult to the gods that she destroyed the tapestry in rage and was declared the winner.
Arachne was filled with guilt and hung herself. Athena, after seeing Arachne's body, felt responsible for her death and decided to do her a favor. She turned Arachne into a spider so that she and all her children would be expert weavers forever. In other versions of the myth, Athena transformed Arachne into a spider directly after the contest as part of Arachne's punishment.
Be it whatever reason, ever since then, every child of Athena has suffers a deep fear of spiders. They are very paranoid that every spider they see is out to get them and avenge Arachne. Most of the time, this is true as spiders are shown to be hostile to them.
Rivalry with Poseidon
For many eons, Athena and Poseidon have had a rivalry between them, which can be traced to the time when they competed for the position of patron of the city of Athens, (called Attica at that time). The leader of the city asked the two gods to bestow a gift for the newly constructed city. Poseidon created a salt-water spring, while Athena gave them the olive tree. Seeing that the olive tree was more useful than the salt-water spring, the leader of the city made Athena their patron goddess. A temple known as the Parthenon was dedicated to her, and the new city took the name of Athens in her honor.
Another time which marks a conflict between the two Olympians was when Athena transformed Coronis (whom Poseidon was trying to seduce) into a raven. As a result, a furious Poseidon longed for revenge. Hence, he took Medusa, his new lover, into Athena's temple. Furious with Poseidon and Medusa for doing such disgusting and disturbing acts in her temple, Athena turned Medusa into a hideous creature who had the additional curse of turning anyone who looked into her irresistible eyes into stone. As Medusa's sisters had helped her get inside the temple, they too were transformed. Collectively, the three sisters are known as the "Three Gorgons". As revealed in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Poseidon later encouraged Hephaestus to try to seduce Athena. Yet another time both of them were at odds about Odysseus. While Poseidon was furious with him for blinding his son Polyphemus, Athena favored him above all other mortals, and was always willing to aid Odysseus when he needed it most.
Though it seems unlikely that Athena and Poseidon would ever cooperate, this did happen when the chariot was invented, as Athena had built the chariot itself and Poseidon had created the horses needed to pull it. Poseidon and Athena were also on the same side during the Trojan War, as they had both supported the Greeks.
Athena's rivalry with Poseidon seems to be the basis of her dislike for Percy Jackson, Poseidon's son. Their parents rivalry does not seem to affect Percy and Annabeth Chase. Athena, however, tells Percy that she does not approve of their relationship, and has told him to stay away from her daughter on several occasions. At the end of the series, she seems to be indifferent to Percy, though she does singe his clothes as a warning should he ever hurt Annabeth.
She is seen when Annabeth is being lured by the Sirens, described as wearing hiking boots and jeans and casual clothing. She was sitting with Luke and Annabeth's father, Frederick Chase, supposedly at a picnic in the redesigned Manhattan that Annabeth designed.
Athena disguises herself as a park ranger at the Hoover Dam, and advises Percy on how to escape, despite her misgivings about him. It is likely that her desire to see Annabeth saved outweighed her disapproval of him, therefore the reason she helped him.
At the winter solstice, when Zeus asks the room if Percy should be left alive as he could be dangerous, Athena, along with Ares and Dionysus (half-heartedly), do not raise their hands to defend him, but they were out-ruled by the majority. Athena later tells Percy not to judge her too harshly and that he is a big risk to take. Percy replies by saying, "So you're saying you shouldn't take risks?" She concedes to his point, but then informs him of his fatal flaw, which is intense personal loyalty. Percy is outraged by the thought that a desire to help those he loves could be considered a flaw, but Athena tells him that the most dangerous flaws are those that are good under the right circumstances, and that as a hero of a prophecy his flaw could cause the downfall of the world. Percy wants to argue, but is left speechless, thinking "she is pretty darn smart".
Athena was "pretty darn smart", and Percy makes a note that she would be one of the worst gods to have as an enemy, as she is smart and would not make a mistake or act rashly, but would just keep hunting you down. The goddess leaves after warning him that she does not approve of his relationship with her daughter, Annabeth.
Athena knows that Typhon is a distraction, and that Kronos sent him through the United States to get them away from Olympus, so he could send his army to overtake it. She convinces Zeus to send Hermes to tell them that it is a trap and gives them information. She tells Annabeth to "Try Plan 23" and Percy to "Remember the rivers", and also to stay away from her daughter. However, the demigods from Camp Half-Blood defend their parents' thrones and many die in the process.
Athena later tasks Annabeth as the designer to rebuild Olympus. She praises Annabeth's abilities to everyone making Annabeth very proud. She also votes for awarding Percy immortality, though she turns to look at Annabeth when she says this and most likely noticed her stricken expression at the thought of losing Percy. After the council meeting, Athena privately talks to Percy saying that she could have been wrong about him, but not necessarily say she was. Later, Athena asked why Percy would give up immortality and he first says that he could not leave Annabeth and then quickly adds that he could not leave Grover Underwood either. She then quickly tells Percy to "spare her" and disappears in a column of flame that singes his shirt.
While flying to Camp Jupiter on the Argo II, Annabeth became nervous and wished she could pray to Athena, but that was impossible. She also mentioned a meeting with her mother about a month ago, where she was given the worst present of her life from her meeting. The Romans, after conquering the Greeks, decided to crush their rivals by stealing the Athena Parthenos, breaking their and Athena's spirit. The Romans changed Athena and reduced her to a goddess of crafts and wisdom, taking away her title as a war goddess and replacing her with other gods like Bellona and Mithras, much to her anger. Since her counterpart, Minerva, was a strict maiden, Reyna, Octavian, Terminus, and the other Romans at New Rome were distraught to see her daughter Annabeth, calling it scandalous.
While on the Argo II on the way to Rome, Annabeth recalls her meeting with Athena prior to the beginning of the journey. Annabeth thought she saw her mother near Sweet on America where she was studying a map, wishing that Odysseus was there to aid her. Annabeth tried to talk to her, but she was in the form of Minerva and had no recollection of Annabeth as her daughter. She claimed that the Romans reduced her importance, but Annabeth states that Athena is not about revenge. As Minerva however, the goddess only seems to crave vengeance for how they disgraced her. When Annabeth asks for help on locating Percy, she says that since Percy has allied with the Romans, he should perish with them and then she hands Annabeth a coin. She then tells Annabeth to avenge her and to "follow the mark", before restating she needed to find the way home.
In Charleston, Aphrodite states that Athena was affected the most by the splitting of the Greek and Roman gods. Later, in the lair of Arachne, Annabeth states that Arachne was better than Athena in the weaving of tapestries and starts to doubt her mom's ability as several of Arachne's weavings are better than those of her mother. After trapping the spider in a Chinese finger-cuff that she got Arachne to weave, Annabeth gloats on how the arachnid had done a great service to Athena by protecting the Athena Parthenos, but Arachne decides to destroy her lair instead of seeing Annabeth win. Before the floor completely caves in, the Argo II blasts a whole in the ceiling and saves Annabeth as Arachne fell into the pit to Tartarus. They load the statue of Athena onto the Argo II, but Arachne managed to pull Annabeth and Percy into the pit using her thread that was still attached to Annabeth.
Athena appears in Annabeth's dream while she is in Tartarus with Percy Jackson, telling her that she has done well in her quest to retrieve the Athena Parthenos. However, she also tells her that the statue has to be returned by the Romans at Camp Half Blood, in order to seal the rift between both camps.
When Reyna fights the giant Orion, her sheer bravery impresses Athena who gives her part of aegis for her cloak. Aegis shields Reyna from a powerful blast and she is stunned when Athena speaks to her to tell her about giving her aegis. During Reyna's subsequent attack on Orion, she can sense both Athena and Bellona supporting her though neither appear in person to help. Instead, they give Reyna the strength she needs to kill Orion on her own. Reyna is able to use her aegis-infused cloak to strangle Orion to death and returns the Athena Parthenos to Camp Half-Blood which heals the division between Greek and Roman and the conflict between all of the gods, including Athena's split personalities.
Athena appears during the battle at Athens with the Giants. She is dressed in full Greek battle armor and helps slay one of them with her daughter Annabeth, her sanity fully restored and no longer afflicted between her vengeful Roman counterpart Minerva. She is seen later rebuking the advancements of Hermes with her shield Aegis and gives advice to the Olympian council when the demigods are trying to decide on the best way to reach Camp Half-Blood in time to stop Gaea and the Romans from attacking.
When facing the god Serapis, Annabeth finds that Athena has removed all of her books from her backpack and left her a square of ambrosia and her magical Yankess cap instead. Annabeth is stunned as the cap hasn't worked since her argument with Minerva and realizes that if Athena herself is getting involved, Serapis must truly be a major threat. Using her restored cap, Annabeth and Sadie Kane are able to defeat Serapis and Annabeth interprets the return of her cap as a message from Athena that her days of using stealth to defeat an enemy aren't over yet and she will need it in the future.
As far as gods go, Athena can be very sympathetic, as shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods: once, Tiresias, a mortal man, saw her bathing naked. While Athena did blind him, she then sent snakes to protect him and gave him supernatural powers to see the future, amongst other things.
Athena is a very disciplined, quick thinking, and wise goddess. She is very brilliant and always takes precautions before acting, for obvious reasons. Percy notes in The Titan's Curse that Athena might be the worst enemy someone could make, even among the gods, as she would never give up or make a rash mistake simply because she hated you. She loves all of her demigod children, and seems to be a caring mother. She is the only known god who claims her children at birth. She gave her daughter Annabeth the gift of a cap that turns the wearer invisible. In one of Percy's dreams in The Battle of the Labyrinth, she is shown to have blessed both Daedelus and his young nephew Perdix. She later punishes Daedalus for killing Perdix by branding him with a partridge (the mark of a murderer). She is later so impressed with Reyna that she grants her part of aegis and her strength in the battle with Orion despite Reyna being a daughter of Bellona and not Athena.
Athena is also usually kind to other demigods. She often aids heroes on their quests, even helping Percy at one point while he was in the Hoover Dam. Athena is somewhat cold and calculating at times. She voted against letting Percy live in The Titan's Curse, because she did not want to risk him staying alive. Athena is also known for never giving up, and crossing her is a mistake. When Paris picked Aphrodite as the most beautiful goddess instead of her, Athena took the side of the Greeks in the Trojan War and used every power within her to bring him down. In the book, Athena is seen as a strict and proud goddess, as seen with her original conflict with Arachne. In The Lightning Thief (movie), she is less strict and did not show any sign of not liking Poseidon or Percy. She even states that "War is not the answer". This is perhaps a little paradoxical, as she is a goddess of war. However being the goddess of strategy, she knew that a war between the gods was not the answer and would only lead to unneeded sacrifice.
Athena is described as very beautiful, with long black hair and intense gray eyes (which look as if Athena is thinking of a million things at once). Also, when Percy first sees her, and nearly mistakes her for Annabeth, in spite of the goddess' hair being black instead of blonde. In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Athena is described as wearing elegant flowing gray robes, Greek battle armor, and a golden helmet on her head, which is decorated with pictures of gryphons, and sphinxes.
However, as a goddess, Athena can change her appearance at will. As shown in The Titan's Curse, she is shown as an average looking Park Ranger at the Hoover Dam. She is said to be beautiful and lean. She wears an elegant white dress. It is said Annabeth looks a lot like her mother, and has the same gray eyes and cold stare. In some myths she is said to be able to turn into a white owl. In The Titan's Curse, she is seen with black hair. She is also said to be one of the most beautiful goddesses since many men fawn over her but she uses her powers to do horrible things to them if they do not leave on her first warning. Because of this, Athena gets along with Artemis well, being seen having similar personalities and often conduct conversations.
- Main article: Minerva
Athena can change into her Roman counterpart of Minerva. Unlike the other gods, as Minerva she is less warlike and militaristic and is instead a goddess of crafts and wisdom. She also remains a maiden goddess in this form, but re-frames from having any children at all, unlike Athena who is able to have "Brain Children." Because the Romans depicted Minerva as a more cerebral and demure goddess, she dislikes the Romans despite being a Roman god, as they took away all her military importance and stole her statue.
As a daughter of Zeus, Athena is an extremely powerful goddess:
- Prowess in Battle: As the goddess of battle, Athena is a great warrior, and a master of both armed and hand-to-hand combat, but frequently uses her wisdom to overcome her opponents instead of sheer force. As revealed in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Athena learned all of her great combat skills from the nymphs of Lake Tritonis. As a result, Athena and her best friend Pallas would frequently engage in sparring matches, which were described as so intense, that Zeus finally intervened, worried for his daughter's safety. During the First Giant War, Athena was able to defeat the fire-breathing Enceladus (the most cunning Giant) with the help of Hercules.
- Divine Wisdom: As the goddess of wisdom, Athena is very wise, intelligent, and knowledgeable, constantly coming up with brilliant strategies. She was also able to see that Typhon was only a decoy in Kronos' plan to defeat the gods. However, she tends to measure the odds without taking her own or others feelings into account, leading to her voting to destroy Percy in The Titan's Curse (but she was out voted). Due to her wisdom, she was the one Zeus trusted to check on the imprisoned Titans in Tartarus.
- Strategist: As the goddess of strategy, she is a very skilled tactician (greater than even Ares), since unlike him, Athena only uses violence as a last resort after thinking things through and planning for the long term before acting.
- Crafts: As the goddess of crafts, Athena is an incredibly skilled craftswoman. However, she is best known for her skills in weaving, shown during her encounter with Arachne in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods.
- Telumkinesis: As the goddess of battle, Athena has great control over any weapon.
- Shapeshifting: Athena can transform into an owl like in The Last Olympian. It is unknown if she can turn into other animals also. Athena also appeared as a park ranger at the Hoover Dam in The Titan's Curse. As seen in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Athena can even transform herself into pure consciousness: after learning the skill from her mother Metis, Athena was able to use this ability to travel from Zeus' stomach into his head.
- Athena was able to teleport Annabeth's books out of her bag and replace them with her Yankees cap and a square of ambrosia.
Athena's attributes are her spear, and the olive tree, while owls and serpents are her sacred animals. She is also the patron goddess of Athens, which was named after her. As revealed in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Athena is usually referred to as "Athena Pallas", in honor of Pallas, her dear childhood friend. Athena's greatest statue (and the most famous Greek statue of all time) is the Athena Parthenos, which initially stood in the middle of the Athenian Parthenon, covered in ivory and gold. However, when Athens was conquered by the Romans, they stole it, so that Athena could no longer be a symbol of Greek military power. The Athena Parthenos itself is described as resembling Athena perfectly, and "even scarier than Arachne". Athena has a shield named aegis which is powerful against monsters. As shown with Reyna, just a piece of aegis is powerful enough to absorb an explosion that would've destroyed a yacht.
Although she is counted as a virgin goddess, Athena can conceive children by joining her mind with her lovers. This means the offspring are literally "brain children". It is believed that this ability of Athena's was influenced by the fact she came out of Zeus's brain in full battle armor.
|Jean Bartholdi||Frederic Bartholdi|
|Frederick Chase||Annabeth Chase|
|Metion||Daedalus, Eupalamus, and Sicyon|
|Augustine Washington||George Washington|
Athena has shown to be the most active goddess, secretly protecting her children from monsters such as when Annabeth ran away, she protected Annabeth until she met Thalia and Luke.
- She gave Annabeth a cap of invisibility (a Yankees cap) though it lost its power in The Mark of Athena when she and Annabeth argued. She later restores it to Annabeth in a moment of need in the Staff of Serapis.
- Along with restoring Annabeth's Yankees cap, Athena left her a square of ambrosia for her fight against Serapis.
- She gave Daedalus and Perdix her blessing of wisdom.
- When Reyna proves herself, despite not being related, Athena is so impressed she grants her part of aegis to help her in the battle with Orion and is said to have lent Reyna her strength along with Bellona even though she didn't appear in person.
- According to Reyna, Athena would sometimes gift her chosen heroes with pieces of aegis.
Athena is played by Melina Kanakaredes. She played a more major role than the other gods at Olympus, besides Zeus and Poseidon. She was seen talking to Zeus about the threat of war between the gods if the Master Bolt is not returned, trying to convince him that 'war is not the answer'. When peace is declared by Zeus, Annabeth says 'Hi, mom,' and Athena tells her that she is very proud of her.
While they were in the Parthenon, Percy sees 'Athena' written in Greek at the foot of her statue, and when he tells Annabeth, she wonders whether her mom really looks like the statue. Percy, in response, tells her 'We'll find out,' indicating that he is confident they will survive the quest and make it to Olympus.
Annabeth also mentions that her mother had been speaking to her telepathically to help her, similar to how Poseidon spoke to Percy, saying that even though she had not seen her, she still felt close to her mother.
Melina Kankaredes did not return for The Sea of Monsters film.
- Pallas, one of the largest asteroids in the asteroid belt, is named after Pallas Athene Parthenos, one of Athena's alternative names.
- Her hair color is black in The Titan's Curse and blonde in The Sea of Monsters.
- Athena is one of only two current Olympians who is a virgin.
- She is the only Virgin goddess who has children.
- Minerva, her Roman counterpart, is displayed on the medal of honor, the highest military decoration awarded by the United States Government.
- She highly dislikes Percy and Annabeth together because of the rivalry between Poseidon and her.
- In the series, Frederic Bartholdi designed the The Statue of Liberty as a representation of his mother, Athena.
- In Greek mythology, the goddess Athena never had any children except for Erichthonius, who like Athena's other children, was not born in the traditional sense.
- In some Greek myths, Athena was the goddess of magic. The Percy Jackson series contradicted this by making Daedalus her son as well.
- Much like Aphrodite, Athena's shapeshifting ability has been emphasized more than the other gods.
- In one Greek myth, instead of turning Arachne into a spider, Arachne hung herself, then Athena felt bad and turned her into a spider and brought her back to life in that body.
- In the series, Athena is described to have grey eyes. However, it is also her famous nickname, "Grey-eyed".
- The first letter of her name 'A' is the same as the first letter in her daughter Annabeth's name.
- ↑ The Mark of Athena, page 32