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7. Athiná - (Athena; Gr. Ἀθηνᾶ, ΑΘΗΝΑ.  Pronunciation: ah-thee-NAH', the accent falling on the first and also the final syllable, or not accenting any syllable.)
Athiná is one of the most important deities in the pantheon of Ællinismόs (Hellenismos; Gr. Ἑλληνισμός), the ancient Greek religion, and one of the Twelve Olympian Gods

Athiná is the daughter of Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς) and Mítis (Metis; Gr. Μῆτις), these two from which one can derive much of her character, as she has the surpassing ascendancy of her father and the wisdom of Mítis. According to Isíodos (Hesiod; Gr. Ἡσίοδος) in Thæogonía (Theogonia; Gr. Θεογονία), Zefs swallowed Mítis while she was pregnant with Athiná for fear that Mítis would give birth to a son who would overthrow him. Íphaistos (Hephaestus; Gr. Ἥφαιστος) split the head of Zefs with an ax, giving birth to Athiná in full battle-gear. There are other, conflicting versions of Athiná's parentage.

Generalities Concerning Athiná

According to the Orphic Rhapsodic TheogonyAthiná is the very embodiment of Virtue [1] .

Athiná is 
prudently warlike in that she protects the state from external enemies.  She is the protectoress and companion of heroes such as Odysséfs (Odysseus; Gr. Ὀδυσσεύς) and Pærséfs (Perseus; Gr. Περσεύς), who are distinguished for their valor and strength of character. 

Athiná is a great Goddess of wisdom, knowledge, art, those things and institutions which civilize man and distribute wise counsel. She maintains and protects law and justice and has an interest in everything which creates stability, strength and abundance in the state. 

Athiná Ærgáni (Ergane; Gr. Ἐργάνη) is epithet of the Goddess in her role as the patroness of invention, weaving, various crafts, and martial metalwork and martial craft. She invented all sorts of womanly arts. She invented numbers, the trumpet, the chariot, and navigation. According to the Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony, she, along with Íphaistos, was taught by the Kýklohpæs (Cyclopes; Gr. Κύκλωπες) the skills necessary to create all the works of heaven [2] .

Athiná has a great interest in agriculture and she protects the fields. She invented the plow and rake, the olive, and taught people to yoke oxen, as well as the breeding and taming of horses.  

Like Ártæmis (Artemis; Gr. Ἄρτεμις) and Æstía (Hestia Gr. Ἑστία), Athiná is a virgin Goddess (referring to a type of purity and having nothing to do with sex, but, nonetheless, in iconography, she is never depicted nude), hence she is known as Athiná Parthǽnos (virgin; Parthenos; Gr. Παρθένος).

According to the Orphic Rhapsodic TheogonyAthiná is the leader of the Kourítæs (Curetes; Gr. Κουρῆτες). [3] 

Appropriate offerings to Athiná are aromatic herbs (as proposed in the Orphic hymn to the Goddess), olive leaves, and cakes in the shape of the owl, serpent, and cock, animals which are sacred to her. Also appropriate as offerings are cakes in the shape of the bull, cow, and ram, as these animals were sacrificed to her in antiquity.

Athiná in Iconography 

"Her representation, as the Goddess of war, by Homer (Iliás v.904-940.), is most sublime. She is otherwise depicted (see Iliás vi.115.) with a majestic and yet serene air, and in a sitting posture; but she is seldom without a helmet, a spear, a (ed. round, Argolic) shield, and the ægis (ed. breastplate, said to be made of the skin of the goat Amáltheia [Gr. Ἀμάλθεια] and given to her by Zefs). The dying head of Medusa is upon her shield (ed. the Gorgóneiön, the head of the Gorgon; Gr. Γοργόνειον), and sometimes upon her breast-plate and helmet, with living serpents writhing round it. The ornaments of her helmet are differently described by antiquarians; on some medals it is surmounted by a chariot drawn by four horses; on others by a serpent with winding spires, or a cock (ed. also decorated with Griffins, rams, sphinxes). (ed. Athiná usually wears a sleeveless tunic over which is a cloak or chlamys.) As the Isis of the Egyptians, who proclaimed the season of the year, when the husbandmen were to apply themselves exclusively to the fabrication linen, she was represented sitting on a pedestal with a weaver's beam in her right hand. As the Isis of Sais, she appears armed, standing on a globe (the symbol of the universe), with a spear in her left hand and an owl (the symbol of the evening sacrifice) at her feet. Among animals, the serpent was sacred to her; among birds, the owl and the cock; among plants, the olive; and of months, that of March (ed. for the Romans?)." [4] The eyes of Athiná are said to be gray-blue.

Athiná Parthænos and the Parthænóhn

Originally housed in the Parthænóhn (Parthenon; Gr. Παρθενών) at the Akrópolis (Acropolis; Gr. Ακρόπολις) of Athínai (Athens; Gr. Ἀθῆναι), the famous 38' statue of Athiná Parthǽnos (as demonstrated in many copies; the original has perished), constructed of gold and ivory, by the sculptor Pheidías (Phidias; Gr. Φειδίας), shows her wearing a helmet adorned with a sphinx flanked by two winged horses or griffins. In her right hand, Athiná Parthǽnos holds a statue of Níki (Nike; Gr. Νίκη), the Goddess of Victory, four cubits in height. Her left hand rests on the shield and a spear is at her side. At the foot of the shield is the Ærikhthónios (Erichthonius; Gr. Ἐριχθόνιος) serpent. She wears the golden Aiyís on which is depicted the Gorgóneiön.

Athiná and the Ancient City of Athens

Athiná was the patron Goddess of ancient Athens, and how this came about is related in a myth:

"Kekrops, a son of the soil, with a body compounded of man and serpent, was the first king of Attika, and the country which was formerly called Acte he named Cecropia after himself. In his time, they say, the Gods resolved to take possession of cities in which each of them should receive his own peculiar worship. So Poseidon was the first that came to Attika, and with a blow of his trident on the middle of the Acropolis, he produced a sea which they now call Erekhtheis. After him came Athena, and, having called on Kekrops to witness her act of taking possession, she planted an olive tree, which is still shown in the Pandrosion. But when the two strove for possession of the country, Zeus parted them and appointed arbiters, not, as some have affirmed, Kekrops and Kranaus, nor yet Erysikhthon, but the Twelve Gods. (ed. the Olympians) And in accordance with their verdict the country was adjudged to Athena, because Kekrops bore witness that she had been the first to plant the olive. Athena, therefore, called the city Athens after herself, and Poseidon in hot anger flooded the Thriasian plain and laid Attika under the sea." [5]

And then there is the story of Ærikhthónios (Erichthonius; Gr.Ἐριχθόνιος), who is sometimes equated with Ærækhthéfs (Erechtheus; Gr. Ἐρεχθεύς):

"Some say that this Erichthonius was a son of Hephaestus and Atthis, daughter of Cranaus, and some that he was a son of Hephaestus and Athena, as follows: Athena came to Hephaestus, desirous of fashioning arms. But he, being forsaken by Aphrodite, fell in love with Athena, and began to pursue her; but she fled. When he got near her with much ado (for he was lame), he attempted to embrace her; but she, being a chaste virgin, would not submit to him, and he dropped his seed on the leg of the Goddess. In disgust, she wiped off the seed with wool and threw it on the ground; and as she fled and the seed fell on the ground, Erichthonius was produced. Him Athena brought up unknown to the other Gods, wishing to make him immortal; and having put him in a chest, she committed it to Pandrosus, daughter of Cecrops, forbidding her to open the chest. But the sisters of Pandrosus opened it out of curiosity, and beheld a serpent coiled about the babe; and, as some say, they were destroyed by the serpent, but according to others they were driven mad by reason of the anger of Athena and threw themselves down from the acropolis. Having been brought up by Athena herself in the precinct, Erichthonius expelled Amphictyon and became king of Athens; and he set up the wooden image of Athena in the acropolis, and instituted the festival of the Panathenaea." [6]

Athiná, Apóllohn, and Zagréfs-Diónysos

Athiná is woven into the mythology of Zagréfs (Zagreus; Gr. Ζαγρεὐς). After the seven pairs of Titánæs (Titans; Gr. Τιτᾶνες) lured baby-Zagréfs away from his thunderbolts with their Basket of Toys, they cut him into pieces but placed the heart and limbs aside. They then fastened the remaining pieces on spits, roasted them, and ate some in a great sacrifice. Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων) carefully gathered the tiny limbs of Zagréfs and interred them at Mount Parnassós (Parnassus; Gr. Παρνασσός). Athiná, with great solicitude, lifted his precious heart, still warm and beating, and placed it in a beautiful silver box, delivering it to her father to be conceived in the womb of Sæmǽli (Semele; Gr. Σεμέλη) and reborn from the leg of Zefs (Zeus; Gr. Ζεύς) as Diónysos (Dionysus; Gr. Διόνυσος). [8]

Athiná, Apóllohn, and Ærmís

Athiná, Apóllohn, and Ærmís (Hermes) work together as a great triad for the benefit of the Virtuous. This can be gleaned from the close proximity they share in the plays of the great tragedians and in the mythology in general.

The Orphic Hymn to Athiná

Please follow this link to a page which includes the ancient Greek text of the Orphic Hymn to Athiná, a transliteration for easy pronunciation, and the translation into English by Thomas Taylor. The hymn is then broken down, word-for-word, so that the reader may fully understand its meaning.: The Orphic Hymn to Athiná

Athiná and Orphismós

Athiná rules the seventh Orphic House, the month of Kriós (Aries; Gr. Κριός) from March 21 through April 20, and her dominion is the Natural Law of Allilæpídrasis (Co-Influence; Gr. Ἀλληλεπίδρασις). The Goddess Athiná presides over the Equinox at the commencement of Kriós, March 21. The Divine Consort of the Goddess Athiná is Ærmís (Hermes; Gr. Ἑρμῆς). They are called the youngest of the Olympians. Both Athiná and Ærmís are the great cultivators of the soul. Metaphorically, Ærmís is the plow which Athiná guides. When the seven centers of the soul have been opened, Athiná unites them into a cylinder; she cultivates, like a Aithirial phallic plow, and prepares the soul for the influence of the divine. The Orphic Hymns suggest the offering of aromatic herbs to Athiná.


Please visit this page: The Epithets of Athiná

 beautiful embroidery of 
Athiná, very old, in the possession of our community: Athiná, Queen of Athens

The story of the birth of the GodsOrphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

Introduction to the Thæí (the Gods): The Nature of the Gods.

(for a key to the abbreviations, scroll down near the bottom of this page: GLOSSARY HOME PAGE)

[1] Otto Kern Orphic Fragment 175. See Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony: The Fifth King.

[2] Otto Kern Orphic Fragment 179. See Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony: The Fifth King.

[3] Otto Kern Orphic Fragments 151, 185, and 186. See Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony: The Fifth King. 

[4] CM p. 46.

[5] Pseudo-Apollódohros (Apollodorus; Gr. Ἀπολλόδωρος)Vivliothíki (Bibliotheca; Gr. Βιβλιοθήκη) 3.14.1, trans. by J. G. Frazer, 1921. We are using the 1990 Loeb Classical Library edition entitled Apollodorus: The Library, LCL 121, Harvard Univ. Press (Cambridge, MA & London, England).

[6] Apollódohros (Apollodorus; Gr. Ἀπολλόδωρος) Βιβλιοθήκη (The Library) 3.16.6, trans. by J. G. Frazer, 1921, In the publication entitled Apollodorus: The Library, Vol. 2; we are using the 1989 Loeb Classical Library edition, LCL 122, Harvard Univ. Press (Cambridge, MA), William Heineman (London, England), where this quotation may be found on pp. 89-91.

[7] See Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony: The Sixth King

The logo to the left is the principal symbol of this website. It is called the CESS logo, i.e. the Children of the Earth and the Starry Sky. The 
Pætilía (Petelia; Gr. Πετηλία) and other golden tablets having this phrase are the inspiration for the symbol. The image represents this idea: Earth (divisible substance) and the Sky (continuous substance) are the two kozmogonic substances. The twelve stars represent the Natural Laws, the dominions of the Olympian Gods. In front of these symbols is the seven-stringed kithára (cithara; Gr. κιθάρα), the lyre of Apóllohn (Apollo; Gr. Ἀπόλλων). It (here) represents the bond between Gods and mortals and is representative that we are the children of Orphéfs (Orpheus; Gr. Ὀρφεύς).

PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the pages of this website, you will find fascinating stories about our Gods. These narratives are known as 

, the traditional stories of the Gods and Heroes. While these tales are great mystical vehicles containing transcendent truth, they are symbolic and should not be taken literally. A literal reading will frequently yield an erroneous result. The meaning of the myths is concealed in code. To understand them requires a key. For instance, when a God kills someone, this usually means a transformation of the soul to a higher level. Similarly, sexual union with a God is a transformation.

The story of the birth of the Gods: Orphic Rhapsodic Theogony.
We know the various qualities and characteristics of the Gods based on metaphorical stories: Mythology
Dictionary of terms related to ancient Greek mythology: Glossary of Hellenic Mythology.

SPELLING: uses the Reuchlinian method of pronouncing ancient Greek, the system preferred by scholars from Greece itself. An approach was developed to enable the student to easily approximate the Greek words. Consequently, the way we spell words is unique, as this method of transliteration is exclusive to this website. For more information, visit these three pages: 

PHOTO COPYRIGHT INFORMATION: The many pages of this website incorporate images, some created by the author, but many obtained from outside sources. To find out more information about these images and why this website can use them, visit this link: Photo Copyright Information

DISCLAIMER: The inclusion of images, quotations, and links from outside sources does not in any way imply agreement (or disagreement), approval (or disapproval) with the views of by the external sources from which they were obtained.

Further, the inclusion of images, quotations, and links from outside sources does not in any way imply agreement (or disagreement), approval (or disapproval) by of the contents or views of any external sources from which they were obtained.

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For answers to many questions: Hellenismos FAQ

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