|“||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, civilization, mathematics, strategy, defensive warfare, crafts, the arts, and skill. She is often portrayed as a companion of heroes and is the patron of heroic endeavor. Her Roman counterpart is Minerva.
Birth and Accession to the Olympians
Athena was born to Zeus and his first wife, the Titaness Metis. A prophecy had once foretold that Metis would give birth to a daughter and then a son who would be more powerful than his father, which 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 whole.
However, Metis took the form of intelligence and gave birth to a daughter, who grew inside her father's head. Over time, Zeus began experiencing a terrible headache, so Hephaestus offered to put Zeus out of his misery by splitting open his head with an awl and hammer. According to Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Zeus commanded Hephaestus to cut open his head and sew it back up. While most of the other Olympians held Zeus down on his throne, Hephaestus created a fissure, thick enough for Athena to squeeze her way out, after which she grew into a full-size goddess wearing battle armor and holding a spear, much to the astonishment of the other gods. In some sources, it is said that Helios himself stopped in the sky in astonishment.
Despite the misgivings of the other gods, Zeus insisted that they welcome Athena into their ranks. She officially became one of the Olympians as the Goddess of Wisdom and Warfare and Queen Hera's greatest enemy. She taught the Greeks numerous skills essential for their evolution, such as mathematics, utilizing the oxen to plow their fields, and artisan activities such as weaving.
Despite her being the goddess of warfare, Athena didn't actually enjoy combat, but accepted it as an inevitable necessity at times. She was more focused on minimizing casualties and achieving victory through wise strategies. Through her actions, Athena quickly became Zeus's favorite daughter and constantly consults her for advice. In The Iliad, Ares in fact accuses Zeus of favoring Athena above the others.
Creation of Pandora
When her father, Zeus, decided to create the irresistible Pandora in order to punish Epimetheus for his brother, Prometheus', actions, Athena helped the girl by gifting her with wit and curiosity. In addition to that, she taught Pandora how to weave and make crafts of various types. This generous act helped Pandora utilize her time and get rid of boredom.
Rivalry with Poseidon
For many eons, Athena and Poseidon 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, and in another version, and horses, while Athena gave them the olive tree. Seeing that the olive tree was more useful than the salt-water spring and horse for the city, its leader Kekrops 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.
The next time which marked a conflict between the two Olympians was when Athena responded to the prayers of Coronis, whom Poseidon was trying to seduce. She saved the woman by transforming her into a raven. As a result, a furious Poseidon longed for revenge. Hence, he took his new lover, the priestess Medusa, into a temple of Athena. Furious with Poseidon and Medusa for doing disgusting 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 became known as the "Three Gorgons." After receiving Medusa's Head as a sacrifice from her half-brother Perseus, Athena gave the head as a gift to her father Zeus, who sent it to Hephaestus in order to create the Aegis. Zeus would trust the shield to his daughter from time to time. In The Titan's Curse, Zeus gave the Aegis to Thalia Grace, his daughter, as a gift. However, many sources also claim that the creation of Medusa was a blessing to her, as she had been Athena's favored priestess, and Poseidon had taken advantage of her within Athena's temple. Unable to punish Poseidon, Athena instead gave Medusa the ability to turn any man who tried to hurt her again into stone.
Another time both Athena and Poseidon were at odds was about the matter of the hero Odysseus. While Poseidon was furious with him for blinding his son Polyphemus, Athena favored Odysseus above all other mortals due to his always using cleverness instead of strength and was always willing to aid him when he needed it most. Though it seemed unlikely that Athena and Poseidon would ever cooperate, this did happen when the chariot was invented, as she had built the chariot itself and Poseidon had created the horses needed to pull it.
Life with Pallas
Shortly after her emergence from her father's head, Zeus sent Athena to live with the nymphs of Lake Tritonis since their warlike nature appealed to her. She would get along famously with them. Under their tutelage, Athena would come to become a master of both armed and hand-to-hand combat. Her dearest friend (or often seen as girlfriend, without any sexual activities), however, was Pallas, the only nymph who could sometimes match her in combat.
One day, the two engaged in a sparring match with such speed and intensity that Zeus, who happened to be watching them at the time, mistook it for a genuine mortal duel. Worried for his daughter's safety, he appeared in the sky right behind Athena and held up his fearsome Aegis shield, which greatly unnerved and startled Pallas due to the Head of Medusa on it. Without noticing her father's presence at first, Athena proceeded to disarm her friend of her javelin and counterattacked, stabbing at Pallas's gut. However, Pallas was too slow because she was still going over her shock, so Athena ended up accidentally fatally piercing her with her sword.
A devastated Athena honored her best friend with a sacred monument, building a wooden replica of Pallas and draping a small section of her Aegis cloak over its shoulders. This statue would eventually end up in the city of Troy, becoming known as the Palladium (meaning "Place of Pallas"), where women were allowed to claim sanctuary while men were forbidden from even looking at the statue. Since Pallas's statue greatly resembled Athena herself, people would eventually begin referring to the goddess herself as "Pallas Athena," which the goddess encouraged as it helped her keep Pallas's memory alive.
Lives of Erikthonius and Daedalus
Hephaestus developed strong romantic feelings for Athena because their similar interests in tools and penchant for solving mechanical problems. Unfortunately for him, Athena became one of the Virgin Goddesses and didn't want to marry anyone. However, Hephaestus persistently followed and flirted with Athena until he finally flung himself at her, wrapping his arms around her waist and tearfully burying his face in her skirt. In the process, some of his divine sweat and tears rubbed off on her bare leg, much to her chagrin. She kicked Hephaestus away, snatched up a piece of cloth to wipe the godly moisture off of her, hurled the cloth off Olympus, and ran away from her persistent admirer.
Containing the essence of both gods, the cloth would subsequently transform into a mortal baby boy, who Athena found and named Erikthonius. She placed her "son" into a wooden chest, along with a magically conjured serpent, with the intention of his godly qualities eventually being enhanced by the serpent and making him immortal. The snake soon turned into one of Athena’s sacred animals, along with the owl and cat. Athena took the chest to the Athenian Acropolis (her most sacred place) and gave it to the daughters of Kekrops while warning them not to open it. While the princesses agreed, they would be overcome with curiosity after only one night and opened the chest. After seeing Erikthonius and the serpent, the princesses became insane and promptly jumped off the side of the Acropolis' cliffs to their deaths. As the chest was opened, the spell was broken before Erikthonius could become immortal and the serpent slithered away. However, Athena would eventually take out her vengeance on Kekrops, whom a grown-up Erikthonius would banish and usurp his Athenian throne.
While she remained a virgin goddess, Athena had quite a few demigod children conceived when her divine thoughts met the mortal ingenuity of the men she favored, a love which she believed to be the of the purest kind. Her children are then born in the same way she was, quite literally making them brainchildren. One of Athena's most famous demigod children would be Daedalus. As shown in The Battle of the Labyrinth, she blessed both her son and her grandson Perdix. She later punished the jealous Daedalus for killing Perdix by branding him with a partridge, the mark of a murderer. By doing this, Athena cursed her son to live a long and tortured life.
Inventing the Flute
One day while walking in the woods near Athens, Athena discovered a nest of hissing snakes, which gave her a sudden idea for a musical instrument because of its hissing. She would fashion it from a hollowed out reed with holes, thereby creating the first flute. Proud of her achievement, Athena took the flute up to Mount Olympus, eager to perform in front of the other gods. As soon as she started playing, however, Aphrodite, Hera, and Demeter began giggling and whispering to each other. Athena was enraged, and yelled at the goddesses. Demeter and Aphrodite eventually pointed out that Athena's facial features comically contorted while she played.
An embarrassed Athena fled in humiliation and hurled the flute off of Olympus, cursing it to give the worst fortune to the next person to play it. Since the flute landed in Asia Minor, that person would end up being the satyr Marsyas, who was so stunned by the beautiful music that it created, since it had been filled with Athena's divine breath, that he actually challenged Apollo to a music competition. Due to her curse, Marsyas lost and was subsequently flayed alive by a victorious Apollo.
One night, Athena went to a swimming hole in central Greece for relaxation purposes. However, while the naked goddess stood bathing under a waterfall, she heard the cry of a mortal man named Teiresias, who had accidentally come across her. The startled and embarrassed Athena promptly blinded Teiresias. Since he was very apologetic, the goddess sent birds and snakes to lead and protect him (granting him the ability to understand their language) and gave him supernatural powers of precognition, which lead to Teiresias becoming a great prophet shortly thereafter.
Rivalry with Arachne
A long time ago, the mortal weaver Arachne challenged Athena to see who could create the best tapestry. Athena 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, though it was still beautiful. While Athena reluctantly admitted the contest was a tie, she was so infuriated by this deliberate insult to the gods that she destroyed the tapestry in rage and mercilessly beat on Arachne.
However, Athena became furious when the citizens laughed at her beating up Arachne and turned her wrath against them. Meanwhile, Arachne was filled with guilt and hung herself. After seeing Arachne's body, Athena 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.
In another version, Athena was chatting with some Ethiopian women, including Arachne, what life was on Mount Olympus, and the women were letting it just pass through their heads and forgetting it a minute later. But Arachne was the one who sucked it all in. Soon, Arachne boasted about her great weaving. Athena, filled with rage, came down from Olympus and challenged her to a weaving competition. In the end, both were equally good, and Athena ripped Arachne's (which was a weaving about how bad the gods were) weaving to shreds, and Arachne, recognizing her wrongs, hung herself from the ceiling, ready to drop to her death. Athena was a goddess that gave second chances, and she pitied Arachne, so consequentially, she became the world’s first spider.
Be it whatever reason, ever since then, every child Athena has suffered 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. Arachne’s name was borrowed into the English language, and “fear of spiders” became arachnophobia.
Enraged at her husband's infidelities and dictatorial ways, Hera decided to start a coup d'etat and gained support from other gods, including Poseidon, Apollo, and Athena herself. She provided unbreakable, tightening ropes to assist Hera in her plan. That evening, Apollo, Athena and Poseidon hid in the hall adjacent to the royal chambers, awaiting Hera's signal. As soon as Zeus had fallen asleep, all four of them quickly bound the King of Olympus with the magical ropes. Even chained up and completely immobilized, an infuriated Zeus looked very intimidating. Poseidon attempted to reason with his brother and demanded that Zeus be a better ruler, but Zeus refused, which prompted Hera to advocate leaving him chained up in his chambers until he agrees.
Shortly thereafter, the four Olympians departed for the Hall of the Gods for the first (and last) democratic meeting of the Olympian Council, which proved to be a very cumbersome task. The violently thrashing and bellowing King of Olympus was found by the Nereid Thetis. After convincing Zeus to not throw the rioters into Tartarus, Thetis then sought out the help of the Hekatonkheire Briares, who freed Zeus from Athena's magical ropes.
Subsequently, Zeus grabbed his Master Bolt and stormed into the throne room. After unleashing his divine wrath upon them, he punished almost all the rebels for their treason. Apollo and Poseidon were temporarily stripped of their godly powers and forced to work as laborers on Earth for years, while Hera was tied up and suspended on a rope across the Void of Chaos. Soon, Hera was freed by Hephaestus. Fortunately for her, Athena managed to completely evade Zeus's punishment by talking herself out of it, as well as due to their extremely close relationship as father and daughter (although it's quite possible Zeus didn't trust Athena as much as he used to since he gained a long-lasting distrust for Poseidon and Apollo from the riot and she was the one who wove the net the rioters used to capture Zeus, but eventually he got over it).
When Eris hurled the Apple of Discord into the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, bearing the inscription "For the fairest", Athena was one of the candidates who competed for it. The Trojan prince Paris was chosen to judge who was the most beautiful of the three goddesses: Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. Athena offered to make Paris wiser in battle if he chose her. However, she lost to Aphrodite, for Paris preferred the offer of the love goddess.
Furious, Athena took the side of the Greeks in the 10-year long Trojan War along with Hera and Poseidon. She mostly helped Odysseus, whom she finally gave the idea of the Trojan Horse. She also helped the hero Diomedes defeat Ares in a duel. In the course of the war, she cursed Ajax the Lesser with madness.
After Zeus allowed the Olympians to directly participate in the war, Athena and Ares engaged in single combat, in which she emerged as the victor and forced her half-brother to flee the battlefield. When Aphrodite attempted to help her, Athena also defeated her. Athena would later assist Odysseus again multiple times during his long journey back home to Ithaca.
Athena is seen when her daughter, Annabeth, is being lured by the Sirens, described as wearing hiking boots and jeans and casual clothing. She was sitting with Luke Castellan and Annabeth's father, Dr. Frederick Chase, supposedly at a picnic in the redesigned Manhattan that Annabeth designed.
|“||There is always a way out for those clever enough to find it.||”|
–To Percy Jackson
Athena disguises herself as a park ranger at the Hoover Dam and advises Percy on how to escape from the Skeleton Warriors (Percy later realized it was her since she had Annabeth's storm-gray eyes). It is likely that her desire to see her daughter Annabeth saved outweighed her misgivings of him (testifying that Athena truly loves Annabeth). After Percy escapes with Rachel Elizabeth Dare's help, he, Thalia Grace, Zoë Nightshade and Grover Underwood get trapped on the dam, but are saved when the giant metal angel statues, given to Zeus by Athena, carry them off after Thalia prays to her father.
At the Winter Solstice, when Zeus asks the council if Percy should be left alive as he could be dangerous, Athena, Ares and Dionysus (half-heartedly) don't raise their hands to defend him, but they were out-ruled by the majority. She 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: intense personal loyalty. Percy is understandably 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". She leaves after warning him that she does not approve of his relationship with her daughter (based on her rivalry with Poseidon). Upon Annabeth finding Percy with her, Athena moves on and Annabeth realizes that her mother was giving him a hard time much to her grief.
During the Battle of Manhattan, Athena realizes that Typhon is a distraction that Kronos sent through the United States to get the gods away from Olympus so he could send his army to overtake it. She finally convinces Zeus to send Hermes to tell the demigods that it is a trap. Through Hermes, Athena tells Annabeth to "Try Plan 23" and Percy to "Remember the rivers,". She also reminded him to stay away from her daughter, to the anger of both Percy and Annabeth. Despite her help, many demigods from Camp Half-Blood died in the process of defending their parents' thrones.
After the war, Athena tasks Annabeth as the designer to rebuild Olympus and praises her daughter's abilities in front of everyone, making Annabeth very proud. Athena votes for awarding Percy with immortality, though she turns to look at Annabeth when she says this and most likely noticed her daughter's 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. She also asked why Percy would give up immortality. He first says that he could not leave Annabeth before quickly adds that he couldn't leave his friend Grover either. Athena quickly tells Percy to "spare her" and disappears in a column of flames that singes his shirt after warning Percy she has given him the benefit of the doubt and not to "mess up".
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 both 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 in 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, because she was the most worshiped Greek god, being the patron of Athens itself. 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 hole 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, 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 greatly impresses Athena, who gives her part of her Aegis for her cloak. The 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 appears 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.
When Reyna, with the help of six pegasi, finally manages to place the Athena Parthenos on Half-Blood Hill, golden light ripples across the ground, seeping warmth into the bones of both Greek and Roman demigods and curing all of the Olympians (including Athena) of their split personalities. As a result, Athena promptly arrives in Athens to participate in the final battle with the Giants. She is dressed in full Greek battle armor and helps her daughter Annabeth slay Enceladus, after which Hades sends his body back to Tartarus. Athena's sanity is fully restored and no longer afflicted by her vengeful Roman counterpart, Minerva.
After the Giants' defeat, Athena is seen later rebuking the advancements of Hermes with her fearsome Aegis shield, and gives advice to the Olympian council (giving Jason a glance of approval) 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. Poseidon agrees that "for once" she is right. She watches as Zeus hurls the Argo II back to Camp Half-Blood.
While facing the hybrid god Serapis, Annabeth finds out that Athena has removed all of her books from her backpack and left her a square of ambrosia and her magical Yankees 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.
After the battle, Annabeth plays with the cap and thinks about why Athena had given it back to her with its magic restored. Annabeth feels like Athena seems to be sending her a message: "there will always be threats too powerful to face head-on. You are not done with stealth. You must tread carefully here."
Magnus Chase mentioned her as the mother of his cousin Annabeth.
She and the other Olympians watch Apollo during the Assault on Nero's Tower. She feels her brother is close to failure.
Two weeks later, she attends a meeting to welcome Apollo back to Olympus and she reveals she won the wager on his life, believing that he would win. After the meeting she leaves.
As the goddess of wisdom, Athena is exceptionally brilliant, quick-witted, and disciplined. She always takes precautions before acting and is the type of person who disapproved of taking considerable risks, which was the reason for her voting against letting Percy live in The Titan's Curse. Though this obviously left him with a negative opinion of her and made her seem cold and calculating, he still conceded with the reasons for her perspective and her opinion of his weaknesses. He actually noted that she might be the worst enemy someone could make, for she would never give up or make a rash mistake simply because she hated someone. Athena has a soft side for those who seek knowledge and tries to help them as much as she can. Examples of this include Odysseus, Perdix and Frederick Chase, whom she protected and greatly supported.
In battle, Athena is a fierce, astute, and extremely unpredictable warrior and tactician. Despite her calm and reserved demeanor, she could become intensely focused in a duel, to the extent where one could easily believe that she and her sparring partner were actually fighting to the death. An example of this could be seen in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, where she sparred with her friend Pallas so viciously that a concerned Zeus intervened. Athena is renowned for her frequent assistance of heroes on their quests, even if those heroes weren't her own children, such as Reyna whom she grants part of her own Aegis and her strength in the battle with Orion. She is able to put aside personal grudges (at least for a time) to either help those who were in desperate need or to serve the greater good of all. As seen in Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes, despite Bellerophon being a son of Poseidon, she still assisted him to capture and tame Pegasus, which set him on the path to becoming a hero. She later helped Percy while he was in the Hoover Dam in The Titan's Curse, though she still voted against his survival.
Athena had a sense of fairness and justice that even her own children weren't exempt from, an example being how she punished Daedalus for killing Perdix by branding him with a partridge. This extended to those who had offended her, as shown by how, despite her great anger towards Arachne, she still found Arachne's fellow citizens, who had benefited from Arachne and still quickly turned on their neighbor after she mercilessly beat on Arachne, to be disgusting for having laughed at the girl. Despite being the Goddess of War, Athena didn't actually enjoy combat but rather accepted it as an inevitable necessity at times. Unlike Ares, she was more focused on minimizing casualties while trying to achieve victory.
As far as gods go, Athena could be helpful and sympathetic even those who had initially offended her. An instance could be seen in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods: once she blinded the mortal Teiresias after he saw her bathing naked. However, after he explained his lack of nefarious intentions and how truly apologetic he was about the incident, her anger cooled and she gave him a staff and the ability to understand the language of the birds, though she didn't return his vision. Even against Arachne, who had earlier greatly offended her for challenging her to a waving contest and mocking the gods with her work, after she hung herself in shame, Athena had enough compassion to turn her into a spider so she and her children could be expert weavers.
However, Athena can be extremely prideful and stern, having a dark side like the other deities: she transformed Medusa and her sisters into the fearsome Gorgons just to get back at Poseidon and cursed the very flute that she had created only because playing it grotesquely altered her facial features. After Paris picked Aphrodite as the most beautiful goddess instead of her or Hera, Athena took the side of the Greeks in the Trojan War and did everything within her power to bring him down, a testament to her vanity and capacity for vengeance. In The Mark of Athena, Annabeth admits that the first thing all of Athena's children learn is that "mom is the best at everything and that any thought to the contrary is not taken well", showing that even her children aren't immune to the effects of her vanity (hence why hubris is the fatal flaw of her children). Despite her pride rivaling her father Zeus's, Athena is able to admit that she was in an error, something that wasn't within the nature of most deities or even remotely close. This was shown in The Last Olympian when she confessed to having been mistaken about Percy being a danger to the world (she was wrong about Percy, as he saved both his friends and the world).
The fact that she disapproved of her daughter Annabeth's love for Percy was because of both his fatal flaw and (mostly) because he was the son of her rival, displays Athena as biased. Although, out of affection for Annabeth, she's given them her blessing, however reluctantly.
In mythology, she is also described to have grey eyes, although some sources say they are blue. As a goddess, Athena is able to change her appearance at will, though she retains her stunning beauty and dignity no matter what physical manifestation she chooses.
In The Sea of Monsters, Percy sees a Siren-induced image of Athena and describes her as a beautiful blond woman with a strong resemblance to Annabeth. This is likely due because the Athena who appears in Sea of Monsters is only Annabeth's perception and not the actual one. Though she was casually dressed (blue jeans, a denim shirt, and hiking boots), there was something about her that radiated power.
In The Titan's Curse, Athena made her first appearance as a park ranger, with long black hair, pulled back in a ponytail and tinted glasses.
When Percy arrived on Olympus for second time, Athena was described as a beautiful woman in an elegant white dress. In The Blood of Olympus while helping her daughter battle Enceladus, Athena wears Imperial Gold armor overflowing white robes while wielding a spear and bronze Aegis shield, which sometimes change shape into a glowing mantle that glitters "as if woven through with filaments of Imperial Gold."
In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Athena is described as wearing elegant flowing gray robes, Greek battle armor, and an Imperial Gold helmet on her head, which is decorated with pictures of gryphons and sphinxes. In Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes, Athena wears a long white sleeveless dress, and held a spear and rectangular shield in her hands, with both items "glowing with magic."
In Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes, Perseus described Athena's face is beautiful and regal but also somewhat scary, the way a warrior goddess should look. Unlike any dull grey item on the Gray Sisters island, her stormy grey eyes are bright and "full of fierce energy." Percy also realized through her startlingly, cold grey stare that she would make a terrible enemy. He immediately recognized the brunette goddess as Annabeth's mother, to the extent where he almost addressed Athena as her daughter. Athena was viewed to be one of the most beautiful goddesses of all, given how she was perfectly capable of attracting male attention, but she employs her powers to do horrible things to them if they don't leave on her first warning.
- Main article: Minerva
Athena can change into her Roman counterpart of Minerva. Unlike the other gods, she is less warlike and militaristic, being instead a goddess of crafts and wisdom. 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. Minerva remains a virgin goddess in this form, but refrains from having any children at all, unlike Athena who is able to have "Brain Children."
Athena is known to be one of the most powerful daughters of Zeus, hence being an extremely powerful goddess. Due to her considerable influence, she bears a greater level of worship than most of the Olympians, which contributes to her powers greatly. The only gods who surpass her are the six oldest Olympians (the Big Three, Hera, Demeter, and Hestia). She is rivaled by both Apollo and Artemis.
- Divine Wisdom: As the Goddess of Wisdom, Athena is extremely wise, intelligent, and knowledgeable, constantly coming up with brilliant ideas. 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 outvoted). During the creation of Pandora in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, Athena gifted the girl with cleverness and curiosity. She taught the Greeks numerous skills, such as mathematics and utilizing the oxen to plow their fields. Due to her wisdom, Zeus trusted her to check on the imprisoned Titans in Tartarus.
- Strategic Skill: As the Goddess of Strategy, Athena is an exceptionally skilled tactician with great observation skills and superb capacity for planning for the long term before acting. Unlike Ares, she only uses violence as a last resort after thinking things through. Percy noted that Athena wouldn't make a mistake because she hated her target or held emotional opinions - if she made a plan to destroy an enemy, that plan would never fail. Zeus admires Athena's incredible tactical skills since he wouldn't let her leave the battle with Typhon because she was his best strategist. She was able to see that Typhon was only a decoy in Kronos' plan to defeat the gods. Along with her daughter, she made numerous battle plans of various lethal degrees in The Last Olympian.
- Craftsmanship: As the Goddess of Crafts, Athena is an incredibly skillful craftswoman. As shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, she was responsible for teaching Pandora crafts. As shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes, Athena helped Jason by drawing up blueprints for the Argo and carved its magical prow herself. She later created the Mark of Athena coin, which guides her demigod children to the Athena Parthenos.
- Inventions: While not quite as good at inventing things as Hephaestus and her half-brothers Hermes, Athena realized many notable inventions. In Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, she invented the bridle to enable men to tame horses and the first flute, which played beautifully for being filled with her divine breath that enabled Marsyas to temporarily hold his own in musical competition with Apollo. She notably designed and built the first chariot. Before the events of The Titan's Curse, she created two angelic automatons as a gift to her father.
- Weaving: Athena is best known for her talent in weaving, the very art she invented. In the Olympian riot in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, she made magical ropes capable of restraining Zeus himself, to the point he needed help from the Hekatonkheire Briares. During her contest with Arachne, Athena wove a flawless tapestry that was "majestic, breathtaking, and radiated the power of the Olympian gods", though the contest ended in a match.
- Audiokinesis: Being a goddess of the arts, she has an affinity for arts and music, though not quite on par with that of her half-brother Apollo.
- Persuasion: Athena is shown to be very eloquent, as she could manipulate other gods. She even avoided punishment from the Olympus Riot through talking with Zeus.
- Memorization: She can never forget what she hears.
- Prowess in Battle: As the Goddess of Warfare, Athena is a superb warrior and a complete 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, she learned all of her great combat skills from the nymphs of Lake Tritonis. She and Pallas would frequently engage in sparring matches, which were described as so intense that Zeus finally intervened. During the Trojan War, Athena managed to defeat Ares singlehandely and force him to flee the battlefield. She was able to defeat the fire-breathing Enceladus (the most cunning Giant) twice, with the help of Hercules and later Annabeth in The Blood of Olympus. In particular, Percy speculated that she would make an enemy ten times worse than Dionysus (dangerous when aroused to breaking point) and rivals in battle to Poseidon (one of the three mightiest Olympians).
- Telumkinesis: As the Goddess of Warfare, Athena has great control over any weapon, much like Ares.
- Weapon Conjuration: She can conjure any weapon, though she prefers to use her spear and Aegis.
- Weapon Curses: She can place curses on weapons.
- Weapon Omniscience: She knows everything about a weapon when she sees it.
- Disarmament: She can disarm her opponents with a gesture.
- Mystiokinesis (limited): Athena has control over magic, though not as much as Hecate. She infused her power on the Athena Parthenos statue (which acts as an incredible barrier) and enchanted a Yankees cap with the power of invisibility.
- Granting Aegis Portions: As shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes and The Blood of Olympus, Athena can imbues the cloaks of her chosen heroes with the invulnerability of her own Aegis cloak, which glitters with power.
- Chlorokinesis (limited): Though not as powerful as her aunt Demeter and her half-brother Dionysus, Athena has a degree of control over flora. She can influence the growth of certain plants, such as olive trees.
- Teleportation: She transported Annabeth's books out of her bag to replace them with her Yankees cap along with a square of ambrosia.
- Parthenogenesis: Athena can conceive children when her divine thoughts meet the mortal ingenuity of the men. Her children are born in the same way she was, literally making them "brainchildren". It is believed that this ability was influenced by the fact she came out of Zeus' brain.
- Life Creation: Athena has demonstrated the ability to manipulate reality itself to a considerable extent. She conjured up a magical serpent, which was intended to enhance the godly qualities of her son Erikhthonios in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods.
- Curses: Athena can place horrible curses on objects and people. As seen in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, she cursed a flute to give the worst fortune to the next person to play it, which ended up with the satyr Marsyas getting flayed alive by Apollo. She later cursed Teiresias with permanent blindness. In the Trojan War, she cursed Ajax the Lesser with madness. As shown in The Battle of the Labyrinth, she cursed her son Daedalus with a scarlet partridge-shaped mark that would never fade and to live a long, tortured life.
- Transfiguration: Athena is very gifted in the power of transfiguration. As shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, she transformed Medusa, Euryale, and Stheno into the first Gorgons, Coronis into the first raven, Arachne into the first spider, and Perdix into a partridge.
- Shapeshifting: As a goddess, Athena has the power of shapeshifting, in which she proved to be very skilled. As shown in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, she could transform herself into pure intelligence in order to travel from Zeus' stomach into his head, a skill she had learned from her mother. When she first approached Arachne, she transformed herself into an elderly woman. In The Titan's Curse, she appeared as a park ranger at the Hoover Dam. In The Last Olympian, she took the guise of an owl.
- Control of Animals: Athena appears to have a high level of control over animals sacred to her, such as owls and serpents. As seen in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, she would later have birds and snakes follow and lead Teiresias, while also granting him the ability to understand their speech.
- Her attributes are her spear, the armor, the helmets, the olive tree, the Aegis and the Gorgoneion.
- Her sacred animals are the owl and serpent, which represent the wisdom of the sky and earth, respectively.
- Athena is the patron goddess of Athens, which was named after her.
Athena has shown to be the most active goddess, secretly protecting her children from monsters and giving gifts to heroes who earn her admiration.
- She gave pieces of Aegis to several of her chosen heroes in the past.
- She gave her son Daedalus and her grandson Perdix her blessing of wisdom.
- She gave her daughter Annabeth a protection from monsters when she ran away until meeting Thalia and Luke, a cap of invisibility (though it lost its power in The Mark of Athena when her Roman form and Annabeth argued, but later restores it in a moment of need in the Staff of Serapis), and a square of ambrosia.
- She granted Reyna pieces of Aegis to help her in the battle with Orina and let her strength along with Bellona.
Although she is a virgin goddess, Athena can conceive demigod children by joining her mind with her mortal lovers, which she considers to be the purest kind of love that one could give upon. Her demigod children are "gifts" to the men she favors. She loves all of her children and is actually the only known deity who claims demigods at birth. She often gives gifts to their children for their quests and protects them when they need help. Athena considers Annabeth Chase her greatest pride and joy. She deeply trusts her daughter, to the point they make strategies together in times of crisis. Since her daughter's loyalty for Percy is unwavering, she reluctantly accepted their love relationship together.
|Hephaestus||Erichthonius of Athens|
|Metion||Daedalus, Eupalamus, Sicyon|
|Augustine Washington||George Washington|
|Jean Bartholdi||Frederic Bartholdi|
|Bea's Parent||Bea Wise|
|Frederick Chase||Annabeth Chase|
|Unnamed parent||Malcolm Pace|
|Unnamed parent||Zane Carver|
Athena is Zeus' favorite daughter due to her strategic, fair nature. He defended her against the other gods and those he deemed as lethal opponents. While she often helps her father in several emergencies, she was part of a riot against him because of her dislike towards his dictatorial actions.
Athena has a decent familial relationship with her half-sister Artemis, as the two of them share somewhat similar personalities. The two virgin goddesses often have conversations after meetings.
Despite often having similar decisions and often sharing sides in times of war, Athena has a bitter rivalry with her uncle Poseidon. Their relationship seems to be the basis of her dislike for Percy Jackson, Poseidon's son, and the goddess does not approve of his love for her daughter. Although she has told him to stay away from Annabeth on several occasions, she seems to be more civil towards Percy at the end of the series.
Despite both deities being associated with war, Athena doesn't have a good relationship with her half-brother Ares. She considers his violent and bloody version of combat tasteless, which opposes her intentions of winning with as few deaths as possible.
Athena didn't get along well with Aphrodite, for her serious and dignified nature caused her to find the goddess of lust somewhat shallow and conceited.
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 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.
The film version of Athena is less strict and did not show any sign of not liking Poseidon or Percy (even though Annabeth claimed that their parents "hate each other"). 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.
- Like many of her Olympian siblings, her name starts with an A.
- Despite her being said to have grey eyes and black hair, her official portrait shows her with brown eyes and brown hair with red highlight.
- The first letter of her name 'A' is the same as the first letter in her daughter's name.
- When she leads in battle, Athena was known as "Athena Promachos."
- She also is a patron of Sparta, where she was called "Athena Poliachos, meaning "Athena Protector of the City."
- Athena was known as "Athena Parthenos" ("Athena the Virgin"), which was how she was worshiped at the Athenian Parthenon. This would also be the name of her statue that stood there, which eventually becoming the most famous Greek statue of all time.
- In some Greek myths, Athena was a goddess of magic.
- According to Greek mythology, Zeus trusted Athena to wield his thunderbolt.
- According to Aphrodite, Athena is the most Greek among the goddesses.
- According to Homer's account in the Iliad, Athena was a fierce and ruthless warrior and she is portrayed in the Odyssey as angry and unforgiving. However, according to some sources, Athena was praised for her compassion and generosity.
- Athena is one of only three current Olympians goddesses who is a virgin, the others being Artemis and Hestia.
- She is also the only Greek Virgin goddess who has children.
- In Greek mythology, the goddess Athena never had any children. Erikhthonios was her adopted child.
- Athena's most important festival was the Panathenaea, which was celebrated annually at Athens.
- In the series, Frederic Bartholdi designed The Statue of Liberty as a representation of his mother.
- Pallas, one of the largest asteroids in the asteroid belt, is named after Pallas Athene Parthenos, one of Athena's alternative names.
- Minerva, her Roman counterpart, is displayed on the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government.
- She also appears on the state seal of California, because she was born an adult, and California was never a territory.
- Her Norse equivalent would be Freyja or Nerthus.
- Her Egyptian equivalents (in terms of attributes) are Seshat, Isis, Thoth, and Neith.
- The Mark of Athena, page 32