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Ancient Greek Mythology Essay

Greek Mythology is a group of teachings and myths that were originated by the ancient Greeks, when they were trying to understand the origin of things in the sky and on earth. This myth was a big part of the religion of the Greeks. Hesiod offers the theogony, which tells of the dealings with the creation of the world, and the origin of the gods, titans, and giants. Athena, also called Athene, was a goddess of many things like wisdom, and courage. She was born to Zeus and Metis in Mount Olympus.

She was fully grown and wearing armor from head to toe. Athena is said to be a pre-Hellenic goddess that was taken by the Greeks.

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Her story shows that the people were looking for closure over wisdom and war during this time. This myth seeks to explain some countless inventions. She has a major influence on today’s culture.

For instance, her helmet is featured on the crest of West Point Academy, as well as represented the first branch of the United States Army just for women. Although there are many different stories of how Athena came to be, most known one is that Zeus swallowed Metis and Athena sprang from his head. Because she is the goddess of many things, Athena is featured on many modern crests, was praised by the Greeks in their time, and was supposedly the origin of many great inventions.

Although classical Greek culture was during the period of the 4th and 5th centuries, ancient Greek culture and myths are tremendously influential in many aspects like, language, politic, educational system, philosophy, science, the arts, and the gods. For instance, our country is a democracy. Democracy is said to originate from Greece. Not only that, we use the gods and goddesses in our everyday life. Athena’s helmet is featured on the West Point Military Academy crest. Her head is represented on the first branch of the United States Army that is for women.

Hellenic polytheists worship the Greek gods, olympians, nature divinities, underworld deities, and heroes. Hellenic religion is any systems of beliefs and practices of the ancient Greeks during the Hellenic period and the Roman Empire. Religion was very important to the Greeks because they believed that religion would make their lives better. This Hellenistic world was made after conquest that went from India to Egypt and took about 20 to complete after Alexander the Great’s death. (Hellenistic Culture)

Athena was born to Zeus and Metis, at Mount Olympus, fully grown and wearing full armor from head to toe. Athena is said to be a pre-Hellenic goddess that was taken from Zeus by the Greeks. There are many different versions of how Athena came to be. Most say that Zeus and Metis conceived a baby girl. Before Metis gave birth, Mother Earth told Zeus that a child born to Metis would one day overthrow his throne. He became worried because that is the same thing he did to his own father. Zeus challenged her in a shapeshifting contest; she turned herself into a fly and taking the advice of Gaea and Uranus, Zeus swallowed her up. A few days later, he started to get dreadful headaches and asked his son, Hephaestus, to take an axe and crack his head open.(Temple)

Some versions say that Palamon and Hermes helped Zeus give birth. Others regard her to be his daughter, but also as the daughter of Pallas, whom she killed later because he tried to desecrate her chastity. Another that was transplanted to Libya, says that she is the daughter of Poseidon and Tritonis. According to Athena, herodotus became enraged with her father and went to Zeus, who later stepped in as her father. These were regarded more as Hellenistic Myths (“Athene”)

Athena was a goddess of many aspects like wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilization, law and justice, strategic warfare, mathematics, strength, strategy, the arts, crafts, and skill.She was the goddess of arts and crafts because of her spinning and weaving. She was the goddess of war and wisdom because she sprang from Zeus’s head and she was a ruthless warrior. She was very strategic and skilled during warfare. She is often portrayed as the companion of heroes is the patron goddess of heroic endeavour. (“Athene”)

Athena was featured in many heroic stories. One being, when she assisted Odysseus in his adventures. Odysseus and Athena were similar. He was the Greek King of Ithaca just as she was a great goddess. They had some of the same qualities. They were both nondiscriminatory, and clever. When it came to helping Odysseus in the Trojan War, she was there. Other gods didn’t like that he was helping the Trojans. Most of all, she helped him on his way home, because he ran into many obstacles.

He was imprisoned by Calypso then, when he escaped, he went sailing through storms, which later resulted in many shipwrecks. He then found himself in trouble with many other gods like, Poseidon and Polyphemus. Athena did not want to make the other gods angry, so she only offered Odysseus wisdom. When he returned safely to Ithaca, Athena helped him disguise as a beggar.(Temple)

A less heroic story of Athena, is when she accidentally killed her friend, Pallas. As a young woman, Athena didn’t quite fit in on Mount Olympus. So she went out to find a friend, Pallas. Her new friend was the daughter of Triton, the sea god. The often practiced their combat skills with each other. On time they were doing their session when Pallas took a fatal blow from Athena. Feeling sorrowful, Athena put a statue of Pallas near Zeus’s throne Mount Olympus.(Temple)

Athena has a major influence on today’s culture; her helmet is featured on many things of the United States. One being the West Point Academy crest. Her helmet represents her wisdom, while her sword represents a warrior. The seal of California also features her head. It symbolizes the goddess of wisdom overlooking the scene. (Seal of California) The US Women Army Corps shows her head as their insignia.
Athena is said to be the origin of many things that make up Greek culture.

She made the statue of Pallas that sits near Zeus’s throne. She helped many heros on adventures, like the one with Odysseus. She also has tremendous influence on modern culture. For instance, she is featured on the Seal of California, the U.S. Women’s Army Corp, and the West Point crest. Its is clear that Athena is relevant in both ancient times and modern day culture. She is, many times, the symbol of power, wisdom, and valor. This is what makes her so influential in the world.

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