The goddess Athena (Minerva to the Romans) sprang from the head of Zeus, her father. She was the goddess of just war, as well as of wisdom and art. She was more popular than the belligerent god of war Ares. The contrast between the two is reflected in the sides they chose during the Trojan War: Athena sided with the Greeks, and Ares with the Trojans. Her epithet is ‘Pallas’, probably derived from the Greek word pallein, which means ‘to wave the lance’. Pallas Athena was the patroness of the Greek city Athens. The most important temple dedicated to her, the Parthenon, stands on the Acropolis, the city’s highest point. Athena can be recognized by her weaponry, with a helmet, sword and aegis, the shield bearing the hideous, serpent-haired head of Medusa.



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