The Children of Zeus: Athena (page 86, with art)

Chapter 2: The Olympians

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Apollonios of Rhodes, Argonautica 1.524-27

And a strange cry did the harbour of Pagasae utter, yea and Pelian Argo herself, urging them to set forth. For in her a beam divine had been laid which Athena had brought from an oak of Dodona and fitted in the middle of the stem. Greek Text

Pindar, Pythian 4

Today you must stand beside a beloved man, Muse, the king of Cyrene with its fine horses, so that while Arcesilas celebrates his triumph you may swell the fair wind of song that is due to the children of Leto and to Pytho, where once the priestess seated beside the golden eagles of Zeus, on a day when Apollo happened to be present, gave an oracle naming Battus as the colonizer of fruitful Libya, and telling how he would at once leave the holy island and found a city of fine chariots on a shining white breast of the earth, and carry out in the seventeenth generation the word spoken at Thera by Medea, which once the inspired daughter of Aeetes, the queen of the Colchians, breathed forth from her immortal mouth. Continue reading. Greek Text

Rome, Vatican Museums 16545: Attic red-figure cup by Douris, Athena, serpent and Jason (name inscribed under his face)



E. Pfuhl, Malerei und Zeichnung der Griechen vol. 3 (1923), fig. 467

Beazley Archive Pottery Database

New York, Metropolitan Museum 34.11.7: Attic red-figure column krater by the Orchard Painter, serpent, Jason and Athena


Metropolitan Musem

Beazley Archive Pottery Database

Homer, Iliad 5.800-805

“Verily little like himself was the son that Tydeus begat. Tydeus was small in stature, but a warrior. Even when I would not suffer him to fight or make a show of prowess, what time he came, and no Achaean with him, on an embassage to Thebes into the midst of the many Cadmeians—I bade him feast in their halls in peace. Greek Text

Bakchylides fr 41 SM – Bacchylidis Carmina cum fragmentis, p. 109, ed. B. Snell and H. Maehler. Leipzig 1970.

Pherekydes 3F97 – Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker 1, pp. 86-87, ed. F. Jacoby, 2d ed. Leiden 1957.

Greeek Text

Rome, Museo di Villa Giulia: terracotta relief from Pyrgi, Temple A, Athena (upper left), Tydeus and Melanippides



Pindar, Nemean 10.7

And once the golden-haired, gray-eyed goddess made Diomedes an immortal god. Greek Text

Pherekydes 3F92 – Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker 1, pp. 85-86, ed. F. Jacoby, 2d ed. Leiden 1957.

Greek Text

Kallimachos, Hymn to Athena 5

Only Teiresias, on whose cheek the down was just darkening, still ranged with his hounds the holy place. And, athirst beyond telling, he came unto the flowing fountain, wretched man! And unwillingly saw that which is not lawful to be seen. And Athena was angered, yet said to him: “What god, O son of Everes, led thee on this grievous way? Hence shalt thou never more take back thine eyes!” She spake and night seized the eyes of the youth. Greek Text

Vergil, Georgics 4.246-47

Or spider, victim of Minerva’s spite,
Athwart the doorway hangs her swaying net. Latin Text

Ovid, Metamorphoses 6.5-145

So her thought was turned
upon the fortune of Arachne — proud,
who would not ever yield to her the praise
won by the art of deftly weaving wool,
a girl who had not fame for place of birth,
nor fame for birth, but only fame for skill!

For it was well known that her father dwelt
in Colophon; where, at his humble trade,
he dyed in Phocean purples, fleecy wool.
Her mother, also of the lower class,
had died. Arachne in a mountain town
by skill had grown so famous in the Land
of Lydia, that unnumbered curious nymphs
eager to witness her dexterity,
deserted the lush vineyards of Timolus;
or even left the cool and flowing streams
of bright Pactolus, to admire the cloth,
or to observe her deftly spinning wool. Continue readingLatin Text

Polemon apud Clement of Alexandria, Protreptikos 2.31

Greek Text

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8.28.4-6

Adjoining the land of Theisoa is a village called Teuthis, which in old days was a town. In the Trojan war the inhabitants supplied a general of their own. His name according to some was Teuthis, according to others Ornytus. When the Greeks failed to secure favorable winds to take them from Aulis, but were shut in for a long time by a violent gale, Teuthis quarrelled with Agamemnon and was about to lead the Arcadians under his command back home again. 

Whereupon, they say, Athena in the guise of Melas, the son of Ops, tried to turn Teuthis aside from his journey home. But Teuthis, his wrath swelling within him, struck with his spear the thigh of the goddess, and actually did lead his army back from Aulis. On his return to his native land the goddess appeared to him in a vision with a wound in her thigh. After this a wasting disease fell on Teuthis, and its people, alone of the Arcadians, suffered from famine.

Later, oracles were delivered to them from Dodona, telling them what to do to appease the goddess, and in particular they had an image of Athena made with a wound in the thigh. This image I have myself seen, with its thigh swathed in a purple bandage. There are also at Teuthis sanctuaries of Aphrodite and Artemis. Greek Text

Pindar, Pythian 12.6-8

that art which once Pallas Athena discovered when she wove into music the dire dirge of the reckless Gorgons which Perseus heard [10] pouring in slow anguish from beneath the horrible snakey hair of the maidens, when he did away with the third sister. Greek Text

Melanippides of Melos 758 PMGPoetae Melici Graeci, p. 393, ed. D. L. Page. Oxford 1962.

Pliny the Elder, Historia Naturalis 34.57

Myron of Eleutheræ, who was also the pupil of Agelades, was rendered more particularly famous by his statue of a heifer, celebrated in many well-known lines: so true is it, that most men owe their renown more to the genius of others, than to their own. He also made the figure of a dog, a Discobolus, a Perseus, the Pristæ, a Satyr admiring a flute, and a Minerva.  Latin Text

Pausanias 1.24.1

In this place is a statue of Athena striking Marsyas the Silenus for taking up the flutes that the goddess wished to be cast away for good. Greek Text

Palaiphatos 47Mythographi Graeci 3.2, pp. 68-69, ed. N. Festa. Leipzig 1902.

Marsyas:  Marsyas was a rustic, and became a musician in the following way: Athena came to hate the aulos because it took away not a little of her beauty. When a spring of water revealed her image, the event taught her. So she threw the aulos away, where Marsyas happened to be lurking. The herdsman picked it up and put it to his lips. The oboe sang its song through a divine power, despite the user. But Marsyas believed the aulos’s power was his artistry: he put himself forward against the Muses and against Apollo, saying he did not wish to exist if he could not surpass the god. But in the competition he was beaten, and following his defeat his skin was flayed off him. I myself saw the river in Phrygia, named for Marsyas. And the Phrygians say that the stream arose from the blood of Marsyas.  Greek Text

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Artisti sources edited by R. Ross Holloway, Elisha Benjamin Andrews Professor Emeritus, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World, Brown Univ., and Frances Van Keuren, Prof. Emerita, Lamar Dodd School of Art, Univ. of Georgia, June 2019.

Literary sources edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, January 2021

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