Athena was regarded as the patron and protectress of various cities across Greece, particularly the city of Athens, from which she most likely received her name. She's usually shown in art wearing a helmet and holding a spear. Her major symbols include owls, olive trees, snakes, and the Gorgoneion.
From her origin as an Aegean palace goddess, Athena was closely associated with the city. She was known as Polias and Poliouchos (both derived from polis, meaning "city-state"), and her temples were usually located atop the fortified acropolis in the central part of the city. The Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis is dedicated to her, along with numerous other temples and monuments. As the patron of craft and weaving, Athena was known as Ergane. She's also a warrior goddess, and was believed to lead soldiers into battle as Athena Promachos. Her main festival in Athens was the Panathenaia, which was celebrated during the month of Hekatombaion in midsummer and was the most important festival on the Athenian calendar.
In Greek mythology, Athena was believed to have been born from the head of her father Zeus. In the founding myth of Athens, Athena bested Poseidon in a competition over patronage of the city by creating the first olive tree. She's known as Athena Parthenos "Athena the Virgin," but in one archaic Attic myth, the god Hephaestus tried and failed to rape her, resulting in Gaia giving birth to Erichthonius, an important Athenian founding hero. Athena was the patron goddess of heroic endeavor; she was believed to have aided the heroes Perseus, Heracles, Bellerophon, and Jason. Along with Aphrodite and Hera, Athena was one of the three goddesses whose feud resulted in the beginning of the Trojan War.
She plays an active role in the Iliad, in which she assists the Achaeans and, in the Odyssey, she is the divine counselor to Odysseus. In the later writings of the Roman poet Ovid, Athena was said to have competed against the mortal Arachne in a weaving competition, afterwards transforming Arachne into the first spider; Ovid also describes how she transformed Medusa into a Gorgon after witnessing her being raped by Poseidon in her temple. Since the Renaissance, Athena has become an international symbol of wisdom, the arts, and classical learning. Western artists and allegorists have often used Athena as a symbol of freedom and democracy.
Literally born fully-grown from the head of her father Zeus, Athena is generally more benevolent towards humanity than the other Olympians, and takes much more of an interest in their affairs, often aiding notable heroes in their quests. For example, in retaliation for being spurned by Paris in favor of Aphrodite, Athena aided the Greeks throughout the Trojan War, counseling Achilles on being polite to Agememnon and inspiring Odyssus to build the famed Trojan Horse. Athena is also considered to be Zeus' favorite; while the other Olympians are primarily concerned with their own petty goals and decadent pursuits, Athena's humility and just temperament earned her the praise of her father, along with access to the fabled Aegis and Zeus' lightning bolts. She was the patron goddess of the Greek city-state Athens before Zeus commanded that the Olympians withdraw from mortal affairs, and has recently made her presence known in the Marvel Universe.
Athena was a major force behind the Olympian/ Asgardian alliance to oppose the Eternals, often working with Zeus on diplomatic missions, and took part in the assault on the Eternal's capital city of Olympia. Afterwards, during the " Assault on Olympus" storyline in the Avengers, Athena fought Thor in the workshop of Hephaestus, only for the God of Thunder to rescue her from drowning in a vat of molten metal. Understanding that the Avengers were not the enemy, as the maddened Zeus had claimed, Athena worked with the team in order to heal the wounded Hercules, and though Zeus forbade the Olympians from every having contact with mortals again, Athena and the Avengers parted on good terms. Athena was also present during Amatsu-Mikaboshi's invasion of Olympus, and alongside her favored brother, Hercules, and her estranged brother, Ares, drove back the Japanese God of Evil and his demonic forces.
Athena is one of the Five deities who created the Amazons, Athena is seen as the one primarily responsible for the Amazons skills in warfare and the source of their wisdom. However when the Amazons were captured by Hercules, due to Aphrodite's outrage at the trickery Hippolyta fell to that stripped them of their powers, it was Athena who forgave them first and granted them the strength to free themselves on the condition they would not seek vengeance on their captors. In a manner of speaking, Athena took over as leader of the Five with this action, taking over from Aphrodite and became the primary deity of the Amazons since then.
After a power struggle with her father Zeus, involving his champion vs her champion (Wonder Woman) Athena became the new leader of the Olympians. Zeus, Hades and Poseidon secretly rebelled against her, but Zeus saw the error of his ways and Hades was killed by Ares (with whom she made a deal to give him the underworld should he kill Hades), Poseidon left rather than face Ares. When the second crisis began, Athena took the Amazons and the Olympians to a new dimension.
In Persona 3 Pallas Athena is Aigis' ultimate Persona.
Major Story Arcs
More recently, Athena has been seen on Earth aiding her Half-brother Hercules and his companion Amadeus Cho, the new Mastermind Excello, both fugitives from SHIELD. Fearing that Amadeus' powers might be too easily used for bad ends, Athena had taken it upon herself to train the boy. Arriving in San Francisco alongside the pair, Athena confronted her Eternal counterpart Thena after she and Ikaris had mistaken Hercules for the Eternal Gilgamesh. Once the situation had been cleared up, Athena called a meeting of the Council Elite and spoke to the united conclave of Earth's sky-father deities beneath the shadow of the Dreaming Celestial, brandishing the severed head of a Skrull and warning them of the threat posed by the Secret Invasion. Heeding her warnings that the conquest of Earth by the alien Skrull Empire will result either in the enslavement or annihilation of Earth's deities, the various gods and goddesses help to fill out the roster of and also throw their support behind this "God Squad" team led by Hercules and their mission to kill the Skrull gods.
The victory of the God Squad over the Skrull deities was not without cost, however, as team members Ajak and Atum were both killed in the process, and Mikaboshi took command of the slave deities bound to the will of Kly'bn. Unbeknown to all, this was a factor predicted and planned for by Athena, and for reasons as yet unknown, she considered the fact that Mikaboshi has assembled an army to lay waste the deities of Earth a good thing; a necessary ingredient in whatever plans she had concocted. Upon the return of the God Squad to Earth, Athena continued to maintain her role as an advisor to Hercules and Cho, foreseeing that the boy would become a great hero when properly trained and when the time was right.
During this time Athena aided Hercules, Cho and the Atlantean Princess Namora against the mad Amazon Queen Artume and her attempt at world conquest using the Omphalus (an powerful Olympian artifact capable of manipulating reality).
Recently, the long-brewing conflict between Athena and her step-mother Hera has come to a head, as the jealous older goddess sought to use the Olympus Group as a powerbase and deny Athena her rightful place as leader of the Olympians, as predicated by the Three Fates. Expelled from the Olympus Group for defying Hera's wishes by bringing together the conclave of Earth's deities against the Skrulls without her permission or consent, Athena found herself taking up arms against her stepmother alongside Hercules and Cho, even as her shield-bearer Aegis of the New Warriors was killed by the Olympians loyal to Hera.
To combat her stepmother, Athena guided Hercules and Amadeus to bring back Zeus to life, until Amadeus found out how deep her schemes run, uncovering evidence that she may had something to do with the death of his family.
Amadeus renounces Athena and left back to his home town to help find his sister and truth about his family's death. There he is forced to fight Pythagoras Dupree, a hypercomputer like himself.
After Amadeus beats Dupree, Athena tells him the reason of her plots: Mikaboshi is coming back, and Athena has chosen Amadeus as her champion against him.
Athena joined Hercules, Cho and the Avengers in an attack on New Olympus to stop Hera from remaking the world in her image. During the battle she was turned to stone by Delphyne Gorgon through a magical helmet of Hepheastus as revenge for the Gorgon curse. Hephaestus planned to make a figure in Athena's image to be a companion in Hera's world, but the sudden deaths of Zeus and Hera,the Thunderbolt of Zeus was instantly transferred to Athena, breaking the spell. Athena immediately declared herself the new ruler of the Olympians and then, unexpectedly, used her power to banish Hercules to Hera's "Continuum" pocket universe.
She attended the funeral of Hercules where she was forced to answer Apollo's challenge to her authority. In response to his challenge, she picked Amadeus Cho as her champion despite the fact that recent events had created a rift between them. Apollo's champions were defeated when the gods' mortal champions turned on them. Cho then learned that his best friend Hercules was not present in Hades and then accepted his place as head of the Olympian mortal affairs so he could use the position, and the accompanying resources it brought, to locate Hercules and rescue him.
Athena attended meetings of the Council of Godheads to plan for the coming of Amatsu-Mikaboshi. Whereas others supported Iron Man, Captain America, or Thor to serve as their champion she supported Cho. When Vali Halfing destroyed the Promethean Flame Athena began to age rapidly and was taking prisoner. She was forced to work together with Dephyne against their mutual foes. By the time she had recovered the Chaos King had arrived.
She initially fled upon the arrival of Mikaboshi. Her blessing protected Amadeus Cho from falling to sleep like other mortals. Upon Mikaboshi's storming of the heavens and scattering Hercules's God Squad she appeared before him claiming to have arranged everything and to be her most faithful servant. She claimed the metaphysical corruption of the current universe was too great and needed to start over. Even if Mikaboshi won a new universe would inevitable arise from him and may be better. She claimed Mikaboshi needed her help to eliminate the only two threats to him: Hercules and Amadeus Cho who had gotten lost in Mikaboshi's vastness. Mikaboshi ridiculed her for her choices and enslaved her.
Under the power of Mikaboshi, Athena attacked Hercules and claimed she'd sent him to Hera's universe as an attempt to save him. Hercules temporarily defeated her, but after Hercules was remade by Gaea, granting him even greater power, Athena renewed her attack. This time Hercules destroyed her effortlessly with a single energy blast.
Upon Mikaboshi's defeat she reappeared before Hercules much to his surprise. Hercules could not figure how she survived and she did not explain. Instead she gave an answer that made no sense. She claimed she had planned all of this. She wanted Hercules to create a new universe and rule with the heart and wisdom Zeus never had. Hercules renounced her cold logic and over her objections recreated the universe as it had been sacrificing his powers, even the ones he had before his ascension to 'God of Gods,' in the process. She disappeared afterwords and has not yet been seen on the new Mt. Olympus created by Zeus, who was ressurrected by Hercules at the conclusion of the Chaos War. Athena's position of leader of the Olympians and her possession of the Thunderbolt of Zeus has reverted back to the now restored Zeus.
She was last seen captured by Granny Goodness who impersonated her when Diana sought a means to return to Themyscira to save Nemesis during the Amazons Attack on Washington DC, later on she was freed from captivity with the other Olympians due to the actions of Mary Marvel, amongst others before they retreated from reality to mend.
Powers & Abilities
As an Olympian, Athena is virtually immortal, and cannot be affected by disease, hunger or old age, and possesses superhuman levels of speed (able to run at speeds up to 65 m.p.h.), durability and endurance, alongside a powerful healing factor and Class 50 strength enabling her to lift at least 35 tons. Athena can also wield godly/magical energy to a variety of effects allowing her to curse or bless others, summon weapons and armor, and travel between Olympus and Earth. She can open up viewing screens that allow her to view things across space, dimensions, and even time far into the future.
As she is the goddess of wisdom, Athena is superhumanly intelligent and one of the foremost experts in most if not all fields of knowledge. She has an almost, if not entirely, perfect and instantaneous memory recall. Athena can quickly analyze nearly any situation and devise a multitude plans to deal with that situation in moments. Additionally, Athena is able to assess new input and adjust her long term plans with equal speed and effectiveness. Because of her extremely high-level intellect, Athena is capable of quickly absorbing and understanding new information and/or ideas almost instantly. As Goddess of Warfare, she is a master strategist and tactician even surpassing her god of war brother, Ares. She is a master manipulator and can recognize order and patterns where most people see only chaos. Her ability to predict patterns, manipulate situations and see the future at times can even create the illusion of omniscience.
As of the deaths of Zeus and Hera, Athena inherited Zeus' Thunderbolt signaling her place as ruler of the Olympians and allowing her to command not only the lighting, but all of Zeus' other powers, too. It is unknown, but unlikely, whether or not she retained this ability upon the resurrection of Zeus and his return to the throne of Olympus.
Justice Legue Action
Athena appears in Season 1 Episode 22 "The Trouble with Truth". She offers Wonder Woman a spot as a goddess of truth, but when HIVE threatens Metropolis, Athena joins the Justice League for the mission. She also has a rivalry with Batman. She is voiced by Jessica Walter.