Athena literally only had one parent, her father Zeus, from whose head she was born. Zeus suffered a terrible headache when Hephaistos hit him over the head with a sledgehammer and opened his scull. Out came the full-grown Athena in full armour with a cry of war.She was usually called Pallas Athena or Parthenos, virgin, being a virgin goddess. Greece's capital Athens and the temple Parthenon were both dedicated to and named after her. Interestingly, when Greece became Christian the Parthenon was in stead converted into the church of another Virgin: Mary, mother of Jesus.The most important celebration of Athens was the Panathenea, dedicated to the goddess and held every four years. According to myth, Athena had earned the title of patron goddess of Athens after a competition against Poseidon, who also wanted the city.
Poseidon gave the Athenians a well, but it was useless since its water was from the sea. Athena then gave the people the first olivetree, a much more useful gift. This made her the winner. On the Acropolis there was originally a wooden statue of Athena, a xoanon, that was dressed by the women of the city. According to legend, there was also an olive tree there, as well as a salty well. When the Persians burned down the tree in 480BC it had grown a foot the very next day.She was the goddess of war, but not in the same way as Ares. Also being the goddess of wisdom, she was the patron of tactics and strategic war. She also protected the cities, industries, agriculture, spinning and weaving as well as the arts and the crafts. Athena had also given much to humanity: the plough, the flute, the wagon, shipbuilding, animaltaming and shoemaking. In a way, she can be credited with having provided Man with all the knowledge needed for the foundation of a civilization.She was always depicted in military armour, and on her breast plate was the face of the Gorgon Medusa since Perseus had offered her head after killing the monster. The owl was the animal that symbolis-ed her and the Acropolis was said to be full of owls in ancient Athens.The Roman equivalent to Athena was Minerva.
Athena also had many epithets:
Aeantis, Aethyia, Agoraea, Alalcomeneis, Alcidemos, Alcis, Alea, Ambulia, Anemotis, Apaturia, Archegetis, Areia, Aristobula, Asia, Axiopoenos, Boulaea, Celeutheia, Chalcioecos, Chalintis, Chryse, Cissaea, Colocasia, Coria, Coryphasia, Cranaea, Cydonia, Cynthia, Cyparissia, Ergane, Hellotia, Hippia, Hippolaitis, Hygieia, Ilias, Ismenia, Itonia, Larissaea, Lindia, Longatis, Narcaea, Nedusia, Nike, Oleria, Onca, Oxyderces, Paeonia, Pallenius, Panachaea, Poseia, Parthenos, Phratria, Polias, Poliatis, Poliouchos, Promachorma, Promachos, Pronaea, Saitis, Salpinx, Scilluntia, Sciras, Soteira, Sthenias, Telchinia, Tihrone, Tritogeneia, Tritonia, Zosteria.