Goddess of wisdom, war and the crafts, and favourite daughter of Zeus, Athena was, perhaps, the wisest, most courageous, and certainly the most resourceful of the Olympian gods.
Zeus was told that his son would take his throne from him, just as he had taken power from his father Cronus. Accordingly, when Metis was pregnant, he swallowed her and Athena was born from Zeus’ head, wearing armour and fully grown. A popular theme in ancient art, Hephaistos is often depicted in the role of midwife, splitting Zeus’ head with an axe.
Epithets of Athena include Pallas (girl) and Parthenos (virgin), living up to which, she is conspicuous amongst the gods for not indulging in illicit relationships with other divinities, demi-gods, or mortals. Other epithets were Promachos (of war) - perhaps referring to more patriotic, defensive, and strategic warfare, rather than attacking warfare, in contrast to her more aggressive, conflict-loving brother Ares, Ergane (of the crafts), and Nike (victory).
Objects associated with the goddess include an owl - symbol of wisdom - and the olive tree. She is often depicted in art with armour, a golden helmet, a shield, and holding a spear. Her armour is the aegis made, in some accounts, from the skin of a Giant, hung with tassels of gold, and featuring the head of the Gorgon given to her by Perseus.