Athena sprang full-grown and in full armor from Zeus’ head. She is his daughter, powerful and self-sufficient. The Parthenon, in the acropolis at Athens, is her temple. Gray-eyed, Athena is the protector of civilized life, the embodiment of wisdom, justice, reason, and moral intelligence. Athena is a virgin goddess, ruthless and warlike when necessary to defend the state and the home from outside enemies. She is often armed, and possessed the Aegis, a shield worn upon her breastplate. Athena invented the bridle and the carriage. She is often accompanied by Nike, the swift goddess of strength and victory.
Serenely beautiful, Athena is identified with the Libyan and Egyptian war-goddess Neith. Her Roman name is Minerva. The Romans observed a yearly festival of Minerva, from the nineteenth to the twenty-third day of March.
But the mother is not completely missing from the miraculous birth of Pallas Athena. According to Hesiod's account of the weddings of Zeus, the King of the Gods chose Metis as his first wife. She was of all beings "the most knowing" (as the word metis is interpreted), or "of many counsels" as translated in the sense of the Homeric epithet polymetis.As an interesting side note in symbolism the custom in Greece a wreath of laurel was used to crown victors of olympic competitions, inherited from one of the symbols of the god Apollo, who is often depicted wearing/ holding a wreath of laurel leaves. Olive wreaths were also given to olympic victors. In Rome laurel wreaths were worn on the heads of military and government officials in parades. Roman consuls and senators wore wreaths of olive leaves in public.
As she was about to give birth to the Goddess Athena, Zeus deceived his pregnant wife with cunning words and assimilated her into his own body. Mother Earth and Father Sky had advised him to do this so as to prevent any of his descendants from robbing him of his kingly rank. For it was destined that the most brilliant children were to be born to the Goddess Metis: first, the daughter Athena, and later a son, the future King of Gods and men.
In the most ancient account, the Iliad, Athena is the Goddess of ferocious and implacable fight, but, wherever she can be found, she only is a warrior to defend the State and the native land against the enemies coming from outside.
She is, above all, the Goddess of the City, the protectress of civilized life, of artesian activities, and of agriculture. She also invented the horse-bit, which, for the first time, tamed horses, allowing men to use them.
She is the favorite daughter of Zeus; and that's why he let her use his insignia: the terrible shield, the aegis and his devastating weapon, the ray.
The most used expression to describe her is "the bright eyed". She is the first of the three virgin Goddesses, also known as Maiden, Parthenos, and from this name was taken the name to the most important Temple dedicated to her, the Parthenon.
In poetry she is the incarnation of Wisdom, Reason and Purity.
Athens is her city; the olive tree, created by her, is her tree; the owl, is the birth consecrated to her.