Athena (Minerva), the goddess of war and wisdom, had a strange birth. Her father Zeus (Jupiter) had swallowed his pregnant consort Metis (“wisdom”), because he was afraid she would bear a son who would overthrow him. Then he developed a severe headache that nothing would cure. So Hephestos, god of fire and blacksmiths, took an axe and split open Zeus’ head (an approach not recommended for the milder forms of headache or migraine).
Out sprang Athena, fully grown, a beautiful young woman in full armor and carrying a spear, announcing her arrival with a loud war cry. The manner of her birth allegorically defines her basic nature. Having arisen from the head of a god, she is wise. Being born from a male and not from a female, she maintains a special bond of affection with her father, protects male heroes and champions of male causes. She is a powerful goddess of war and has remained a virgin.
|The birth of Minerva
The birth of Minerva
Birth of Athena who emerged from Zeus’ head, 550–525 BCE
George Dunea, MD, Editor-in-Chief (Fall 2012)
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