Why is Athena considered the goddess of both fighting and craft skills?



In all the Olympic Pantheon, Athena was revered as goddess of many things: she is a warrior, representing the "noble" part of war, but she is also the goddess of "feminine arts", like weaving.

How come this goddess is associated with activities so different from one another?

Lucia Bentivoglio

Posted 2015-04-30T07:22:24.650

Reputation: 213

@Luna thanks for the review! But was it really so bad to put a bit of "personal" infos on the question? :P – Lucia Bentivoglio – 2015-04-30T08:41:47.243

It's hardly the end of the world, no :P But generally at StackExchange we try to avoid personal aspects of the question to make it more useful for people searching and reading. Since I was editing for spelling, I took the liberty of removing the meta-talk. You can rollback if you prefer, but here's some more info on that policy: http://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2950/should-hi-thanks-taglines-and-salutations-be-removed-from-posts http://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/216602/whats-wrong-with-using-polite-language-in-questions?lq=1

– Luna – 2015-04-30T08:48:02.557

@Luna no no, it doesn't really matters :D – Lucia Bentivoglio – 2015-04-30T08:51:26.413

Perhaps it is worth keeping in mind that modern conceptions of what activities are masculine and what activities are feminine probably do not correlate all that well with ancient conceptions of masculinity/femininity. – senshin – 2015-04-30T16:44:50.467



An interesting perspective is given in the Theoi Project webpage Athena, where the goddess was one of a purely ethical divine character and not of one particular naturally manifested physical power. Specifically, she was considered as a protector of the state in a 'holistic' manner, as explained by the website as:

her power and wisdom appear in her being the protectress and preserver of the state and of social institutions.

Essentially, she preserves the 'state's prosperity and strength within, as well its defense from those from the outside. The website authors summarise that:

As Athena promoted the internal prosperity of the state, by encouraging agriculture and industry, and by maintaining law and order in all public transactions, so also she protected the state from outward enemies, and thus assumes the character of a warlike divinity, though in a very different sense from Ares, Eris, or Enyo.

Additionally, Athena is also connected with the invention of the tools and the types of work that men and women did, specifically

in short Athena and Hephaestus were the great patrons both of the useful and elegant arts.


Posted 2015-04-30T07:22:24.650