Readings for reflection: Athene

Apollodoros, Bibliotheka E6. 20-22
Lokrian Aias, when he saw Kassandra clinging to the wooden statue of Athena, raped her. Athena was enraged at the impious act of Aias and destroyed his ship. The rest of Aias’ Lokrians regained their own country with difficulty after returning from the Trojan War, and three years afterwards, when Lokris was visited by a plague, they received an oracle bidding them to propitiate Athena at Ilion and to send two maidens as suppliants for a thousand years. The lot first fell on Periboia and Kleopatra. And when they came to Troy they were chased by the natives and took refuge in the sanctuary. And they did not approach the goddess, but swept and sprinkled the sanctuary; and they did not go out of the temple, and their hair was cropped, and they wore single garments and no shoes. And when the first maidens died, they sent others; and they entered into the city by night, lest, being seen outside the precinct, they should be put to the sword; but afterwards they sent babes with their nurses. And when the thousand years were passed, after the Phokian war they ceased to send suppliants.

Apollodoros, Bibliotheka 2.92
For the sixth labour Herakles was ordered to drive off the Stymphalian birds. Herakles was stumped by the problem of driving the birds out of the woods, but Athena got some bronze noise-makers from Hephaistos and gave them to him, and by shaking these from a mountain adjacent to the lake he frightened the birds. Not enduring the racket, they flew up in fear, and in this manner Herakles reached them with his arrows.

Apollodoros, Bibliotheka 3.15.7
King Aegeus came to Athens and celebrated the games of the Panathenaia festival, in which Androgeos, son of Minos, vanquished all comers. Him Aegeus sent against the bull of Marathon, by which he was destroyed

[Aristotle], de Mirabilibus Auscultationibus 108-110
In Italy in the district called Gargaria, near Metapontum, they say that there is a temple of the Hellenian Athene, where the tools of Epeius are dedicated, which he made for the wooden horse, giving the goddess this name. For they say that Athene appeared to him in a dream, and demanded that he should dedicate the tools to her, and that, having delayed his setting out on this account, he was shut up in the place and unable to set out; whence the temple of Hellenian Athene derived its name. In the region called Daunia there is said to be a temple of Athene called Achaean, in which are dedicated the bronze axes and the arms of Diomedes’ companions and his own. In this place they say there are dogs which do no harm to any Greeks who come there, but fawn on them as though they were their dearest friends. But all the Daunians and their neighbours dress in black, both men and women, apparently for the following reason. The Trojan women who were taken prisoners and came to that district, in their anxiety to avoid bitter slavery at the hands of the women who belonged to the Greeks before in their own country, burned their ships according to the story, that they might at the same time escape the slavery which they expected, and that, joined with them as husbands, as they were compelled to remain, they might keep them. A very fine account of them is given by the poet; for one can see that they were “long-robed” and “deep-bosomed.” And among the Peucetini they say that there is a temple of Artemis, in which is dedicated what is called the bronze necklet, bearing the legend “Diomedes to Artemis.” The story goes that he hung it about the neck of a deer, and that it grew there, and in this way being found later by Agathocles, king of the Siceliots, they say that it was dedicated at the temple of Zeus.

Clement of Alexandria, Book Two of Exhortation to the Greeks
Athene, to resume our account, having abstracted the heart of Dionysos received the name Pallas from its palpitating (pallein). And the Titans who had torn him limb from limb, setting a caldron on a tripod, and throwing into it the members of Dionysos, first boiled them down, and then fixing them on spits, “held them over the fire.” But Zeus having appeared, since he was a god, having speedily perceived the savour of the pieces of flesh that were being cooked,–that savour which your gods agree to have assigned to them as their perquisite, assails the Titans with his thunderbolt, and consigns the members of Dionysos to his son Apollo to be interred. And he–for he did not disobey Zeus–bore the dismembered corpse to Parnassus, and there deposited it.

Diodoros Sikeliotes, Library of History 5.3.4
And both Athena and Artemis, the myth goes on to say, who had made the same choice of maidenhood as had Kore and were reared together with her, joined with her in gathering the flowers, and all of them together wove the robe for their father Zeus. And because of the time they had spent together and their intimacy they all loved this island above any other, and each one of them received for her portion a territory, Athena receiving hers in the region of Himera, where the Nymphs, to please Athena, caused the springs of warm water to gush forth on the occasion of the visit of Herakles to the island, and the natives consecrated a city to her and a plot of ground which to this day is called Athena’s.

Firmicus Maternus, The Error of Pagan Religion 6.5
To soften the transports of their tyrant’s rage, the Cretans made the day of the death into a religious festival, and founded a yearly rite with a triennial dedication, performing in order all that the child in his death both did and suffered. They tore a live bull with their teeth, recalling the cruel feast in their annual commemoration, and by uttering dissonant cries through the depths of the forest they imitated the ravings of an unbalanced mind, in order that it might be believed that the awful crime was committed not by guile but in madness. Before them was borne the chest in which the sister secretly stole away the heart, and with the sound of flutes and the clashing of cymbals they imitated the rattles with which the boy was deceived. Thus to do honour to a tyrant an obsequious rabble has made a god out of one who was not able to find burial.

Hyginus, Fabulae 148
From the adulterous embrace of Venus and Mars Harmonia was born, and to her Minerva and Vulcan  gave a robe ‘dipped in crimes’ as a gift. Because of this, their descendants are clearly marked as ill-fated.

Justin, Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus 20.2
The people of Metapontum, too, show in their temple of Minerva, the iron tools with which Epeus, by whom their city was founded, built the Trojan horse. Hence all that part of Italy was called Greater Greece. But soon after they were settled, the Metapontines, joining with the Sybarites and Crotonians, formed a design to drive the rest of the Greeks from Italy. Capturing, in the first place, the city Siris, they slew, as they were storming it, fifty young men that were embracing the statue of Minerva, and the priest of the goddess dressed in his robes, between the very altars, suffering, on this account, from pestilence and civil discord, the Crotonians, first of all, consulted the oracle at Delphi, and answer was made to them, that “there would be an end of their troubles, if they appeased the offended deity of Minerva, and the manes of the slain.” After they had begun, accordingly, to make statues of proper size for the young men, and especially for Minerva, the Metapontines, learning what the oracle was, and thinking it expedient to anticipate them in pacifying the manes of the goddess, erected to the young men smaller images of stone, and propitiated the goddess with offerings of bread. The plague was thus ended in both places, one people showing their zeal by their magnificence, and the other by their expedition.

Kallimachos, Aetia 2.1
A plague having come on Lokris through the assault of Aias upon Kassandra, the god told them by an oracle that for a thousand years they must send maidens every year to Troy for Athena. When they arrived they were slain by the Trojans who met and stoned them. Any who escaped made their way secretly to the temple of Athena and became for the future her priestesses.

Kallimachos, Iambi Fragment 202
Mousa, I will sing for the little maid …  once when Hera was celebrating the feast of the seventh day of her daughter’s birth, the gods sitting on Olympos quarrelled, who would honour the child with the most beautiful gift … Tritonis brought many toys of cunning workmanship shrewdly carved, toys more precious than gold.

Scholiast on Nikander’s Theriaka 12.a
And Theophilos, of the school of Zenodotos, records that in Attica there were two siblings; Phalanx, a boy and the girl was named Arachne. They were tutored by Athene, Phalanx learning the arts of war from her and Arachne the art of weaving. However the goddess came to abhor them since they had intercourse with one another, transforming them into animals destined to be eaten by their own offspring.

Nonnos, Dionysiaka 8. 402 ff
Semele saw her fiery end, and perished rejoicing in a childbearing death. In one bridal chamber could be seen Himeros, Eileithyia, and the Erinyes together. So the babe half-grown, and his limbs washed with heavenly fire, was carried by Hermes to his father for the lying-in. Zeus was able to change the mind of jealous Hera, to calm and undo the savage threatening resentment which burdened her. Semele consumed by the fire he translated into the starry vault; he gave the mother of Bakchos a home in the sky among the heavenly inhabitants, as one of Hera’s family, as daughter of Harmonia sprung from both Ares and Aphrodite. So her new body bathed in the purifying fire ((lacuna)) she received the immortal life of the Olympians. Instead of Kadmos and the soil of earth, instead of Autonoe and Agave, she found Artemis by her side, she had converse with Athena, she received the heavens as her wedding-gift, sitting at one table with Zeus and Hermes and Ares and Kythereia.

Olympiodoros, Commentary on Plato’s Phaedo
The soul descends after the manner of Kore into generation, but is distributed into generation Dionysiacally, and she is bound in body Prometheiacally and Titanically: she frees herself therefore from its bonds by exercising the strength of Herakles; but she is collected into one through the assistance of Apollon and the savior Athene, by philosophical discipline of mind and heart purifying the nature.

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1.15.3
Theseus is represented as coming up from the underworld with Athena and Herakles.

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1.18.2
It was to Aglauros and her sisters, Herse and Pandrosos, that they say Athena gave Erichthonios, whom she had hidden in a chest, forbidding them to pry curiously into what was entrusted to their charge. Pandrosos, they say, obeyed, but the other two (for they opened the chest) went mad when they saw Erichthonios, and threw themselves down the steepest part of the Akropolis.

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1.27.9
Another deed of Theseus they have represented in an offering, and the story about it is as follows :–The land of the Cretans and especially that by the river Tethris was ravaged by a bull. And so the Cretans say that this bull was sent by Poseidon to their land because, although Minos was lord of the Greek Sea, he did not worship Poseidon more than any other god. They say that this bull crossed from Crete to the Peloponnese, and came to be one of what are called the Twelve Labours of Herakles. When he was let loose on the Argive plain he fled through the Isthmus of Corinth, into the land of Attica as far as the Attic parish of Marathon, killing all he met, including Androgeos, son of Minos. Minos sailed against Athens with a fleet, not believing that the Athenians were innocent of the death of Androgeos, and sorely harassed them until it was agreed that he should take seven maidens and seven boys for the Minotaur that was said to dwell in the Labyrinth at Knossos. But the Marathonian bull Theseus is said to have driven afterwards to the Akropolis and to have sacrificed to the goddess Athene; the offering commemorating this deed was dedicated by the parish of Marathon.

Pausanias, Description of Greece 5.16.7
Physkoa they say came to Olympia from Elis in the Hollow, and the name of the parish where she lived was Orthia. She mated they say with Dionysos, and bore him a son called Narkaios. When he grew up he made war against the neighboring folk, and rose to great power, setting up moreover a sanctuary of Athena surnamed Narkaia. They say too that Narkaios and Physkoa were the first to pay worship to Dionysos in Elis.

Pindar’s Dithyramb Herakles the Bold
Wise are they that know what manner of festival of Bromios
the Ouranidai hold in their halls, hard by the sceptre of Zeus.
In the adorable presence of the mighty Mother of the Gods,
the prelude is the whirling of timbrels;
there is also the ringing of rattles,
and the torch that blazeth beneath the glowing pine-trees.
There, too, are the loudly sounding laments of the Naides,
and there the frenzied shouts of dancers are aroused,
with the thong that tosseth the neck on high;
there too hath been brandished
the almighty fire-breathing thunderbolt of Zeus,
and the spear of Enyalios,
while the war-like aegis of Pallas resoundeth
with the hissings of countless serpents.
Meanwhile, lightly cometh the lone huntress Artemis,
who in Bacchic revels hath yoked the brood of savage lions for Bromios,
who is enchanted even by the dancing herds of wild beasts.

Pindar, Olympian Ode 2.2
Such is the tale told of the fair-throned maids of Kadmos, who suffered mightily, but heavy woe falls before greater good. With the immortals Semele of the flowing locks lives still–who died in the roar of thunder–and Pallas loves her ever, and Zeus no less, and dearly too the ivy-bearing god, her son.

Strabo, Geography 6.1.14
Then comes the city Heracleia, a short distance above the sea; and two navigable rivers, the Aciris and the Siris. On the Siris there used to be a Trojan city of the same name, but in time, when Heracleia was colonised thence by the Tarantini, it became the port of the Heracleotes. It is twenty-four stadia distant from Heracleia and about three hundred and thirty from Thurii. Writers produce as proof of its settlement by the Trojans the wooden image of the Trojan Athene which is set up there — the image that closed its eyes, the fable goes, when the suppliants were dragged away by the Ionians who captured the city; for these Ionians came there as colonists when in flight from the dominion of the Lydians, and by force took the city, which belonged to the Chones, and called it Polieium; and the image even now can be seen closing its eyes. It is a bold thing, to be sure, to tell such a fable and to say that the image not only closed its eyes (just as they say the image in Troy turned away at the time Cassandra was violated) but can also be seen closing its eyes; and yet it is much bolder to represent as brought from Troy all those images which the historians say were brought from there; for not only in the territory of Siris, but also at Rome, at Lavinium, and at Luceria, Athene is called “Trojan Athena,” as though brought from Troy. And further, the daring deed of the Trojan women is current in numerous places, and appears incredible, although it is possible.

Strabo, Geography 7.1.5
The Salentinoi are said to be a colony of the Cretans. The temple of Athene, once so rich, is in their territory.

Virgil, Georgics 4. 246
The spider, hateful to Minerva, hangs in the doorway her loose-woven nets.