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ATHENA

Real Name: Pallas Athena

Occupation: Goddess of wisdom, war, arts and crafts, patron goddess of Athens, advisor to Zeus

Legal Status: Citizen of Olympus

Identity: The general public of Earth is unaware of Athena except as a mythological figure

Other Aliases: Athena Tritogeneia, Minerva (Roman name), Menrva (Etruscan name), Onca (Phoenician name), Mentor

Place of Birth: Tritonis, Libya

Marital Status: Single

Known Relatives: Zeus (father), Metis (mother), Hera (step-mother), Demeter, Hestia (aunts), Poseidon, Hades (uncles) Hephaestus, Ares, Apollo, Hermes, Dionysus (half-brothers), Aphrodite, Artemis, Persephone, Eileithyia, Hebe, Discord (half-sisters), Annabelle Logan (alleged daughter), Cupid, Deimos, Phobos, Asclepius, Janus, Pan (nephews),  Triton, Arion, Despoena, Plutus, Philomelas (cousins), Oceanus (maternal grandfather), Tethys (maternal grandmother),

Group Affiliation: Gods of Olympus

Base of Operations: Olympus and Nashville, Tennessee

First Appearance: Thor #164

History: Athena is the eldest daughter of Zeus, King of the Olympian Gods and his first wife, Metis, the goddess of prudence. Gaea, the earth-mother, had prophesied that any son born to Zeus would rise up and overthrow him such as he had done to his father, the Titan, Cronus, and Metis in order to prevent this prediction departed Olympus to live in Ancient Libya near Tritonis ruled by the young god Triton, son of Poseidon. Metis, meanwhile, had begun casting spells to inflict spells on Zeus to induce headaches to get his attention. He sent his sons, particularly Apollo and Ares, to bring her to Olympus to explain herself, but Athena ended up besting them in combat and promised to resolve their father's headaches if she were allowed to join them as a goddess on Olympus, which was her destiny. They relented and Athena was allowed to join them on Olympus as was the motivation of Metis all along. (Later myths claimed that Zeus had swallowed Metis in the form of a fly and that she remained alive within him with Athena springing fully armored from his head..)

As a child, Athena had became best friends of Pallas, daughter of Triton, and visited her often or brought her to Olympus. Once while practicing war games on each other, their passions became so intense that Zeus distracted Pallas from striking Athena. Athena then accidentally slew Pallas in a horrible accident. Grief-stricken, she had Hephaestus sculpt a wooden likeness of Pallas, wrapped it in her own aegis, set it up on Olympus and added Pallas's name to her own out of respect and memory to her. Zeus later gave the statue as a gift to his son Dardanus, who became king of Dardania (and later Troy). Years later, Athena would lose her temper again and blinded Teiresias, the son of the nymph, Chariclo, another close friend. She consoled Chariclo by giving her son the gift of prophecy.  

Traditionally a rational and reserved immortal outside her godly duties, Athena cursed the Gorgons, who once served as her attendants on Olympus, for carrying on sexual romances with Poseidon, the god of the sea. Stripping them of their beauty, she exiled them to ancient Libya on Earth along with their sisters, the Graiae, who had helped conceal the affairs from her. Shorn of the attributes of youth, the Graiae soon succumbed to advanced old age under their immortality. When Athena guided the hero Perseus in slaying the Gorgons, they unwittingly revealed the existence of their sisters to the hero.

Athena also gave into to great hubris when Arachne, a maiden in Lydia, claimed to be a greater weaver than Athena. Wanting to see this talent for herself, Athena approached the young woman in disguise and warned her against the dangers of presumption. When Arachne scorned this advice, Athena confronted her in her true form and challenged her to a weaving contest to teach her a lesson, but while Athena wove images of great heroes and the fates of mortals that challenged the gods, Arachne countered by flaunting the scandals and illicit affairs of the gods, including but not including Athena's role in cursing the Gorgons. Insulted, Athena destroyed the tapestry from Arachne's loom. Realizing the girl matched her talent, she cursed Arachne from ever weaving another image. Unable to live with the curse, Arachne hung herself, but Athena had pity and restored her to life as a small spider able to weave extra-ordinary patterns lacking pictures.

Athena resolved to remain a virgin by refusing to be subservient to any male. She became a constant antagonist to her brother, Ares, with her resolve that stragedy was the best way to win wars and not by bloodshed or the mindless carnage for killing so characteristic by Ares. She later challenged her Uncle Poseidon, the god of the sea, for worship rights to the ancient city of Cecropia. King Erichthonius of Athens, a son of Hephaestus, arbitrated their rights to the city by judging over the worthiness of their gifts. Poseidon had given them a beautiful spring, but it provided only saltwater which they could not drink. Athena then gave them a gift of an olive tree from which the Athenians could create wine and grow other trees. Erichthonius chose Athena by her more useful gift to be his patron goddess and even renamed the city Athens in her behalf. Poseidon then had his revenge by not warning the Athenians of a great flood that covered much of the area. Under Athena's power, Erichthonius survived the flood and ruled the area for several more years.

Athena also served as a protector to many of the champions and heroes of Ancient Greece, such as Perseus, Hercules, and Achilles, but Odysseus was her obvious favorite, often appearing to him in the form of the wise old vizier named Mentor. Zeus, meanwhile, learned that Greece's Mount Olympus, the location of the inter-dimensional nexus between the Olympian dimension and Earth, lay near Olympia, the principal city of the Eternals. Zeus and Athena had a meeting with Zuras, the leader of the Eternals, and his daughter Azura. Noting the strong physical resemblance between Zeus and Zuras and between Azura and herself , Athena suggested that the Olympian Gods and the Eternals form an alliance where the Eternals would act as the Olympian's representatives on Earth. The other three enthusiastically agreed and Azura took her current name as Thena to signify the pact. It is unknown as to how many of the heroes of Ancient Greece were actually favored by Athena or by Thena, but over the years, many mortals came to think of the Eternals not as the gods' representatives but as the gods themselves. This led to a growing resentment by the Olympians towards the Eternals that later erupted into a brief war. However, today the Eternals and Olympians are again at peace with each other.

While attending the wedding of Peleus of Phthia to Thetis, a sea-goddess, Athena was distracted by Eris, the goddess of discord, tossing an apple inscribed to the fairest goddess. In trying to claim the apple for herself, Athena clashed with her step-mother, Hera, Queen of the gods, and her half-sister, Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Rather than risk a situation by arbitrating between daughters and his wife, Zeus chose the Trojan prince Paris, who was living in exile, to make the decision for himself. Athena promised Paris great wisdom if he gave her the apple, and Hera promised him great power if he awarded her the apple. Aphrodite, meanwhile, promised him the love of the most beautiful mortal woman in existence. Paris gave Aphrodite the apple and he ultimately chose Helen, daughter of Zeus and the wife of King Menelaus of Sparta, to be his wife. While Aphrodite protected Paris, Athena backed the Greeks out of revenge when they went to war with Troy for the return of Helen. She encouraged Odysseus to fight for her at Troy alongside the Greek armies, and after invading the city, Odysseus seized the statue of Pallas from the Trojan Palladium and had it returned to his homeland of  Ithaca to honor Athena.

During the Trojan War, Zeus refused to take sides in the war and ordered the Olympian gods from unfairly giving assistance to the end result of the war. Athena assisted Poseidon and Hera in briefly overthrowing Zeus from Olympus and tying him up to keep him preoccupied. Zeus was eventually discovered by Briareus, the gardener of Olympus, and freed of his restraints; he then issued a formal edict banning all the Olympian gods from taking active roles in the conflict. From behind the scenes, Athena psychically encouraged General Pandarus from Lycia to fire upon King Menelaus during a ceasefire to prevent an early end to the war.

Following the war, Trojan refugees lead by Dardanian prince Aeneas inherited the city of Latium and their descendants created the Roman Empire upon the city. The indigenous tribes of the area called Athena by the name of Minerva and carried her worship into Gaul, Erytheia and Dacia (modern France, Spain and Rumania, respectively). Zeus meanwhile became distressed by the innocents, particularly Christians, being killed in their names by the Romans forcing the boundaries of their empire. He ordered the Olympian gods to cease from seeking worshippers from earth and forced prophecies concerning the daughter of the self-styled warrior goddess Xena as the end of the worship of the Olympian gods to come to pass. Zeus was reputedly killed as a result by Hercules protecting Xena and in his absence, Athena took it upon herself in leading a small number of the Olympian gods in attacking Xena in the last month of her pregnancy to kill her child. Xena successfully killed Athena, Discord, Poseidon and Artemis under protective spells from the arch-angel Michael, and for all intents and purposes, the Olympian Gods were dead, but Zeus had spells in effect restoring the Olympians to life afterward. Athena was restored to life despite being considered dead by mortal man, but it was only under the final edict from the Third Host of the Celestials and the threat of having the inter-dimensional passageways from Olympus to Earth being severed that the restored Olympians resisted seeking worshippers.

Without godly responsibilities, Athena found more time to cater to more personal pursuits. Although no longer recognized as a goddess, she often masqueraded as a mortal under unrevealed aliases and roles continuing to mentor scholars and military strategists with thinly veiled references to accounts from Greek myth. She reputedly guided King Richard the Lion-Hearted through the Crusades and Lord Horatio Nelson at Trafalgar. As her temple in Athens fell to ruin, she realized a near replica had been constructed as a museum in modern Nashville, Tennessee and often retreated there in personal solitude. Meanwhile, a new age of heroes was occurring as mortals endowed with godlike powers became costumed crime-fighters, such as the Invaders and the All-Star Squadron..  

After years of being sealed off from mortals, Ares was released from a tomb in Macedonia by archaeologist Melinda Pappas, a descendant of Xena, during World War Two. Seeking a worthy champion against him, Athena appeared before Queen Hippolyta of the Amazons, who still recognized her as a goddess, and instructed her to find a worthy champion to fight against Ares. Hippolyta's daughter, Diana, used clever deceit to become that champion and as Wonder Woman became one of the Earth's most recognized "superheroes." Athena also endowed the heroine Mary Marvel with godly attributes alongside her brother, William "Billy" Batson, as Captain Marvel. She also chose young Trey Rollins to be the heir of heroes as Perseus and Odysseus as the mortal hero Aegis.

At some point in the past, Athena took a young female demigoddess named Annabelle Logan as her ward, although she called the young girl her daughter. Annabelle also referred to Athena as her mother, but this relationship must be a metaphor for their relationship due to Athena's vows as a virgin goddess. Annabelle's true parentage is unrevealed. Meanwhile, Hercules had become a member of the Avengers, and while trying to gain entry to Avengers Mansion seized by the Masters of Evil, he was beaten into submission and left in a coma. Zeus blamed the Avengers themselves for his condition and had the mortal heroes taken against their will and imprisoned in Tartarus, the Olympian Underworld. As a result, Athena clashed with the Asgardian god, Thor, but was rescued during their confrontation from molten metal in the workshop of Hephaestus. Realizing the Avengers were blameless for Hercules' injuries, Athena sided with them alongside Hephaestus and Aphrodite to protect them from Zeus as Apollo in the absence of his son Asclepius tried to cure Hercules. Once restored to consciousness, Hercules forced Zeus that it was his own hubris at the source of his injuries, and Zeus decided that it was time that the Olympians restrict themselves to Olympus to prevent further misunderstandings. The edict came as a bit of a shock to Athena, Aphrodite and Apollo among others with vested interests in Earth as well as Athena's connections to Annabelle on Earth who was placed under the tutelage of the centaur Chiron at Camp Half-Blood, a school for other demigods. 

Eventually, Athena discovered that Annabelle developed platonic feelings for another demigod named Percy Jackson, a mortal son of Poseidon. However, with the destruction of Asgard after the recent Twilight of the Gods and the devastation of Olympus by Amatsi-Mikaboshi, Zeus created a philanthropic group known as the Olympus Foundation in New York City to better look over mortal affairs. After Zeus was slain by Typhon, an eternal enemy of the Olympian gods, Athena led several of the Olympians to seize control of the foundation and take leadership of the Olympian gods from Hera.

Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 440 lbs.
Eyes: Gray
Hair: Black (NOTE: In some accounts, Athena's hair is inexplicably colored blonde.)

Strength Level: Athena possesses superhuman strength enabling her to lift (press) 35 tons under optimal conditions.

Known Superhuman Powers: Athena possesses the conventional physical attributes of the Olympian Gods. Like all Olympians, she is immortal; she has not aged since reaching adulthood and cannot die by any conventional means. She is immune to all terrestrial diseases and is resistant to conventional injury. It would take an injury of such magnitude that it dispersed a major portion of her bodily molecules to cause her a physical death. Even then, it might be possible for a god of sufficient  power, such as Zeus, or for a number of Olympian gods working together to revive her. Athena also possesses superhuman strength and her Olympian metabolism provides her with greater than human endurance in all physical activities. (Olympian flesh and bone is about three times as dense as similar human tissue, contributing to the superhuman strength and weight of the Olympians.) 

Athena can also tap into and manipulate mystical energies in the universe on a level above most of the Olympian gods, except of course for Zeus or Poseidon. She is more proficient in her mastery of the mystical arts than Ares, Hephaestus, Hermes or Artemis; rivaling perhaps only Aphrodite and Apollo. She can cross dimensional borders, toss small lightning bolts, materialize objects and disguise her appearance as she did when she appeared as wise, old Mentor to Odysseus. She can also alter her size to appear in a more dominant and appearing form before mortals. When appearing on Earth, she can cut herself off from all sensory stimuli such as sight, hearing and touch to appear invisible; she could still be sensed by other immortal gods and by human mystics. She can also command and control fields of energy in the forms of force fields to lift whole ships out of water or to project mystical bolts of energy concussive on impact.

Athena has exceptional psychic ability enabling her to "read" a single individual within a few seconds of their past, motivations, pursuits and emotional desires. She can implant thoughts and suggestions and even drive mortals to inspiration to create or invent on a level of the Muses. She could also wield great psychokinetic energies to inflict bad luck on mortals of her choice. This power was strong enough that certain individuals would endure lives dominated by "bad luck," unlikely incidents that occurred within the boundaries of probability. Athena could also transform mortals into animals, such when she turned Arachne into a spider.

Abilities: Athena is a mistress of all forms of non-technical wisdom, mostly philosophy, psychology, problem-solving and rational stragedy. She is well-versed in the use of non-technical weapons such as swords and an extra-ordinary combatant in armed and unarmed combat. Despite her proficiency with a sword, she is a brilliant combat strategist equal or above that of Ares.

Weapons: Athena carries a sword capable of cutting through any substance and a shield. Her aegis (breastplate) has been emblazoned with the face of Medusa the Gorgon, her former priestess.

Pets: Athena owned a pet owl as a symbol of her wisdom and reverence. According to one account, it was named Bubo and was likely imbued with godly characteristics. It would have been made a gift to Perseus until Hephaestus made an artificial counterpart of it to give to him.  

Comments: This bio of Athena involves her appearances in the Marvel Universe, the DC Universe, Rift-Worlds, the Legendary Journeys, the Percy Jackson series and the movie, "Clash of The Titans."

Athena has been rarely portrayed in the motion pictures; she has most notably been played by Isabella Rosselini in "The Odyssey" (1989) and by Melina Kanakaredes in "Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief" (2009).

CLARIFICATIONS: Athena is not to be confused with: 

Last updated: 12/26/11

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