International Tales : Greece

Participation from Greece, by Panagiota Christodoulidou

Giota, 22 years old, lives in Thessaloniki (more precisely Nea Michaniona) in the north of the country, studies Mathematics and computer sciences – follow her on instagram @namelessgiota

The real story of Athena

Growing up, I often heard stories from the Greek mythology. We used to study it in elementary school before it was time to study the real history of Greece and the world. At home we have children’s books about the Greek mythology, specifically a series of books that were created in 1978. These books were my mother’s when she was a child, so we grew up reading the same stories from the same books. My favorite goddess was Athena, the goddess of wisdom. One of the books was focused on her and it was the one I read most often.

> What I love about mythology and Greek folklore in general is how it captures the love the Greeks had for their life in their land. The stories are simple and they are built around the natural beauty of Greece. There are so many mythological gods and deities because they created one for the things that they appreciated, whether that was the sea and the sky or simply the fire that keeps the home warm. They made art for them and put it on the Acropolis, high so everyone can see it, or passed it to the next generations in the form of words and people loved it so much that it has survived until today. This art and these stories are a celebration of our land and of our life and of being human.

Her story begins with her strange birth. There was one goddess, Mother Earth, who could see the fortune of the immortal gods. She told Zeus that one of his children with Mitida, the daughter of Ocean, would take the throne from him. In order to avoid this, Zeus closed Mitida inside of his body and acquired her wisdom. Even though the danger had passed Zeus experienced terrible headaches. They were so bad that he commanded Hephaestus to crack open his head with his hammer.

The moment Hephaestus did it a huge godly light appeared and out of Zeus’ head came Athena, his daughter and goddess of wisdom. She greeted the gods and immediately took off her armor and placed it with her godly weapons at the feet of her father. She did not want to have to use them. Athena was a peculiar goddess. She spent most of her time away from Olympus and alongside humans, helping them and teaching them all kinds of things. The creations she gave to humans were countless, with the most useful one being the plow.

It led to a much bigger production of food and a lot more wealth. However, because of this some people
stopped working and were living at the expense of others, who they made their slaves. Athena did not expect this, and it made her very sad. So, she worked hard and gave humanity her biggest gift: fine arts and science. And life changed then, as beauty came into the world. The cities were filled with statues, monuments and temples. The true sciences blossomed too, as she taught to people mathematics, astronomy, medicine and many more.

And so, with creative work brutality was replaced by humanity. Athena was wise and just. She believed in those who valued beauty, humanity and knowledge. And when enemies threatened to destroy the peace, she did not hesitate to pick up her weapons and fight for it alongside the human soldiers and heroes. She was a fierce warrior, and her biggest enemy was Ares, the god of war. In the end she always defeated him and restored the peace of the world.

Her beloved city was Athens. She helped build it and protect it and she worked tirelessly to make it beautiful. The story of how Athens became her city involves Poseidon, the god of the sea. Poseidon and Athena both wanted the city to be dedicated to them. He gifted the city a well that helped the sailors decide when to set sail and she gifted them an olive tree. When he saw that, he immediately tried to attack it, but Athena protected it. The two gods were about to start fighting with their godly weapons when Zeus appeared. He brought the rest of the gods and they all voted either for Athena or Poseidon.

All the goddesses voted for Athena, and she won. And so, Athens was named after her and it became her city, the center of wisdom and beauty of the world. The Athenians loved her, and they celebrated her with big festivals and competitions called Panathenaea. Their biggest gift to the wise goddess was the buildings of the Acropolis, especially the biggest one, the Parthenon.

All of this isn’t written in the book as a compact story but as a series of smaller stories and descriptions that in the end come together to complete Athena’s character. I believe I liked her more than the rest because she didn’t really seem like a goddess but more like a selfless human queen who cared for her people and wanted the best for them. Her story didn’t involve falling in love with a man or bearing children. She existed for art and science and fighting for what she believed was sacred.

Scanned pages, from the collection of Greek history in young albums, all dating from 1978 ! The language used is old Greek, but the reading is still accessible for people who read modern Greek.

OpenEdition vous propose de citer ce billet de la manière suivante :
noaderycke (11 décembre 2023). International Tales : Greece. Festival Transversales. Consulté le 12 juillet 2024 à l’adresse

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