Medusa was another mortal who had suffered at Athena's hands. For whatever reason, the goddess Athena, displeased with Medusa, turned her into a monster who could turn people to stone if they chanced to look upon her eyes or face. Not content with making Medusa into an anti-social monster, Athena helped Perseus decapitate Medusa. Since Perseus couldn't directly cut off Medusa's head without risking being turned to stone, Athena held a mirrored shield for Perseus to look into while he worked. Perseus gave the lithifying head to Athena as a reward for her help.
When Iodama glanced at the head of Medusa, it turned her to stone.
The following tale, too, is told. Iodama, who served the goddess as priestess, entered the precinct by night, where there appeared to her Athena, upon whose tunic was worked the head of Medusa the Gorgon. When Iodama saw it, she was turned to stone.[Pausanias]
Pallas vs Athena
From Deborah Lyons: Gender and Immortality
Another similar story is told about Pallas, the daughter of Triton, whose death Athena caused indirectly while they were practicing martial arts. In Apollodorus' account Pallas is also a sort of stepsister of Athena, who is being raised by Pallas' father Tritonos. These sibling relations between goddess and mortals are extraordinary, not least for the genealogical and theological difficulties they would create if taken seriously. Nothing similar is found between gods and heroes, nor for any other goddess.
Original (1999) Online References
Identification of the symbol with which Athena was associated.
- [ www.geocities.com/Athens/Parthenon/3449/athena.html ] Athena
Subtitled "The adorable goddess of the Athenians," page explains Arachne, Pegasus,Athena's accoutrements, and her epithets.
- Athena, Goddess of Wisdom
From Perseus Project's Hercules pages.
- Encyclopedia Mythica entry on Athena
- The Encyclopedia of the goddess Athena
Epithets, etymology, cult, functions, representations, birth, temples, relations with heroes, and quarrels with Poseidon. Also see Athena timeline.
Identification of Athena's companion. IXION suppliant to Athena.
- "www.perseus.tufts.edu/cl135/Students/Colin_Delaney/fathena.html" Pheidias: Sculptor to the gods
The Athena Parthenos, by Colin Delaney. An article on what the statue -- full of mythological scenes -- must have looked like.