Sacred Virtues: Athena and the Defense of Civilization - Essay Example

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Sacred Virtues: Athena and the Defense of Civilization

It is perhaps symptomatic of the aggressive Mycenaean civilization that Athena, the worship of whom may have begun as a fertility rite, morphed into the Olympian warrior goddess. Yet hers is not the persona of the bloodthirsty and vengeful immortal. In this paper, I will characterize Athena as a goddess whose civilizing inclinations emphasized intellect and wisdom and, as such, established her as the archetypal Greek deity. II. Defender and preserver We see the representation of Athena as restorer of social order in The Odyssey, which culminates in the destruction of Penelope’s suitors. Athena plays a key role in this denouement, lending her wisdom to the proceedings and bringing equilibrium to Odysseus and his kingdom. Name 2 Through everything, her overriding concern is to ensure Odysseus’ restoration as king and to pacify the kingdom of Ithaca (Clarke, 81). To that end, she becomes profoundly involved in the overthrow of the suitors, aiding Odysseus with her cunning, changing his outward form to deceive his enemies and ordering events to his benefit. Balance and civilization are her concern; Athena is not only concerned with returning Odysseus to the throne but to ending the threat of vendetta from the suitors’ families and followers, to “replace anarchy with justice in Ithaca” (Ibid). ...Show more


Name 1 Name Class Instructor Date Sacred Virtues: Athena and the Defense of Civilization I. Introduction Homer’s characterization of Athena is the prevailing view of the goddess that has come down to us from antiquity. In The Odyssey, Athena acts as guide, adviser and shield to Odysseus…
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