Can you expain how Athena was born?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Athena plays a powerful role in Greek Mythology.  To understand her birth, one has to go back and understand Zeus and his pursuit of Metis.  Zeus came to desire Metis, and eventually won her over.   An Oracle of Gaea then prophesied that Metis first child would be a girl but, her second child would be a boy that would overthrow Zeus as had happened to his father and grandfather. Zeus took this warning to heart. When he next saw Metis he flattered her and put her at her ease. Then with Metis off gaurd Zeus suddenly opened his mouth and swallowed her. This was the end of Metis but, possibly the beginning of Zeus's wisdom.  After a time Zeus developed the mother of all headaches. He howled so loudly it could be heard throughout the earth. The other gods came to see what the problem was.  Hermes realized what needed to be done and directed Hephasetus to take a wedge and split open Zeus's skull. Out of the skull sprang Athena, full grown and in a full set of armour. Due to her manor of birth she has dominion over all things of the intellect.

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