Illustration of Odysseus tied to a ship's mast

The Odyssey

by Homer
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What god assists Odysseus in his battle and in what ways is Odysseus' helped?

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As is the case with many heroes, the goddess Athene (also spelled Athena) helps Odysseus in his battle against the suitors in Homer's Odyssey.

Athene, goddess of wisdom, war, and weaving, has been anxious about Odysseus' welfare since the beginning of the epic. In Odyssey 1, it is Athene's questioning about Odysseus' welfare that sets things in motion for Odysseus' return to his native land to Ithaca.

When Odysseus arrives in Ithaca in Odyssey 13, Athene greets him and tells him the situation that exists on the island.

In Odyssey 22, when Odysseus battles against Penelope's suitors, Athene, disguised as Mentor, appears "and she exhorted Odysseus with fiery words" (A.S. Kline translation).

In addition to providing verbal encouragement, Athene also "deflected most of" the spears thrown by the suitors.

Later in the battle, Athene "held out her fatal aegis, and the Suitors’ minds were filled with panic." This causes the suitors to flee in fear and lets Odysseus and his few comrades mow them down with their arrows and spears.

We also should not forget that in Odyssey 24, it is Athene who stops the fighting between Odysseus and the suitors relatives.

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