Athena The Olympic Goddess of Wisdom, Warfare and Weaving. She was a recurring character on Young Hercules, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess. Athena is more understanding and caring than most other Olympian gods and in return she is greatly beloved by mortals. For this reason, she rarely interacted with Hercules and Xena, as humanity didn't need to be defended from her and her worshippers tended to be paragons themselves.
The Trial of Ares
In the Young Hercules episode, Ares on Trial, Athena headed the Tribunal which would decide whether or not Ares was guilty of breaking Zeus' protection order by attempting to murder their half-brother, Hercules. It is obvious that Athena holds great disdain for Ares and is a fair and just goddess. A teenage Hercules seemed to already be familiar with Athena at this time.
The beauty contest
Athena once offered Iolaus the chance to be the smartest man in the world if he voted for her in a beauty contest against Artemis and Aphrodite. Instead, Iolaus chose Aphrodite as winner. (HTLJ "The Apple")
Succession of Zeus
When Zeus is killed by Hercules, Athena took command of Olympus. She believes in the prophecy, that, if Xena's child is allowed to live, it will bring about the twilight of the gods. She is determined not to let this happen so she sets out to kill Xena's child. She gathers a great army to Roman Soldiers, the Royal Guards of Cleopatra, Knights from Brittania and her own Athenian Archers, all to lay siege to Xena's home village. When Athena's favorite warrior Illainus is killed, she retreats.
Athena continued her fight against Xena. She and Hades attacked Xena, but the warrior princess manages to escape when she destroys Hades' Helmet of Invisibility. Not one to give up easily, Athena then ordered Celesta to kill Xena but Celesta, like the Fates, refuses to interfere in what she considers the natural order. Athena angrily insisted that Celesta carries out her instructions. However, Celesta was captured by Xena instead. In response, Athena ordered her archers to capture Gabrielle and find out where Xena is hiding. Athena traded Gabrielle for Celesta and then gave chase, along with Hephaestus and Hades. Athena and the others rain fireballs on Xena, Gabrielle and Eve until the cart they've been travelling in catches fire and topples over the cliff. Athena watched as Xena searches frantically for Eve in the wreckage and then grieving over Gabrielle's body. Satisfied that Eve is dead, Athena returned to Olympus.
Rule of Olympians Gods
Believing Xena, Gabrielle and Eve to be dead, Athena continued her rule on Olympus for the next 25 years. When she found out that Eve was still alive, she began her campaign to end Eve's life once more. Athena called on the Furies to torment Gabrielle over Joxer's death. However, while Eve was cleansed of her sins by the baptist of Eli, Xena having been granted the power kill immortals from the archangel Michael, so a few gods attempted to attack her, however Xena was able to kill Poseidon, Discord and Hephaestus and Athena then berated the remains gods for their hasty actions and insists on the Furies doing their job.
The Furies managed to compel Gabrielle to attempt to kill Eve while she is distracted. Xena races back to save her daughter, accidentally wounding Gabrielle. The Olympians then take the chance to attack thinking that the furies had failed, only to lose Deimos and Hades in the process, forcing Athena and Artemis retreat to Olympus.
Aphrodite, who was Gabrielle's friend, brought them to Olympus, where Xena attempted to bargain with Athena, to save both Gabrielle and Eve in exchange for leaving them alone Athena refused to be dictated to by a mortal. Fortunately for the Goddess of Wisdom, Eve teetered on the verge of death during her battle with Xena and thus the warrior princess no longer had the power to kill deities. Xena was powerless against the Greek goddess until Ares intervened, giving up his immortality and godhood to save Eve and Gabrielle. He told his half-sister that he had a thing for her (Xena), as well as he was sorry, before Xena kills her (Athena), ending the rule of Athena.
Xena: The all the gods you are seem ( Athena) the only one worthy my respect.
Athena is precise and may seem cold and calculating, she takes her duty as a goddess very seriously her manners are worthy. She adheres to the paladin honor code at all times, only when faced with the Twilight, does she also consider the opposite.
Athena relates to humanity only when she deems it necessary, she is not closely related to them but is not indifferent to humankind. In her fight against Xena, Athena is predisposed to use subtle methods in the first place rather than more drastic tactics as a last resort.
Powers and abilities
Athena is a powerful olympic goddess and possesses the normal range of Powers and Abilities of an Olympic god. Her power is complemented by her skill in combat. Wisdom, knowledge, strategy, and civilization are some of the domains of Athena.
As a war goddess, Athena seems to be more reserved with her powers and allows her skill on the batterfield and her soldiers do most of the work for her. However, when threatened, she will rely much more heavily on her divine abilities. It is unknown what the limit to Athena's abilities are but the following are an example of her more favored talents.
- Age shifting: This is the ability to change the age of an individual. Athena was shown being able to use this in The Key to the Kingdom when she turned King Cleades into a baby and Queen Gryphia into an old woman.
- Clairvoyance: Athena has shown to have some level of clairvoyance or omniscience, being able to know and see things through divine means. She showed this first in Amphipolis Under Siege when she looked at a model of the village and was able to see the tunnles running under the earth. She does seem limited in this ability, however, as she was unable to find Eve or Xena on many occassions when she was looking for her.
- Fire: Though she likely has control over multiple elements, Athena seemed to favor fire. This works well in her role as a goddess of civilization and contrasts against Ares' cold lightning. Athena would usually channel this power through her sword, causing the blade to be engulfed in flame (Amphipolis under Siege), or using it to blast beams of fire (Looking Death in the Eye).
- Healing: One of Athena's most iconic powers is her ability to heal. She was shown using this to undo cuts on Illainus from Xena, but was stated that she cannot heal a mortal wound. After the deaths of Zeus and Hera, it seems that commandment of this divine ability fell into the hands of Athena and no other Olympian god could use it without her blessing.
- Immortality: Like all gods, Athena is immortal. She heals instantly from any damage done to her and will live agelessly for eternity. It is also assumed that, like other gods, she does not feel pain. She did, however, attempt to shield herself from the shards of the Helmet of Invisibility after it had been destroyed by Xena's chakram, showing that divine items may be able to do some damage (Looking Death in the Eye).
- Invisibility: The ability to render yourself unseen by others around you is a common power held by many gods. Athena is easily able to choose who may and may not percieve her as when she spoke with Xena in Amphipolis while no one else was able to see or hear that she was there.
- Strength: Gods possess greatly enhanced strength compared to mortals.
- Teleportation: A common power among gods is the ability to disappear and reappear instantly wherever she chooses. For Athena, this takes the form of a golden ball of light rising from a shower of sparks. Her form of teleportation is similar to Aphrodite's, Discord's, and Ares' in appearance.
- Combat: Athena is an excellent fighter as seen when she went toe to toe with Ares and overpowered him on occassion. Though her warriors will usually fight with bow and arrow, her main weapon is a sword.
- Leadership: The goddess commands great prestige among mortals as well as among other gods. Even Xena stated that at one point Athena was the only one of the Olympians that she respected. Like Ares, Athena has control of many legions of armies. After the death of Zeus and Hera, Athena became the new queen of the Olympian gods.
- Strategy: As the goddess of wisdom, one of Athena's greatest assets is her great mind. She fights more with strategy than she does with force and is shown formulating plans, predicting her enemies tactics, and uncovering mysteries to accomplish her means. Athena also is able to think many steps ahead of any situation. She will often use her powers to help mortals learn a lesson as seen in Lost Mariner or The Key to the Kingdom.
- Weaving: It is only mentioned, but among her many talents, Athena is also the goddess of weaving and other handicrafts.
- Athena's champion and friend was Ilainus of Mycenae, before Xena killed her.
- Although the exact difference between Athena and Ares' portfolios was never explained on screen, it should be noted that Ares' armies tended to consist of warlords and hordes, while Athena's were made up of elite troops, civic militias, and even heroes.
- She was played by Amanda Lister on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Jane Fullerton-Smith on Young Hercules and most notably as Paris Jefferson during her more pivotal role on Xena: Warrior Princess. All three portrayals were wildly different in both personality and wardrobe.
- According to Tara interpretation game, Athena was born from the head of Zeus
- In Greek mythology, Athena was the goddess of war's positive aspects, meaning battle strategy, military tactics, rules of engagement, and the glory of a well-won battle. Ares was the god of war's baser violence, bloodlust, and loss of life. Greek soldiers and generals generally prayed to Athena rather than Ares. In Roman mythology, Ares took on some of Athena's portfolio, she being favored by the Romans as the goddess of wisdom.
- Athena's truncated role in the Xenaverse is at odds with her chief function in Greek mythology, the patron of heroes. Athena is Heracles' guide and patron in most versions of the myth - it is Athena who petitions Zeus and Hera for him to join the Olympians at the end of his life. Ulysses was in fact her favorite of all mortals and most of the actions attributed to Xena in the Ulysses episode are mythologically actions of Athena. A hero such as Xena in traditional Greek mythology would have probably been patronized by Athena. The series does establish that Xena and Athena both have a mutual respect of each other. It was only when Athena tried to kill Eve that they became enemies.
- Athena as the default successor (or at least, the heir) of Zeus is a popular idea in modern retellings of Greek mythology, where Athena has retained much of her ancient popularity. Athena has a close relationship with humanity and in the Iliad is the only one of Zeus' daughters to also be his confidante. By modern standards, she also comes across as the most level-headed Olympian. Furthermore, the prophecy that led to Athena's unusual birth made it quite clear that, had Athena been male, she would have proceeded to kill Zeus and take his place.
- Strictly speaking, in the Xenaverse, it should have been Hercules and not Athena who succeeded Zeus, since the rule of Olympus (both in mythology and the Xenaverse) passes to whichever son kills the previous king.
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
Xena: Warrior Princess
- "The Price" (Mentioned)
- "The Lost Mariner" (Mentioned)
- "The Key to the Kingdom" (Mentioned)
- "Amphipolis Under Siege"
- "Looking Death in the Eye"