Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom, Warfare, and Weaving is 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.
Biography[edit | edit source]
The Trial of Ares[edit | edit source]
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[edit | edit source]
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[edit | edit source]
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 rival anything Ares could ever muster: 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/girlfriend, Illainus is killed, she retreats in mourning.
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 & Death[edit | edit source]
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 followers of Eli, the deities attempted to attack her. However, Xena was able to slay a number of the deities, having been granted the power from the new angel, Eli. Athena then berated the remains of the Pantheon for their brash 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, only to lose Deimos and Hades in the process, forcing them to 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. But the decades of paranoia and loss had worn down Athena's sense of justice, replacing it with bitter pride. The lady of Olympus 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 Olympians.
Personality[edit | edit source]
Athena is proud of her powers, but thinks it a sacred duty to use them for the benefit of her mortal worshipers. She prefers to teach them how to improve conditions for themselves, rather than micro-managing their every step. As long as she is accorded due respect from mortals, she will work tirelessly to improve their living conditions.
The manners of Athena are worthy and precise. Although it is not high, it instantly becomes the focus of attention, even in a multitude of deities. She adheres to the paladin honor code at all times. Only when faced with the Twilight, does she also consider the opposite.
Powers & Abilities[edit | edit source]
Athena is one of the most powerful Olympian gods, she possesses the normal range of Powers and Abilities of an Olympic god, as well as possessing power nearly equal to Hades and Poseidon, who are the most powerful after Zeus.
Wisdom, knowledge, strategy, arts & crafts, and civilization are some of the domains of Athena as warrior goddess, she can best Ares in combat and as the leader of the Olympics the other gods need her permission for the healing of wounds or illnesses.
Maybe the reason why Athena takes the place of Zeus is because she is the first child of Zeus, applying the law of the firstborn.
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Athena's favorite among mortals 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.
Mythology[edit | edit source]
- 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.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Appearances[edit | edit source]
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys[edit | edit source]
Xena: Warrior Princess[edit | edit source]
- "The Price" (Mentioned)
- "The Lost Mariner" (Mentioned)
- "The Key to the Kingdom" (Mentioned)
- "Amphipolis Under Siege"
- "Looking Death in the Eye"
Young Hercules[edit | edit source]