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In NetHack, Athena is the lawful goddess of the Healer pantheon.


Athena, or Athene, is an ancient Greek goddess associated with wisdom, warfare, and handicraft who was later syncretized with the Roman goddess Minerva. Athena was regarded as the patron and protectoress of various cities across Greece, particularly the city of Athens that she is most likely named for, and major symbols include owls, olive trees, snakes, and the Gorgoneion. In art, she is generally depicted wearing a helmet and holding a spear. Originating as an Aegean palace goddess, Athena was closely associated with the city, with her names and epithets including Pallas, Parthenos, Polias, and Poliouchos (both derived from polis, meaning "city-state"); as the patron of craft and weaving she was known as Ergane, and as a warrior goddess she was believed to lead soldiers into battle as Athena Promachos.

Athena was believed to have been born from the forehead of her father Zeus: in some versions of the story, Athena has no mother and is born from Zeus' forehead by parthenogenesis; in others, such as Hesiod's Theogony, Zeus swallows his consort Metis while she was pregnant with Athena, and the goddess is first born within Zeus and then escapes from his body through his forehead. In the founding myth of Athens, Athena bested Poseidon in a competition over patronage of the city by creating the first olive tree. Athena was the patron goddess of heroic endeavor, aiding the heroes Perseus, Heracles, Bellerophon, and Jason; her feud with Aphrodite and Hera resulted in the beginning of the Trojan War.

Athena also plays an active role in the Iliad, where she assists the Achaeans, and in the Odyssey, where she is the divine counselor to Odysseus. In the later writings of the Roman poet Ovid, Athena was said to have competed against the mortal Arachne in a weaving competition, afterward transforming Arachne into the first spider; Ovid also describes how Athena transformed her priestess Medusa and the latter's sisters, Stheno and Euryale, into the Gorgons. Since the Renaissance, Athena has become an international symbol of wisdom, the arts, and classical learning, and Western artists and allegorists have often used Athena as a symbol of freedom and democracy.



In dNetHack, notdNetHack and notnotdNetHack, Athena is a lawful goddess of holiness, and her minions consist of myrmidon hoplites, myrmidon lochies, myrmidon ypolochagoi, myrmidon lochagoi, deminymphs, Shield Archons, Sword Archons, and Light Archons.

Athena's crowning gift is the Aegis, a lawful leather roundshield that can be wished for. The Aegis can be applied to change forms between a roundshield and a leather cloak, grants reflection and half physical damage while worn in either form, and can be enchanted to +7. Upon killing Medusa or the Grue in a game, the Aegis can be invoked in shield form to channel Medusa's power in a selected direction: invoking the Aegis downwards will burn up to three Gorgoneion engravings onto the floor based on its beatitude, while invoking it in the direction of a monster will attempt to petrify them; if the monster has stoning resistance or the petrification fails, they will instead be rendered stunned, confused, and crazed.

Encyclopedia entry

Both "Athena" and the alternate spelling "Athene" return this entry:

Athene was the offspring of Zeus, and without a mother. She sprang forth from his head completely armed. Her favourite bird was the owl, and the plant sacred to her is the olive.

[ Bulfinch's Mythology, by Thomas Bulfinch ]