Aphrodite and Athena were both great powerful women who were revered as goddesses in greek mythology. They both were greatly worshipped, however due to their distinct personality traits they were worshipped and spoken about and very different ways. Both goddesses are immortal and female, and both seem to distinguish the incongruous gender roles between men and women throughout ancient Greece. What makes these two goddesses interesting, however, is their differences, which will determine how they will be reflected in myth. On one hand you have Athena, the androgynous goddess of war and wisdom. On the other you have Aphrodite, the goddess of love and sexuality. During this time, even among the immortals, women were seen as inferior and less powerful as apposed to men. But due to Athena’s masculinity, she was discussed almost as an exception to this belief, but only enough to be considered a step above women and below mortal men. While Aphrodite who embraced her femininity and sexuality, was seen as one of the most inferior immortals by other immortals and thus by myth writers.
What makes the depiction between Athena and Aphrodite interesting is the different ways they are portrayed even sharing the similarity of being born strictly from male only. Athena from the all-powerful king of the gods Zeus and Aphrodite from Ouronos. Though they were both born from man alone, the content of these births caused Athena to be expressed in a more dignified, respected, and superior way. Hesiod’s recount of the births of Athena and Aphrodite in his Theogony reveals the source of Athena’s superiority. According to the Theogony, Ouranos’ genitals are thrown into the sea where they mix with the sea foam to result in Aphrodite (Hesiod 180-192). A...
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...the Iliad in Book 8 when she wears his armor, book 5 when Ares accuses Zeus of ignoring Athena’s unruly behavior, and lastly when Athena got jealous of Zeus’ affection towards Thetis and claimed “the day will come when he will again call me his flashing-eyed darling” (Homer, Iliad).
Overall, Aphrodite and Athena are both complex goddesses that are worshipped for very different reasons, however are both equally powerful, and should not be out shadowed or extinguished by the other. The tensions between them are clear, but being a sister they remind me of myself crying out for daddies attention when the other gets more, or I feel less like the favorite. Everyone wants to be the favorite. However, in greek mythology as women they will always come after and below men. I think this is the most important thing they have in common and should stick together for that reason.
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