When Hera, Apollo, Poseidon and Athena lead a revolt/rebellion against Zeus, they failed and were punished. Apollo and Poseidon were sent to build Troy's wall. Hera was tied upside down from the heavens. But, no punishment for Athena, Greek goddess of Wisdom, is mentioned that I have ever found. Did she get a punishment? What was it? If she wasn't punished, why not?

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    My understanding was Athena escaped punishment because she was Zeus' favorite child and found it easy to escape punishment in situations like these.
    – auden
    Apr 22, 2018 at 22:34
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    This is a really interesting question. Heather's comment is accurate re: Athena's favored status, but let's also not forget the prophecy that led to Athena's birth instead of a son who would overthrow his father. I'd go so far as to suggest Zeus may have been reluctant to punish her, fearing her cunning.
    – DukeZhou
    Apr 23, 2018 at 22:09
  • Since I was requested to do so in chat: this story is mentioned in this wikipedia article.
    – auden
    Apr 24, 2018 at 0:05

1 Answer 1


There was none

It is specifically noted in this passage from wikipedia that there is doubt as to whether the event is canonical mythology or simply a creation of Homer to add literary weight to Achilles pleas with his mother: From the Wikipedia article around the goddess Thetis who is Achilles mother https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thetis

Quintus of Smyrna, recalling this passage, does write that Thetis once released Zeus from chains; but there is no other reference to this rebellion among the Olympians, and some readers, such as M. M. Willcock,[5] have understood the episode as an ad hoc invention of Homer's to support Achilles' request that his mother intervene with Zeus.

As such the primary source we have for the story is the Illiad itself which mentioned the pleas of Achilles in Book one from which the story is derived

Often I heard you, in my father’s halls, claim proudly that you alone of the immortals saved Zeus, son of Cronos, lord of the storm, from a vile fate when those other Olympians, Hera, Poseidon, and Pallas Athene, planned to bind him fast. Goddess, you swiftly summoned, to high Olympus, the hundred-handed monster whom gods call Briareus, and men Aegaeon, mightier than his father Poseidon; and you saved Zeus from those bonds. For Briareus seated himself, in his strength, beside that son of Cronos, and the sacred gods in fear left Zeus alone.

We also see references made in the Illiad in Book 7 to the fact that Poseidon and Apollo built the walls, not however that this was specifically as punishment for their crimes noted earlier:

Have you seen how the long-haired Greeks are again behaving, building a wall to guard the ships, with a ditch around it, and not a single sacrifice to the gods? Surely its fame will reach to the ends of dawn, and men will forget the wall that I and Phoebus Apollo toiled to build for that warrior Laomedon.

There is no direct reference in the Illiad to a punishment directed toward Athena from Zeus as a consequence of her actions.

At the end of it all Athena was born from Zeus directly and was well known as his favorite https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athena

Athena is "born" from Zeus's forehead as a result of him having swallowed her mother Metis, as he grasps the clothing of Eileithyia on the right; black-figured amphora, 550–525 BC, Louvre. Although Athena appears before Zeus at Knossos—in Linear B, as 𐀀𐀲𐀙𐀡𐀴𐀛𐀊, a-ta-na po-ti-ni-ja, "Mistress Athena"[12][11]—in the Classical Olympian pantheon, Athena was remade as the favourite daughter of Zeus, born fully armed from his forehead.[Notes 9] The story of her birth comes in several versions.[74] In the version recounted by Hesiod in his Theogony, Zeus lay with Metis, the goddess of crafty thought and wisdom,[75] but he immediately feared the consequences[75] because Gaia and Ouranos had prophesized that Metis would bear children wiser than he himself.[76] In order to prevent this, Zeus swallowed Metis,[77] but it was too late because Metis had already conceived.[77][78][Notes 10]

Eventually Zeus experienced an enormous headache;[79] Prometheus, Hephaestus, Hermes, Ares, or Palaemon (depending on the sources examined)[80] cleaved Zeus’ head with the double-headed Minoan axe, the labrys.[80] Athena leaped from Zeus's head, fully grown and armed,[80] with a shout—"and pealed to the broad sky her clarion cry of war. And Ouranos trembled to hear, and Mother Gaia…"[81]

It is therefore commonly taken that while punishments could have been meted out to the other gods for their transgressions that Athena was forgiven.

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