Athena and “Creative Mercy”

 

Athena, goddess of Wisdom, serves in both the Odyssey and in the Oresteia to bring

Athena Varvakeion, Roman copy of a statue of Athena by Phidias, 3d century AD, National Archeological Museum, Athens

Athena Varvakeion, Roman copy of a statue of Athena by Phidias, 3d century AD, National Archeological Museum, Athens

“creative mercy”¹ to situations that otherwise would perpetuate blood feuds.  Vendettas–“an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”– are the normal condition of being in the world, of being in duality and opposition, and can be stopped only by forgiveness.  This is hundreds of years before Christ, and in both stories it is Athena’s final form.  She leaves behind the goddess of war, and becomes the goddess of wisdom, of forgiveness.

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