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[希腊神话48]雅典娜

2006-02-28 00:00

  Athena

  On one occasion Zeus suffered a bad headache.All the gods,including Apollo,the god of medicine  ,had tried uselessly to offer an effective treatment  .Then the father of gods and men asked Hephaestus to open his head.This the god of the fire did.To the wonder of all the Olympians,a goddess,well-grown and full-armed,came out of Zeus' head.The goddess was giving off light and splendor. She was Athena,goddess of wisdom and knowledge and patroness of Athens  .

  The story of Athena becoming patron goddess of Athens concerns the struggle between the goddess and Poseidon.When the city of Athens was first built by a Phoenician  ,both Poseidon and Athena competed for the honour of naming it.It was then agreed that whoever offered the most useful object for men would become the patron of the city.Poseidon struck the ground with his trident and produced a horse,whereas Athena had an olive tree  to present,a symbol of peace and plenty.As the horse was regarded as struggle and sorrow, Athens was named after the goddess,who soon took the city under her protection.

  Athena was the goddess of arts and crafts  and woman' s handiwork.She was so skilled with her hands that she tolerated no challenge to her skill in this respect . A Lydian maid,Arachne by name,did not seem to think much of Athena's skill,for she frequently talked big  that she could beat the goddess if she had the chance to do so.The goddess was quite angry.

  Dressed up as an old woman,she went to advise Arachne to be modest.But the ignorant crafts woman  bravely asked the goddess herself to come down and compete with her.At this the goddess took off her disguise and accepted the competition. The two women immediately set about making different designs.

  While the goddess worked on the story of her rivalry with Poseidon,Arachne began to make a delicate web.When both pieces were finished,Arachne saw,to her surprise,that she had been beaten,for the goddess' design was infinitely better.She felt so shamed that she tied a piece of silk to hang herself.But Just before she breathed her last breath the goddess changed her into a spider and let her weave forever.

  有一次,宙斯得了严重的头痛症。包括药神阿波罗在内的所有山神都试图对他实施一种有效的治疗,但结果都是徒劳的。众神与人类之父宙斯只好要求火神赫斐斯托斯打开他的头颅。火神那样做了。令奥林波斯山诸神惊讶的是:一位体态婀娜、披坚执锐的女神从裂开的头颅中走了出来,光彩照人,仪态万方。她就是智慧与知识女神雅典娜,也是雅典的守护神。

  雅典娜成为雅典的守护神的传说和女神与波塞冬之间的争斗有关。当雅典首次由一个腓尼基人建成时,波塞冬与雅典娜争夺为之命名的荣耀。最后达成协议;能为人类提供最有用东西的人将成为该城的守护神。波塞冬用他的三叉戟敲打地面变出了一匹战马。而雅典娜则变出了一棵橄榄树——和平与富裕的象征。因战马被认为是代表战争与悲伤,因此雅典就以女神的名字命名。女神很快将该城纳入她的保护之中。

  雅典娜是艺术、工艺和妇女手工之神,双手灵巧,无法忍受别人的挑战。一位名叫阿瑞克妮的莉迪亚族少女,似乎瞧不起雅典娜的本领,并常吹嘘如有机会定能击败女神雅典娜。一气之下,女神装扮成一位老妇,劝告阿瑞克妮应谦虚一些。但那位愚昧无知的女手艺人,竟勇敢地向她发出挑战。女神卸去伪装,接受了挑战。两位妇女立刻着手创作各自的作品。女神设计的图案叙述了她与波塞冬争斗的故事,而阿瑞克妮则编织了一张精细的网。之后,阿瑞克妮吃惊地发现自己输了,因女神的作品要好得多。她感到非常羞耻,便用一根丝线自缢。但在咽气之前,女神将她变成了一只蜘蛛,让她永远地编织。

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