Within Greek mythology, according to Hesiod, the first wife of Zeus, the leader of the Olympians, was Metis who was considered to be "the most knowing" (as the word metis is interpreted) of all beings.
Prior to Metis giving birth, Zeus deceived his pregnant wife with cunning words and assimilated her into his own body. Both Mother Earth and Father Sky had advised him to do this as such an action would prevent any of his descendants from robbing him of his kingly rank, as this is what happened to both his father, Cronus (who he overthrew) and his grandfather, Uranus.
It was also destined that the most brilliant children were to be born to the Goddess Metis: first, the daughter Athena, and later a son, the future King of Gods and men.
And so, when Athena came into the world, she merged from Zeus's head, fully armed.
In Homer's Iliad, Athena was described as a Goddess of ferocious and implacable fight, but, wherever she can be found, she only was a warrior to defend the State of Athens (to which she gave her name) and the native land against the enemies coming from outside.
Zeus's favorite, Athena was allowed to use her father's insignia: the terrible shield, the aegis and his devastating weapon, the ray.
Described as "the bright eyed", Athenas is considered to be the first of the three virgin Goddesses, also known as Maiden, Parthenos. It was from this name that the most important ancient Greek temple, the Parthenon, was name.
A Hymn to Athena by Apollonius Sophistes
I sing how first Athena came to view,
A wondrous sight for Gods, and mortals too.
The story starts with Metis, Ocean's child
By Tethys, ancient Titans both, and wild
Primordial Gods. Resourceful Metis was
The wisest of the Gods - the Glorious
Producer of the drug that did unloose
From Kronos' cavernous maw Almighty Zeus.
She lay in love with Brontes `neath a bough,
An Ancient One who seeth from His brow,
A Cyclops skilled in Subterranean ways,
Who made for Zeus the lightning bolt ablaze.
A seed was formed that mixed both skill and thought,
And grew inside Her belly round and taut.
With dread heard Zeus of Metis' pregnancy,
Because He feared a grave catastrophe:
His blazing lightning bolt would lose the fight,
Defeated by a greater tool of light.
So Zeus the pregnant Goddess tried to woo,
And strove to plant His seed in Metis too.
She fled from Him by shifting form and shape,
First fish then fowl, and desperate to escape.
But finally Metis, though in form a goose,
Was mounted by a swan - almighty Zeus.
The Thunderer had mixed his seed of Will
With Metis' Council and with Brontes' Skill.
Because He craved Her council as His own,
With wiley words He won Her over; thrown
Inside His Belly, Metis was received
By Zeus, and thus Athena was conceived.
But when approached Athena's birthing time,
Arose She from His hips and climbed His spine,
Her presence filled His head; He roared in pain
As Insight from Athena stretched His brain.
Commanded He to cleave His brow apart
Hephaistos, Master of the Fiery Art.
The Holy Axe the Crippled Craftsman whirled;
A blast enlightened Zeus and shook the world,
While from His head Athena leaped, severe
In blazing bronze and brandishing a spear.
The Gods were routed by Her savage cry,
But then She laughed, a twinkle in Her eye,
And put aside Her helmet, shield and spear,
And so the Gods recovered from Their fear.
Delighted, each admired the full-grown maid;
Her eyes are large and owlish; none evade
The vision of the Maid of Many Plans,
The wisest counsel of th' Olympians.