Athena vs. Poseidon

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Athens, one of the chief city-states of all of ancient Greece, was a city greatly desired by two powerful deities: Athena and Poseidon. The myth that shows how this dispute was settled is depicted in many ways. This story can vary depending on which depiction is being observed. There are slight discrepancies between the Greek version of this myth, the Roman version, and the sculpture shown on the Parthenon in Athens. With close scrutiny of this myth, it is clear that culture, time period, and genre all are reasons for this myths disparity.

This myth starts with a king named Crecrops, who is half man and half snake. He is the king of a flourishing unnamed city state in need of a patron god. He turns to Poseidon and Athena who both want to be the patron deity of this thriving city. Quickly a conflict arises between these two powerful gods. The first discrepancy between the Greek version of this myth (Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3 14. 1) and the Roman version of this myth (Ovid, Metamorphoses 6. 70) is that when Athena and Poseidon are about to go to war over this conflict these two myths have a different deity suggesting an alternative course of action. In the earlier Greek depictions of this myth Athena decides to hold a contest of who can contribute most to King Crecrops and his city-state. After they had given their gifts (an olive tree from Athena and a salt water spring from Poseidon; Poseidon’s spring that he created also serves as an aetion of how a specific river was created near Athens. The river or spring is named Erektheis) the king would decide the victor: the patron deity of his state. In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, it is Jove who decides to hold a contest, and the judges of the contest are Olympian gods and goddesses. One reason for this difference is that the learned Ovid is giving as much respect to Jove as he can. He was being very wary not to disrespect Jove in anyway, for he did not want to end up like Prometheus. “…With his limbs...
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