Greek Goddess Athena
The Greek Goddess Athena was born as a full grown adult, sprouting out of the head of her father, Zeus, in full body armour. She is the Goddess of war and strategy, the arts, wisdom and intelligence and also a protectress of the city. Athena had a soft spot for King Odysseus. In Roman mythology, Athena is known as Minerva.
Brief History of Mentoring and Goddess Athena
When King Odysseus left to fight in the Trojan War, he left his dear friend Mentor in charge of his young son Telemachus. Twenty years had gone by, yet Telemachus and his mother Penelope did not know if Odysseus was alive or dead. In The Odyssey of Homer, there are two parallel stories taking place. Back home in Ithaca, Telemachus is trying to ward off the many suitors who are courting his mother because they want to take over her land, meanwhile Odysseus is trying to get back to his kingdom.
Odysseus spent 10 years fighting in the Trojan War and another 10 years trying to get home. On his return journey to Ithaca, King Odysseus faces many hardships – sea storms, sirens, sorceress, Cyclops and much more – to prevent him from getting home.
In the story of The Odyssey of Homer, Mentor as himself is not mentioned very much, however, the Goddess Athena who has a soft spot for Odysseus, disguises herself as Mentor, appears to Telemachus and encourages him to stand up against his mother’s suitors, and to go in search of his father. Athena knows that Odysseus is alive, but she doesn’t want to tell that to Telemachus.
Telemachus takes up the call to find his father, while Odysseus perseveres as he overcomes challenge after challenge to return to Ithaca to his wife and son. Both father and son are on a hero’s journey, with Athena as guide. As the Goddess of wisdom and intelligence, Athena offers father and son the insider knowledge they need to succeed on their heroes’ journey.
Later, mentor morphed into what it is today. According to Wikipedia, “The first recorded modern usage of the term can be traced to a 1699 book entitled Les Aventures de Telemaque, by the French writer François Fénelon. In the book the lead character is that of Mentor. This book was very popular during the 18th century and the modern application of the term can be traced to this publication.”
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