Ancient Narratives

Athena’s Role in the Iliad: Mentorship Manipulation and Triumph

Athena in the Iliad: Mentor, Manipulator, and Intervener

In the ancient Greek epic poem, the Iliad, the goddess Athena plays a significant role, both as a mentor to the hero Achilles, and as a manipulator who interferes in the war between the Greeks and the Trojans. Through her actions, Athena influences the outcome of key events, showcasing her power and cunning.

In this article, we will delve into Athena’s role in the Iliad, focusing on her mentorship of Achilles and her manipulation and interference in the war.

Mentor to Achilles

One of Athena’s prominent roles in the Iliad is that of a mentor to Achilles, the greatest warrior among the Greeks. As a goddess of wisdom, Athena guides and advises Achilles, ultimately shaping his decisions during the war.

When Achilles withdraws from battle due to a dispute with Agamemnon, Athena approaches him disguised as an old man and implores him to rejoin the fight. She says, “Achilles, do not withdraw from the war any longer,” using her wisdom and persuasive skills to convince him.

Through her words, Athena seeks to motivate Achilles, reminding him of his responsibilities as a warrior and the honor that comes with it.

Manipulation and Interference

However, Athena’s role in the Iliad goes beyond being a mentor. She actively manipulates and interferes in the war, using her powers to influence the outcome in favor of the Greeks.

One such instance is during the duel between Menelaos, a Greek warrior, and Paris, a Trojan prince. Athena, seeing that Menelaos is winning the fight, appears by his side, inspiring him with renewed strength.

She encourages him, saying, “Strike, Menelaos, and take vengeance for your wounded comrades.” Athena’s presence and words serve to boost Menelaos’s morale and urge him to strike with greater force. Athena’s presence throughout the duel draws the attention of Paris, who, in admiration of her beauty, becomes captivated by her.

Seizing this opportunity, Aphrodite, the goddess of love, intervenes and whisks Paris away, saving him from Menelaos’s deadly strike. This intervention leads to a temporary truce, halting the battle momentarily.

Athena’s manipulation of the situation showcases her ability to influence events and further the objectives of the Greeks.

Endeavors in Favor of the Greeks

Athena’s actions during the duel between Menelaos and Paris highlight her continuous attempts to end conflicts in favor of the Greeks. By supporting Menelaos, she seeks to ensure a victory for the Greeks, as the duel’s outcome has far-reaching implications for the continuation of the war.

Athena’s decisive interventions demonstrate her commitment to the Greek cause and her strategic prowess. She meticulously plans her actions, capitalizing on opportunities where she can influence the outcome to favor the Greeks.

Intervention and Temporary Truce

Aphrodite’s intervention in the duel between Menelaos and Paris not only highlights Athena’s efforts but also leads to a temporary truce between the Greeks and the Trojans. By removing Paris from danger, Aphrodite halts the battle and creates a brief respite from the violence of war.

This temporary truce allows both sides to regroup and gather their strength before the conflict resumes. In this instance, Athena’s actions indirectly contribute to the temporary truce, showcasing her strategic acumen and willingness to manipulate events for the benefit of the Greeks.

By capitalizing on Aphrodite’s enchantment with her own beauty, Athena manages to divert the course of the battle momentarily, providing the Greeks with a breather from the intensity of the war.


Throughout the Iliad, Athena plays a multifaceted role. As a mentor to Achilles, she offers guidance and wisdom, shaping his actions on and off the battlefield.

Simultaneously, she maneuvers the events of the war, manipulating outcomes and intervening to secure advantages for the Greeks. Athena’s influence is tangible and extends beyond mere mentorship, revealing her power and prowess as a goddess of war and wisdom.

Her actions not only demonstrate her commitment to the Greek cause but also showcase her strategic abilities and determination to shape the outcome of the war. In the Iliad, Athena stands as a formidable force, leaving an indelible mark on the ancient epic.

Athena in the Iliad: Reigniting the War and Supporting Diomedes

In addition to her roles as a mentor and manipulator, Athena plays a crucial part in reigniting the war in the Iliad and supporting the Greek hero Diomedes. Her actions in these areas further showcase her strategic acumen, favoritism toward certain individuals, and her commitment to the Greek cause.

In this expanded article, we will delve into Athena’s role in reigniting the war and supporting Diomedes, exploring the opposition to ending the war by Hera, Athena’s clever tactic to reignite the fighting, her choice of Diomedes as her hero, and his remarkable abilities and victories in the war. Opposition to Ending the War and Athena’s Agreement

While there were those among the gods who wished for an end to the war between the Greeks and Trojans, Hera stood firm in her opposition to the idea.

She believed that Troy deserved to be destroyed for Paris’s abduction of Helen, a Greek queen, and the subsequent devastation that followed. Athena, aligning herself with Hera’s viewpoint, also felt that the war should not end until the Greeks were victorious and their honor restored.

This alliance between Athena and Hera showcased their shared commitment to the Greek cause and their determination to see the Trojans defeated.

A Clever Way to Reignite the Fighting

Athena, known for her strategic brilliance, devised a clever plan to reignite the fighting between the Greeks and the Trojans. She took advantage of Zeus’s absence from Mount Olympus and his resulting inability to dictate the course of events.

Knowing full well that Zeus favored the Trojans, Athena used this opportunity to her advantage. She disguised herself as one of Priam’s sons, Deiphobos, and cunningly goaded Helen, who had chosen to side with the Trojans, into revealing herself to the Greeks who were encamped outside the city walls of Troy.

Athena’s clever manipulation of events led to a renewed outpouring of anger and rage from the Greeks, reigniting the fighting that had momentarily stalled. This ingenious tactic showcased Athena’s ability to think on her feet and her willingness to employ any means necessary to further the Greek cause.

Choice of Diomedes as Her Hero

Among the Greek warriors, Athena chose Diomedes as her favored hero. She admired his exceptional bravery, skill, and intelligence, seeing him as a worthy champion to aid the Greek cause.

Diomedes embodied the ideals of Athena, incorporating both physical prowess and cunning strategy in his approach to battle. As a goddess of war and wisdom, Athena found a kindred spirit in Diomedes and actively supported and guided him throughout the war.

Diomedes’ Abilities and Victories in the War

Diomedes proved worthy of Athena’s favor, displaying remarkable abilities and achieving significant victories in the war against the Trojans. In battle, Athena granted Diomedes extraordinary strength, agility, and courage that surpassed that of any mortal man.

With Athena at his side, Diomedes was destined for greatness on the battlefield. One of his notable accomplishments was his engagement with the Trojan hero, Hector.

Despite Hector’s reputation as a formidable warrior, Diomedes, inspired and aided by Athena, managed to wound him in battle. This victory not only raised the spirits of the Greek troops but also struck a blow to Trojan morale.

Diomedes’ prowess continued to shine during the Trojan War, as he engaged in numerous skirmishes and notable duels. With Athena’s assistance, he defeated prominent Trojan warriors, such as Pandarus and Aeneas, earning a reputation as one of the most formidable Greek fighters.

Athena’s guidance and support enabled Diomedes to channel his exceptional abilities into meaningful victories, further validating her choice in him as her hero.


In the Iliad, Athena’s involvement extends far beyond her mentorship of Achilles and her manipulation and interference in the war. She plays an instrumental role in reigniting the fighting and supporting the Greek hero Diomedes.

By aligning herself with Hera’s opposition to ending the war, Athena showcases her unwavering commitment to the Greek cause. Her clever tactics and strategic brilliance enable her to reignite the conflict, utilizing a disguise and manipulation of events to orchestrate a resumption in hostilities.

Furthermore, Athena’s choice of Diomedes as her favored hero proves to be fruitful. Diomedes displays exceptional abilities and achieves remarkable victories on the battlefield, solidifying Athena’s faith in him.

As the epic unfolds, Athena’s multifaceted role grows more evident, demonstrating her impact on the outcome of the war and her ability to shape events in favor of the Greeks. In the Iliad, Athena stands as a catalyst for conflict and a pillar of support for her chosen hero, leaving an indelible mark on this ancient tale of war and heroism.

Athena in the Iliad: Interference and Achilles’ Return to Battle

In the Iliad, the Greek goddess Athena’s interference in the war and her role in Achilles’ return to battle are significant turning points in the epic. Despite Zeus’s prohibition of divine interference, Athena persistently attempts to intervene in the conflict and influences the outcome through her support of Achilles.

In this expanded article, we will explore Zeus’s prohibition of gods’ interference in the war, Athena’s persistent attempts to intervene, Patroclus’s role as a mentor to Achilles and his tragic downfall, and Achilles’ subsequent vengeance and attack on the Trojans. Zeus’s Prohibition of Gods’ Interference in the War

Zeus, the king of the gods, sought to maintain order and balance between the mortal combatants on both sides of the Trojan War.

In an effort to prevent undue interference from the gods, he issued a prohibition, ordering them to refrain from intervening in the war. Zeus recognized that divine intervention would undoubtedly disrupt the natural course of events and undermine the mortal’s free will in deciding their fate on the battlefield.

Athena’s Attempts to Intervene and Zeus’s Response

Despite Zeus’s clear prohibition, Athena could not resist her desire to aid the Greeks, particularly her favored hero, Achilles. She knew that Achilles, consumed by grief and anger over the death of his dear friend Patroclus, had withdrawn from the battle.

Determined to bring him back to the fight, Athena repeatedly attempted to intervene on his behalf. She disguised herself as his trusted friend, Phoenix, and passionately appealed to his sense of honor and duty, using persuasive rhetoric and emotional manipulation to convince him to rejoin the war effort.

However, her efforts ultimately proved unsuccessful as Achilles remained steadfast in his refusal to return to battle. Patroclus’s Role as a

Mentor to Achilles and His Downfall

Patroclus, Achilles’s closest companion and mentee, played a significant role in shaping his outlook on the war.

Achilles had entrusted Patroclus with his armor, allowing him to lead his troops into battle in his absence. Patroclus, driven by a desire to honor his friend and avenge the Greeks’ losses, donned Achilles’s armor and charged into the thick of the fighting.

However, his overzealousness and disregard for his limitations led to his downfall. Hector, the Trojan prince and warrior, confronted Patroclus, mistakenly thinking he was Achilles.

In the ensuing duel, guided by Apollo, Hector dealt a fatal blow to Patroclus, stripping him of his borrowed armor. This tragic turn of events shattered Achilles, sparking an overwhelming desire for vengeance against the Trojans.

Achilles’s Vengeance and His Attack on the Trojans

Grief-stricken and fueled by a thirst for revenge, Achilles reemerged on the battlefield, resolute in his determination to avenge the death of Patroclus. Equipped with his famed armor forged by the god Hephaestus, Achilles unleashed his wrath upon the unsuspecting Trojans.

With Athena by his side, providing divine assistance and guidance, he single-handedly devastated the Trojan forces, sowing chaos and fear among their ranks. Achilles’s attack on the Trojans proved to be a critical turning point in the war.

The Greek hero’s ferocity and his relentless pursuit of Hector ultimately led to the Trojan prince’s downfall. Athena’s presence throughout Achilles’s vengeful onslaught showcased her unwavering support for him and her determination to aid the Greek cause.

Through her divine intervention, the scales of battle tipped decisively in favor of the Greeks, leading to a profound shift in the fortunes of war.


In the Iliad, Athena’s interference and support play a crucial role in the unfolding of events. Despite Zeus’s prohibition, she persistently seeks opportunities to intervene in the war, particularly in her efforts to sway Achilles to rejoin the battle.

Moreover, the tragic death of Patroclus, brought about by his overzealousness, serves as a catalyst for Achilles’s return to the conflict. Fuelled by grief and vengeance, Achilles unleashes his fury and secures significant victories against the Trojans, with Athena’s divine assistance.

Athena’s interventions and guidance underscore her commitment to the Greek cause and her unwavering support for her chosen heroes. Her decisive actions shape the course of the war, highlighting her strategic brilliance and determination to see the Greeks emerge victorious.

In the Iliad, Athena stands as a pivotal figure, the driving force behind key narrative arcs and an embodiment of the gods’ profound influence on mortal affairs. Athena in the Iliad: Involvement in the Battle and Achilles’ Triumph

In the Iliad, the involvement of the gods in the battle between the Greeks and the Trojans plays a pivotal role in the outcome of key events.

Zeus, the chief deity, allows the gods to join the fight, leading to divine interference and influence on the mortal combatants. Furthermore, Athena’s protection of Achilles and her intervention in the final battle between Hector and Achilles shape the narrative and contribute to Achilles’ eventual triumph.

In this expanded article, we will explore Zeus’s decision to allow gods to participate in the battle, Athena’s protection of Achilles and his brutal slaughter of the Trojans, Hector’s determination to face Achilles and Athena’s intervention, and Achilles’ ultimate victory and his treatment of Hector’s body.

Zeus Allowing Gods to Join the Battle

Under normal circumstances, the gods were prohibited from interfering in the mortal conflicts of the Trojan War. However, Zeus, having witnessed the intensified suffering and loss experienced by both the Greeks and the Trojans, decided to grant the gods permission to join the battle.

This allowance was a significant departure from his earlier prohibition, and it had far-reaching consequences. The participation of the gods in the conflict breathed new life into the war, presenting opportunities for divine intervention and altering the dynamics on the battlefield.

Their involvement tipped the scales and infused the mortal combatants with a renewed sense of hope and vigor. Athena’s Protection and Achilles’ Brutal Slaughter

Among the gods, Athena played a crucial role in influencing the outcome of the war, with a particular focus on her favored warrior, Achilles.

She protected him on the battlefield, deflecting arrows and providing him with divine guidance. Empowered by Athena’s protection, Achilles unleashed brutal carnage upon the Trojans.

Driven by anguish and fueled by rage, Achilles mercilessly slaughtered the Trojan warriors, displaying superhuman strength and fury. Athena’s intervention and support heightened Achilles’ prowess and enabled him to wreak havoc upon the enemy, devastating their ranks and instilling fear and chaos among their forces.

Hector’s Determination and Athena’s Intervention

As the Trojan prince and commander, Hector possessed unwavering determination and valor. Refusing to cower, he resolved to face Achilles, the mightiest of the Greek warriors, in single combat.

In this final showdown, Hector sought to defend his beloved city and his people, embodying the indomitable spirit of Troy. Witnessing Hector’s determination, Athena intervened, taking on the appearance of his brother, Deiphobos.

She cunningly manipulated Hector into believing he had assistance by his side, providing him with false confidence. This divine intervention had a profound impact on the outcome of their confrontation, as Hector, under the impression that he had divine support, faced Achilles head-on.

Achilles’ Victory and Treatment of Hector’s Body

Despite Hector’s valiant efforts, Achilles emerged triumphant in their epic duel. He struck a devastating blow, slaying the Trojan prince and sealing his victory.

Athena’s intervention, combined with Achilles’ formidable skills, ensured the Greek hero’s superiority in battle. In a display of his wrath and vengeance, Achilles dishonored Hector’s body, dragging it behind his chariot and denying him a proper burial.

This act served as a chilling reminder of the brutality of war and the depths of Achilles’ rage.


In the Iliad, the involvement of the gods, particularly Athena, in the battle between the Greeks and the Trojans has a profound impact on the narrative and the outcome of key events. Zeus’s decision to allow the gods to participate shakes the foundations of the war.

Athena’s protection of Achilles empowers him to unleash ruthless devastation upon the Trojans, further solidifying his status as an unmatched warrior. Hector’s determination to face Achilles and Athena’s intervention demonstrate the tragic consequences of divine manipulation and the devastating effect it has on the fate of mortal combatants.

Ultimately, Achilles triumphs over Hector, thanks in part to Athena’s intervention, and his treatment of the Trojan hero’s body serves as a somber reminder of the dark side of war and the depths of Achilles’ wrath. In the Iliad, the role of the gods in the battle underscores the complex interplay between mortal and divine forces.

The overarching themes of fate, honor, and the ever-present influence of the gods serve as reminders of the ancient Greeks’ belief in a world where the supernatural intersected with the mortal realm. Athena’s involvement demonstrates her power and influence, shaping the events of the war and leaving a lasting impact on the epic tale of heroism and tragedy.

Athena in the Iliad: Zeus’ Intervention, Priam’s Ransom, and Athena’s Character Traits

In the Iliad, Zeus’s intervention and Athena’s character traits are key elements that shape the narrative and contribute to the development of various themes. Zeus’s anger at Achilles and his subsequent decision to have Priam ransom Hector’s body from the Greek hero explore the complexities of divine emotions and their impact on mortal affairs.

Additionally, Athena’s roles as a goddess of wisdom and war, along with her influence on warriors and symbolic representation, highlight her multifaceted nature and far-reaching influence. In this expanded article, we will delve into Zeus’s anger and his decision for Priam’s ransom, Thetis’s informing of Achilles and his empathetic response, Athena’s roles as a goddess of wisdom and war, her influence on warriors, and her symbolic importance.

Zeus’s Anger and Decision for Priam’s Ransom

Zeus, witnessing the brutality of Achilles and the dishonoring of Hector’s body, was consumed by anger. He recognized the necessity of restoring balance and honor to the conflict and intervened by issuing a decree: Priam, the aged king of Troy, would ransom Hector’s body from Achilles.

This decision presented a delicate balance between divine justice and mortal customs, highlighting the intertwining of the divine and mortal realms. Zeus’s anger and his subsequent decision for Priam’s ransom demonstrate the complex emotions and ethical considerations of the gods.

While Zeus was angered by Achilles’s actions, he understood the importance of allowing the returning of Hector’s body to Troy, and by extension, providing solace to Priam, a grieving father. Thetis’s Informing and Achilles’s Empathy for Priam’s Grief

Thetis, Achilles’s mother and a sea goddess, acted as an intermediary between Achilles and the divine realm.

Informed of Zeus’s decree by Thetis, Achilles experienced a profound empathy for Priam’s grief. The image of his own father, King Peleus, mourning over his body in a similar manner moved Achilles to reflect on the universal experience of loss and the shared humanity in suffering.

This empathetic response from Achilles humanizes him and aligns him with the deeper emotional currents underpinning the conflict. Thetis’s informing of Achilles and his subsequent empathy for Priam’s grief deepen the portrayal of the hero’s character, demonstrating that even the mightiest of warriors can experience compassion and recognize the pain of their enemies.

Athena’s Roles as a Goddess of Wisdom and War

Athena, known as the goddess of wisdom and war, embodies a unique combination of traits that make her a multifaceted and powerful deity. As the goddess of wisdom, Athena possesses profound insight and strategic brilliance.

Her wisdom influences her actions both on and off the battlefield, guiding her decisions and interventions in the war between the Greeks and Trojans. Additionally, Athena’s role as a goddess of war underscores her remarkable skills as a warrior.

She is celebrated for her exceptional fighting abilities and her ability to inspire and aid warriors in battle. Athena’s dual roles as a goddess of wisdom and war highlight her versatility and her capacity to contribute to various aspects of mortal life.

Athena’s Influence on Warriors and Her Symbolization

Athena’s influence on warriors is significant throughout the Iliad. Her guidance and support empower warriors like Achilles and Diomedes, enhancing their combat skills and leading them to remarkable victories.

Athena’s presence on the battlefield serves as a source of inspiration, instilling courage and strategic thinking in mortal warriors. Symbolically, Athena is represented by her iconic attributes, the helmet and the shield, which embody her wisdom and military prowess.

The helmet symbolizes her ability to provide clarity and protection in battle, while the shield represents her role as a defender and her strategic proficiency. These symbols serve as a visual reminder of Athena’s influence and presence, evoking her power and providing a focal point for warriors seeking strength and wisdom.


In the Iliad, Zeus’s anger, Thetis’s informing of Achilles, and Athena’s character traits and influence shape the narrative and elucidate important themes. Zeus’s anger towards Achilles and his decision for Priam’s ransom explore the intricate intersection of divine emotions and mortal affairs, while Thetis’s informing and Achilles’s empathetic response reveal the profound effect of grief and shared humanity.

Athena’s roles as a goddess of wisdom and war accentuate her diverse abilities and her immense influence on mortal affairs. Her guidance and support empower warriors, shaping their actions on the battlefield, and her iconic symbols serve as visual representations of her wisdom and military prowess.

Through these elements, the roles and actions of Zeus, Thetis, and Athena contribute to the intricate tapestry of the Iliad, showcasing the complexities of human emotions, the interplay between divine and mortal realms, and the profound influence of the gods on the course of the Trojan War. In the Iliad, Athena’s multifaceted role as a mentor, manipulator, and defender of heroes proves pivotal in shaping the course of the Trojan War.

She defies Zeus’s prohibition to aid the Greeks, actively intervening and influencing key events. Athena’s guidance empowers warriors like Achilles and Diomedes, highlighting her status as a goddess of wisdom and war.

Despite her divine qualities, Athena displays empathy and understanding, as seen in Achilles’ compassionate response to Priam’s grief. This portrayal of Athena emphasizes her complex nature and underscores the profound impact of gods on mortal affairs.

The Iliad serves as a reminder of the interplay between divine and human forces, and how wisdom and strategic prowess can shape the trajectory of history.

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