One day Zeus complained of a headache. Nothing the other gods did eased him of the
intense pain, so he asked his son, Hephaestus (Vulcan), to cut his head open with
an axe. Once Zeus’s head was split open, a fully armored woman bearing a spear
appeared. This was Athene (Pallas, Minerva) to the Romans. She was the patroness of
needlework, peace and defensive war. Athene was also the incarnation of wisdom and in this
from held the owl sacred. Athene was a virgin goddess, which means that like her
half-sister Artemis (Diana) she would not take a lover, remaining chaste and pure.