Daddy's Girl 141

posted November 25th, 2015, 5:05 am


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November 25th, 2015, 5:05 am

agnosis

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One of Athena's most familiar attributes is the aegis, which she sometimes wears as a cuirass but more often as a cloak over her shoulders. Of course there are different versions of where the aegis came from and as usual it was not quite easy to choose between them. According to one version, the aegis originally belonged to Zeus (Homer often calls him "Aegis-bearing Zeus") but it seems like Athena is free to borrow it whenever she wants (in the Iliad it says that she borrows her father's clothes too when she dresses for battle). Though it sometimes is said to be made of goatskin, even not the thunderbolts of Zeus can break the aegis. The sight of it paralyses people with fear, since it often is described as bearing the head of Medusa.

There is also a version that says that Athena made the aegis herself. In the war against the Gigantes she killed the giant Pallas, stripped his skin off and used it as a shield during the battle (I guess that story also served as an alternative version of how Athena got her name Pallas Athena). On one hand it would have been pretty cool and badass (but also a bit cruel) if Athena made the aegis from something she had killed herself, but then it would take some time before we got to see her wearing it. So I made it a gift from her father.

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August 18th, 2017, 5:41 am

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November 25th, 2015, 7:53 am

Athenodora (Guest)

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@agnosis: My way of reconciling the different origin stories is to assume that the aegis is something Athena keeps tinkering with and updating all the time. Got Medusa's head as a present? Make it part of the Aegis. Handy piece of Giant skin around? Make it part of the aegis, etc. That fits rather well with the idea of Athena being a goddess of war and wisdom: every time she defeats an enemy, she finds a way to take in the best parts about them to improve herself.

Of course, another way to look at it is that among the immortal gods of Olympus there's a serial killer with a habit of sewing her trophies into clothes, which sounds decidedly less comforting :P

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November 26th, 2015, 7:01 am

agnosis

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@Athenodora: Oh, yes, of course! Athena could add things to the aegis and improve it as time goes. I always thought that Medusa's head was added later, but it didn't occur to me that she could add other things as well. Though you're right that it could be seen as a quite macabre thing to do, too...

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December 4th, 2015, 1:01 pm

Helix_luco

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if no weapon can pierce that skin, how did zeus kill that monster in the first place?

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December 4th, 2015, 3:45 pm

agnosis

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@Helix_luco: That's a good question and I've been thinking about it, too. Maybe he killed it like Heracles killed the Nemean lion (which also had an impenetrable fur) and strangled it to death? Or used one of the monster's own claws? Or maybe there was some magic involved? I don't know yet.

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March 17th, 2016, 2:39 pm

JT (Guest)

Or the mouth! Or Eyes.

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@agnosis: Another common way of slaying a monster whose "hide" can't be pierced, is to go for non-"hide"-covered parts, such as the eyes, or when the mouth opens, you stab up through the roof of the mouth directly into the brain. ;) Those are also good options.

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March 17th, 2016, 6:10 pm

agnosis

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@JT: Ah, yes. Of course.

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