Order of the Shining Helmet of Athena: Passages on Athena in the Works of Lawrence Durdin-Robertson

Passages on Athena in the Works of

Lawrence Durdin-Robertson

Communion with the Goddess. The Temple of Asia Minor and Greece. First Part.

The Trojan ATHENA (Apollodorus) see under Pallas. (Virgil) on the Trojane War: "the impious (Diamedes) and Ulysses the contriver of crime, dared to tear the fateful Palladium from its hallowed shrine." (id.) the author also alludes to "the temple and adytum of Minerva in Troy." (Grote) on Cassandra, priestess of Athena, who had sought refuge at the altar of Athene during the capture of Troy: "Ajax (the Lacrian) making a guilty attempt to seize, had drawn both upon himself and upon the army the serious wrath of the Goddess. (i.e. Athena of Troy).

(Fergusson) on Dr. Schleimann's excavations at Troy: "The so-called Temple of Minerva was without pillars or mouldings of any soet, and the walls and gates of the old city were equally devoid of ornament." (Blegen, O.C.D.) on the citadel of "Troy VI": "the whole top of the hill was sliced away in Hellenistic times to make room for the Temple of Athena."

ATHENA of other parts of Asia Minor. (Herodotus) on the war between Alyattes, king of Lydia, and the people of Miletus: "It was in the twelfth year of the war that the following mischance occurred from the firing of the harvest fields. Scarcely had the corn been set alight by the soldiers when a violent wind carried the flames against the temple of Athena Assesia, which caught fire and burned to the ground ... afterwards, on the return of the army to Sardis, Alyattes fell sick. His illness continued, whereupon ... he sent messengers to Delphi. On their arrival the Pythoness declared that no answer should be given them until they had rebuilt the temple of Athena, burnt by the Lydians at Assesus in Milesia. ... He then built at Assesus two temples of Athena instead of one, and shortly afterwards recovered from his malady."

Of Erythrae (Pausanias) "There is also in Erythrae a naos of Athena Polias and a huge wooden image of her sitting on a throne; she holds a distaff and wears a firmanent (polos) on her had. This image is the work of Endoeus we inferred among other signs from the workmanship, and especially from the white marble images of Graces and Seasons that stood in the open before the entrance."


Communion with the Goddess. The Temples of Italy.

Under entry for HERA. (Salmon, O.C.D.) "Paestum, Poseidonia, coastal town of Lucania, famous for its roses, pottery, well-preserved walls and Doric temples ... The so-called 'Basilica' (mid sixth century) and 'Temple of Neptuen' (mid fifth century) were in fact dedicated to Hera, while the 'Temple of Ceres' (late sixth century), lying to the north, was dedicated to Athena."


Communion with the Goddess. Temples of the West.

ATHENA. (Banister Fletcher) "Doric Examples in Sicily ... The Temple of Athena, Syracuse, Sicily. 6th Century (before this Era)." (Ashe) on the Virgin Mary: "Several of Mary's churches stood on ground once sacred to female divinity ... (Athene) handed over to the new Virgin in a number of places, notable the Greek city of Syracuse ..." (id.) "the siting of several of her churches on ground sacred to Athena ... evoked not only the pagan wisdom goddess but others connected with her."


Communion with the Goddess. Part I. The Vital Elements: The Breath of Life

Greek: ATHENA (Rose) After Prometheus had made the images: "When he had done so, Athena breathed life into the images." Roman: MINERVA (Hyginus) similar to Athena; ".. to which Minerva gave breath (anima)" Romantic Revival: HERA (Denning and Phillips) "Hera, representing the Neshamah." RHEA (id.) "Dionysius is reconstituted by the aid of Goddess (specifically Rhea, again representing the Neshamah)... "General: (Massey) ‘the far earlier mystery was that of man being created by the woman from the red earth, or blood. Next it was apprehended that the mother inspired the breath of life into her embryo.

Communion with the Goddess. Part I. The Vital Elements: Life and Immortality:

MINERVA (Lempriere) note: the author also includes Athena under this name; "The power of Minerva was great in heaven; she could... prolong the life of men. ."


Communion with the Goddess. Priestesses: Egypt

NEITH: Among those who may be priestesses of Neith are the Lady Neithotep, Queen Nitauqrit (Nitocris), and Asenath, wife of Joseph (Zaphnath-Paaneah). Note: (Brown, Driver and Briggs) "Asenath, wife of Joseph; Egyptian, belonging to (goddess) Neith; prob. either As-Neit, favourite of Neith, or, more probably, Isis-Neit (i.e. Aset-Neith)." (Baikie) The princess Neitaqert or Nitokris of the family of Psamtek I, was adopted by Shepenapt, chief priestess of Thebes and sister of the Pharaoh Taharqa. Perhaps NEITH,

THE AUSEAN ATHENA, of Lake Tritonis in Libya (Herodotus) "The Ausean maidens keep year by year a feast in honour of Athene. One of the virgins, the loveliest of the number is selected from the rest; a Corinthian helmet and a complete suit of Greek armour are publicly put upon her; and, thus adorned, she is made to mount into a chariot, and led around the whole lake in procession. What arms they used for the adornment of their damsels before the Greeks came to live in their country, I cannot say. I imagine they dressed them in Egyptian armour, for I maintain that both the shield and the helmet came into Greece from Egypt."


Communion with the Goddess: Egypt: Part I. Isis

II. Representations of Isis in the Graeco-Roman Period:

15. General Descriptions.

“Her features underwent some change. In her own land she had been sometimes identified with Hathor, the Cow Goddess. . But in the Hellenistic period, as we can see from the mural paintings at Pompeii, artists took to portraying the face of Isis in on idealized iconography. Her features gained a sweetness combined with a gravity for which her dwelling in Greece might have been responsible, and a grace blended with her traditional majest was achieved suggesting that her lineaments were suffused with the beauty of Aphrodite, the majesty of Hera, the warrior temperament of Athena, and the chastity of the virgin Artemis. All this, however, was closely related to the Egypt ionizing background, the exotic symbols that she bore. After the time of the Emperor Hadrian the Nilotic style of treatment become increasingly strong. The gravity, the living charm, and the strange mystery were abandoned in favour of a conscious striving for archaism.”


Communion with the Goddess: Egypt: Part III.

Idols, Images and Symbols of the Goddesses

Neith, Nit, Net:

“In Sais the statue of Athena, whom they believe to be Isis, bore the inscription: “I am all that has been, and is, and shall be, and my robe no mortal has yet uncovered.” Note by Blakeney: “States of this kind were not uncommon.” (Witt) “The statue in the famous temple of Neith at Sais was regarded as representing equally Athena and Isis, with it celebrated inscription. … A copy of it was kept on his work desk by Beethoven.”

Temple statues and other representations of Neith include the following. (Herodotus) on the pharaoh Amosis (Aahmes II.): “He sent to Cyrene a statue of Athena covered with plates of gold.”

(Veronica Ions) In a description of an illustration: “A statue of the goddess Neith...(She) is usually represented, as here, wearing the red crown of Lower Egypt. Later identified by the Greeks with Athena.”

(Waddell) “The name of the goddess Neith with whom Athena is often identified, has been interpreted ‘that which is, or exists.’

Nitocris, Nitaquert. Queen of Egypt:

“The twenty‐second ruler of Thebes was Nitocris, A queen, not a king. Her name means ‘Athena is victorious’...” Note by Waddell: Nitocris is doubtless the Neit‐okre(t) of the Turin papyrus: the name means ‘Neith is Excellent.’


Communion with the Goddess: India

The Indian ATHENE. (Philostratus) on the travels of Apollonius of Tyana and his companions in India: “And they say that they came upon statues of the Deities, and they were not nearly so much astonished at finding Indian or Egyptian Deities as they were by finding the most ancient of the Greek Deities, a statue of Athena Pallas and of Apollo of Delos and of Dionysus of Limnae...and Others of similar age.They were set up by these Indians and worshipped with Greek rites.”


God, the Mother. Part I. The Maternal Source

The introduction of writing, while at first favourable to the patriarchal religions, is ultimately to the benefit of the matriarchal. The written or spoken word can easily and quickly convey a very much more detailed idea than can be done through iconography. The ramifications of theology can be shown to extend into every field of study, however specialized. Cosmogenesis can be described in detail as the work of such creator goddesses as Tiamat and Vari; history can be seen as governed by the Fates and their counterparts, the arts and professions as under the inspiration and direction of such goddesses as the Muses and Athena, philosophy as under Sophia, ethics and justice under such goddesses as Mayet, Themis, Dike and Nemesis, the Other World as under the rule of Allat or Persephone. Even the most specialized activity was seen bythe Romans as under the care of some particular goddess. They saw, for example, Juno Moneta as presiding over the Mint and money, Minerva as Tutelary goddess of the guild of flute players, Pomona as watching over fruit-trees, Robigo as controlling mildew, Fornax as in charge of furnaces and ovens, Vesta of baking and Potina of children’s potions. There is, in fact, no aspect of life over which the goddess cannot be shown to preside.

Thus, by means of language, theology can be shown as a subject of universal relevance.

God the Mother. Part I. The Maternal Source: Egyptian.

And Geoffrey Ashe, in The Virgin assesses her position in a similar way: "Neith is one of the few goddesses whose myths, in their surviving form, take us back in plain terms to the primordial cosmic Motherhood .. A priest told the Persian king Cambyses that it was Net, the mighty mother, who had given birth to Ra, that she was the first to have given birth to anything and that she had done so when nothing else had been born”. (p. 60). And Plutarch records the famous words applied to her: "In Sais the statue of Athena, whom they believe to be Isis, bore the inscription: I am all that has been, and is, and shall be, and my robe no mortal as yet uncovered”. (Mor. 354C).

God the Mother. Part I. The Maternal Source: Graeco-Roman.

In some traditions the Creator or Demiurge is described in terms of a female Artificer. According to Heraclitus, the world was created by Athena as a kind of artifact: "Athena, the earth, is she not in fact the great demiurge of the universe, the craftswoman goddess?”. (Alleg. Homer, 25-6).

The Emperor Julian, a neoplatonist, saw the creatrix of the earth as Selene, the Moon. In his letter to the Christians of Alexandria he writes: "And do you not perceive what great blessings the city derives from her even Selene who is the creator of the whole universe”. (47 C). He describes how she works in co-operation with Athene: "Athene distributes and is a channel for stainless and pure life throughout the seven spheres from the highest vault of the

30 heavens as far as Selene, the moon: for Selene is the last of the heavenly spheres which Athene fills with wisdom." (149. D.).


Women in the Arts and Crafts

ATHENA Inventress of the plough.

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